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cat and cherry blossoms = Shutterstock

Japan's Currency! How to exchange money and how to pay money

I would like to explain about Japanese currency on this page. The Japanese currency is "Yen". On this page, the latest exchange rate list is listed, so please refer to it. I will also explain Japanese bank notes and coins. In addition, I would like to introduce the usage situation of credit cards etc in Japan and the history of Japanese currency.

Exchange rate list : Japan's currecy / USD, etc.

How much is 1 yen in your country's currency?


Japanese bank notes and coins


Banknotes in Japan = Adobe Stock

Banknotes in Japan = Adobe Stock

There are four kinds of banknotes in Japan as follows. Probably the banknote you mostly use in Japan would be 1000 yen.

10000 yen
5000 yen
2000 yen
1000 yen

Coins in Japan = Adobe Stock

Coins in Japan = Adobe Stock

There are four types of coins in Japan. I think the coins you mostly use are 100 yen and 10 yen.

500 yen
100 yen
50 yen
10 yen
5 yen
1 yen

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Payment in Japan


Payment in Japan

There are still many stores that accept cash only

In Japan, there are many shops that accept cash only yet. For hotels, department stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, etc., you can use credit cards. Even taxis have come to accept credit cards recently. Many vending machines that buy train tickets can use credit cards. However, if you pay an admission fee at a temple or shrine, you'd better bring cash.

It is recommended to exchange money at the airport

In Japan, few shops accept cash other than Japanese yen. Therefore, when you arrive in Japan, you'd better change your home currency to Japanese yen in the airport. There are currency exchange offices other than the airport. Even luxury hotels etc. will exchange currencies. However, the exchange rate is not so good, so I recommend you to exchange money at the airport.

Payment by IC card has also increased

Recently, more people are paying with IC cards such as Suica, Pasmo and Ikoca. These IC cards can be purchased at vending machines at JR and private railway stations. If you charge the IC card, you can use that amount for payment.

SUICA (JR East): You can get in Tokyo.
PASMO (Private Railways in Tokyo): You can get in Tokyo.
ICOCA (JR West): You can get in Osaka and Kyoto.

You can use any IC card with almost all the country's JR, private railways, subways, buses, monorails. In addition, you can use it at convenience stores, fast food shops, vending machines, etc.

You can charge SUICA purchased in Tokyo with Osaka stations. On the contrary, you can charge ICOCA charges purchased in Osaka with Tokyo stations. So, you can use any IC card. You should get an IC card in the area where you stay for the longest. However, SUICA has the highest name recognition in the whole country.

>> Click here for the official site of "Suica"

>> Click here for the official site of "Pasmo"

>> Click here for the official site of "ICOCA"

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History of Japan's currency


Old coin in Japan = Adobe Stock

Old coin in Japan = Adobe Stock

Japan has used numerous different types of currency over its own long and rich history. From the first Wu Zhu coin brought over from China throughout the Han Dynasty to the privately minted Toraisen and Shichusen coins of the hundreds of years, to the first introduction of paper currency, Japan has continuously borrowed both its own currency and its own thoughts of what money should be from other nations. The foreign influence continued with the introduction of the Yen in 1871, which remains the current official currency of Japan. Yen in Japanese is translated into a round object.

In 1871 the silver Spanish dollar was commonly found through Japan, China, and Southeast Asia. Their prominence led several of those nations to accommodate coins that looked like the familiar silver coins. The first to do so was Hong Kong, which introduced its own silver dollar in 1866. Nevertheless, The Chinese authorities was skeptical of the new coin, which resulted in its interruption in 1869. With the end of the Hong Kong silver dollar, the government also decided to sell the mint machines to Japan. During this time, Japan was suffering from a system of currency which was extremely unstable because of a lack of an outlined standard of exchange.

They adopted The New Currency act of 1871, which formally introduced the Yen as the new benchmark currency. When the Yen was adopted, it comprised the yen, the sen, and the rin. One yen was worth one hundred sen or one thousand rin. The coins minted comprised silver 5, 10, 20, and 50 sen as well as 1 yen. They also included gold 5, 2, 10, and 20 yen. Currently the coins in circulation are the 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 Yen. Bank notes have varied widely through Yens history, though current denominations include one thousand, 5000, and 10, 000 Yen.

You may still find technically 2000 yen bills in circulation, but they're extremely rare and are frequently not accepted as valid forms of payment. For several years, especially throughout The World War II era and later, the yen was continuously devalued on the world market. Then, in the year 1985, major countries signed the Plaza Accord, which recognized the overvaluation of the dollar. This arrangement caused the yen to rapidly rise in value.

I appreciate you reading to the end.



About me

Bon KUROSAWA  I have long worked as a senior editor for Nihon Keizai Shimbun (NIKKEI) and currently work as an independent web writer. At NIKKEI, I was the editor-in-chief of the media on Japanese culture. Let me introduce a lot of fun and interesting things about Japan. Please refer to this article for more details.

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