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Japan Travel Money Guide

Planning a trip to the land of the rising sun? Because Japan is 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 cards, credit and debit cards, as well as FX and local ATMs in our Japan travel money guide.

The Low Down on Japanese Currency

  • Currency: Japanese Yen
  • Currency code: JPY
  • Central Bank: Bank of Japan
  • Currency symbol: ¥, 円 (yen)
  • Bank notes: ¥1000, ¥2000, ¥5000, ¥10,000
  • Coins: ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, ¥500

The currency used in Japan is called the yen, pronounced ‘en’ in Japanese. You may see it abbreviated as JPY, JP¥, ¥ or with the kanji symbol 円.

The word ‘yen’ derives from the Japanese translation for the word ‘round’. It’s the third most- traded currency on the foreign exchange market in the world after the US Dollar and the Euro.

Payment Options in Japan

Although Japan is one of the most advanced countries in the world technologically, it largely remains a cash-based society. Whilst credit cards are accepted in most locations around the country, some places like temples, small restaurants, boutiques, markets, and rural inns remain cash only.

We’ve compared all your travel money options for Japan, so you can work out how best to plan your money while on holidaying in the land of the rising sun.

Denominations of Yen

Yen may be confusing to first-timers or those used to using dollars, with banknotes coming in larger denominations. Yen banknote denominations include:

JP¥ 1,000 - these are blue

JP¥ 2,000 - these are green. These banknotes are not used as often as others.

JP¥ 5,000 - these are purple

JP¥ 10,000 - these are brown

There are coins too which can be found in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500.

Travelex Tip: Need to get rid of any excess coins before leaving Japan? Try going to a shrine or temple and putting your leftover coins in an offerings box!

Denominations of Yen

Common Money Phrases in Japanese

Learning some simple phrases in Japanese can go a long way when visiting as a tourist. As well as showing a sign of respect to your host country, it can also make life easier when dealing with shopping and financial transactions.
Below are some simple shopping-related phrases you may want to remember on your travels in Japan.

Below are some common shopping and money-related you may want to remember during your travels in Japan.

Excuse me, how much is this?Sumimasen, kore wa ikura desu ka
That’s expensive!Takai!
Can I pay with credit card?Kurejitto kâdo de haratte mo ii desu ka
Can I have a receipt please?Ryoushuusho wo kudasai
I don’t need the changeOtsuri wa irimasen
Can you give me a discount?Mou sukoshi yasuku dekimasen ka?
Can I have the bill please?Okanjo wo onegai shimasu
To payHarau
¥1,000Sen en
¥2,000Oku en
¥5,000Go sen en
¥10,000Ichi man en

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.

Frequently Asked Questions about Money in Japan

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  • 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!