The Low Down on Japanese Currency
Bank of Japan
¥, 円 (yen)
¥1000, ¥2000, ¥5000, ¥10,000
¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, ¥500
No other currency in Asia is more heavily traded than the Japanese Yen and it’s the 3rd most traded currency in the world.
The first minted coins in Japan appeared in 708 but by the 19th century Japan was using Spanish Dollars. The Yen (or “round object”) has been used as the central form of currency since the 1870’s.
The most commonly used bills for Japanese Yen are the ¥1,000, ¥5,000 and ¥10,000 notes. The most commonly used coins are the ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, ¥500 but you will also sometimes receive ¥1 and ¥5 as change.
Good to Know - Japan Money Tips
Monetary customs can change drastically from country to country. Keep these tips and cultural nuances in mind before going to Japan for a smoother time on your holiday.
Japan is a cash-based society. This means some experiences will be cash only. Ensuring you have some cash yen may help you to avoid any tricky situations!
Tipping is not generally accepted in Japan. In most instances, if you try leaving a tip you will have it returned! If you really do want to tip someone (like a tour guide), make sure you put the cash in an envelope before handing it over.
Make sure you have enough cash on you if you are visiting Japan during a public holiday, as some ATMs do close. If they do remain open, handling charges may increase.
In general haggling or bargaining is not accepted in Japan. However there may be some exceptions in markets or specialty stores. The most common form of haggling is asking for a discount if you offer to pay using cash.
Payment Options in Japan
Because Japan is primarily a cash-based society, it’s important to make sure you’re fully equipped with everything you need to know about exchanging, buying and spending Japanese yen before you arrive. We’ve rounded up the basics of using cash, travel money cards, credit and debit cards, as well as FX and local ATMs.
If you are unsure how much travel money you need for your trip, you can try our travel budget calculator.
- Cash is flexible as it’s accepted everywhere in Japan. You can rest assured that with cash you won’t be missing out on any must-do Japanese experiences!
- Unlike withdrawing from an ATM or paying via card, there are no hidden fees with taking Japanese currency in cash.
- Cash can be better for your budgeting. Taking a set amount of cash with you daily may help you be more vigilant in not spending it all.
- Carrying large amounts of cash may be unsafe, or may make you feel anxious. Luckily, Japan is known to be an extremely safe destination!
- It may be harder to keep track of your spending with cash if taking all with you when going out to explore.
- If your cash does get stolen while you are on holiday, there may be a limit to how much you can claim back on your travel insurance.
- Travel money cards can provide more security compared to other payment methods. Replacing your card if it is lost or stolen is usually easy as many travel money card providers offer emergency assistance and a card replacement.
- You can order 2 when purchasing just in case 1 gets lost, stolen or damaged during your trip.
- Having a travel money card may save you money, as it allows you to lock in the Japanese yen rates at time of purchase.*
Discover how you can explore Japan with peace of mind with our 5* award-winning Travelex Money Card!
- Taking cash out of your prepaid travel money card in Japan may attract local ATM fees.
- Travel money cards may not be accepted in many locations across Japan, particularly in rural areas.
- If you need to top up your travel money card up with new funds, it may take some time for them to appear on your card - meaning it's not the best option if you need funds in a hurry (however our Travelex Money Card allows you to top up and check your balance on the go with our Travelex Money App!).
- Credit and debit cards can be great for pre-booking experiences that can be paid for online.
- Credit cards provide you with security and flexibility, in that you have access to a larger pool of funds.
- Some cards may have a rewards points system when you use them to travel.
- Many shops, restaurants and attractions in Japan are cash-only.
- Having more funds available on your credit card may be a temptation to spend more than you can actually afford.
- You may be stung with high currency conversion fees in Japan when using your credit or debit card.
- Withdrawing cash from an ATM in location can be convenient. As you start running low on cash, you can simply find an ATM and withdraw more.
- You do not have to carry large quantities of cash with you, which may make you feel safer.
- Many ATMs in Japan do not accept foreign cards. You may have trouble withdrawing, particularly in rural areas or on public holidays when ATMs shut down.
- There may be a range of withdrawal fees associated with withdrawing cash from an ATM in Japan.
- FX ATMs make exchanging cash at the airport before leaving Australia easy. There are no forms to fill in, and it’s self-serve. Visit our foreign currency ATM page to find a Travelex FX ATM that dispenses Japanese yen.
- FX ATMs are 24 hours, meaning you have the flexibility to purchase Japanese yen at any time of the day or night.
- Foreign currency ATMs are extremely fast, giving you your foreign currency within a few minutes.
- Carrying large amounts of cash around with you on holiday may make you feel uneasy.
- If your cash gets lost or stolen while you are on holiday, you may have trouble getting it covered by your insurance.
- Not all FX ATMs will dispense the currency you need.
- Exchanging your AUD to JPY once you’re in Japan can be a good option if you’ve forgotten to do so beforehand.
- Exchanging money once you are in Japan is relatively easy, with money exchange services offered at post offices, banks, and major department stores and train stations.
- When exchanging outside of major airports, beware of being conned or scammed.
- You may find yourself paying a higher exchange rate when exchanging Australian dollars within Japan – this will however depend on the currency exchange provider.
What to spend your Yen on:
Sushi meal for 2 people with sake
Entry to Tokyo Disney
Postcard and a stamp
Must-sees in Japan
Buying Japanese yen is Easy
Order Japanese yen online, lock in the rate and collect at your local store, at the airport before you fly or have it delivered at home
- 1. Click the ‘Buy Yen Now’ button below
And tell us how much you need for your trip.
- 2. Choose how to get it
Get your currency home-delivered or choose to collect at more than 3,600 pick up locations.
- 3. Pay online
You can pay online using either BPAY, Visa or MasterCard®
Stay connected while in Japan
It can be difficult to get a Japanese SIM Card as most companies require you to have a Japanese credit card, a Residence Visa and fill out forms in Japanese!
Travelex partnered with Mobal to offer you great convenience: the Japan Unlimited SIM card.
- Unlimited data, free incoming calls & incoming texts
- SIMs for short trips or long stays (8, 16, 30 days options)
- English language customer support
- No contract, no termination fee
- Free worldwide delivery or collection in Japan
- Works in any unlocked device (multi-size SIM)
Can I use Travellers Cheques in Japan?
You generally cannot use travellers cheques in Japan, with the exceptions of some larger hotels.
Will my Apple Pay work in Japan?
Suica is the main contactless payment form in Japan. Apple supports using your Suica via Apple Pay - but you’ll have to set it up on your phone before you arrive in Japan.
Can I use Other Currencies in Japan like AUD or USD?
Not usually, which is why when travelling to Japan it’s best to ensure you have plenty of other payment options like the ones we’ve outlined above!
*Rates are subject to change throughout the day. In-store rates vary compared to online.
**The figures provided are indicative only and are there to provide an idea of the amount of travel money you may need during your trip.
^^Based on mid-market and Travelex Online AUD to FX exchange rates as of the date of the relevant social media post and/or email communication. Rates are subject to change throughout the day. Any rates and savings are quoted as a guide only.
Travelex Limited (ABN 36 004 179 953, AFSL Number 222444) arranges for and sells Online Foreign Currency via its Online Ordering Facility. You should consider the Online Foreign Currency Product Disclosure Statement and Terms and Conditions before deciding whether to acquire the product.