They don't "ask" for money - that's against monk rules - but stand there, bells chiming every couple seconds, and people feel enticed to put money in their hands for good karma. From scams, dangers, and things that just aren't worth your time, these are things all tourists should bear in mind. Worse still, assuming the foreigner is automatically the guilty party. Harajuku, a famous fashion district in Tokyo Don't go clothes shopping unless you can take the blow to your self esteem. But these guys are no better than any other begging scam - worse, if a Japanese source is to be believed, they have ties with the yakuza. One Japanese woman told me "of course" she was groped on the train when she was a student, as though surprised that I'd even ask. Fuji and cherry blossoms, delicious food such as sushi, thriving geek culture for the game and anime fans, entertainment like karaoke or themed cafes , and a rich history still visible in modern culture, such as with shrines, temples and castles, there is something for everyone. The monks asking for money are scams. It's much kinder to learn a few Japanese words, or keep a list of common expressions written in both Japanese and English with you that you can reference or show them if all else fails. Another advantage of the card is that it also works on most vending machines and at convenient stores, so loading it with money before you start your day is in your best interest - and because it'll be printed with your name on it, it's a great souvenir. Expats are well familiar with the trials of not looking Japanese or having a Japanese name - housing is routinely denied, police randomly approach you, stereotypes abound and, of course, the threat of being barred from entering various restaurants, onsen, Japanese-style hotels or clubs.