Learn More About Japanese Currency and Their Payment Methods

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Learn More About Japanese Currency and Their Payment Methods
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Tags: currencyjapanese culture

As we all know, yen is the name of Japanese currency. It is the third largest traded currency after Euro and US Dollars. The symbol of Japanese yen is ¥ and 円. ¥ is used internationally, meanwhile, 円 is used among the locals. If you want to know, the term ‘yen’ means round or circle. In 1871, the Meiji government has officially adopted the usage of Japanese yen which lasts until this day.

Image Source: The Japan Times.

As of 9th January 2019, this is the latest Japanese Yen exchange rate for major traded currencies in the world.

Image Source: XE.

Japanese Yen exchange rate to Malaysian Ringgit.

Image Source: XE.

Japanese currency consists of several banknotes like ¥1,000, ¥5,000, ¥10,000.

Below is the image of Japanese coins values from ¥500, ¥100, ¥50, ¥10, ¥5 and ¥1.

Image Source: Pic Click.

Where to Convert Your Money

Additionally, if you’re travelling to Japan and still haven’t exchange your money to Japanese yen, we have some cheap money changer centres you can go to in Japan.

1. World Currency Shop

This money changer centre has many branches all over Japan such as in Tokyo, Shibuya, Shinjuku and others. You can browse for their shops’ location and see the latest exchange rate here. World Currency Shop is usually located in shopping malls, train stations and other public places.

One of the World’s Currency Shop in Japan.

Image Source: Isao S.

2. Travelex

Travelex is one of the biggest money changer centres in the world, where you can exchange money and withdraw your cash here. However, this machine only accepts certain cards.

Image Source: Travel Lights by Travelience.

3. Daikokuya

This bright coloured shop is not just a money changer centre, it also sells electronic goods and discounted items for a very cheap price. With 30 branches in Tokyo, you won’t be facing any problems finding Daikokuya.

Image Source: Tokyo Cheapo.

Other than money changer centres, you can exchange your money at airports. But in most cases, the rates in airports are much higher than the local stores. In addition, some hotels also provide exchanging services at the reception. Most money changer only operates during the weekdays and rarely opens on weekend or public holidays. Our suggestion is to come prepared as you might bump into hiccups when it comes to exchanging money.

Money changer at Kansai Airport.

Image Source: Wikimedia.

Credit/Debit Cards

Alternatively, you can use credit or debit cards if you purchase expensive items. However, if you travel to the outskirts side of Japan, those small stores won’t accept cards. It is important that you plan beforehand on how and where to use your Japanese yen to prevent this kind of problem.

Some tips when you travel abroad, you need to notify your bank that you might be using your cards overseas. Some banks will block your cards if they notice any suspicious or unusual activities to your card usage. Apart from that, in Japan, most ATMs in 7-Eleven stores accept foreign cards such as American Express, Visa and Diners Club. So, feel free to use the ATM machine at your convenience.

Image Source: Piece of Japan.

IC Smart Cards

Some of you might have heard about IC Smart Cards, Japan’s payment systems that are broadly used in most public transportations, convenience stores, shopping malls and others. To purchase the IC Smart Cards, you can go to any ticketing counters and ticket machines. You can top-up the cards at the machine once the balance runs out. For your information, you need to pay ¥500 for the deposit. They will refund the money when you return the card to the operator. However, some cards will charge ¥220 from the deposit for the card fee.

Image Source: Japan Monthly Web Magazine.

The IC Smart Cards consist of Kitaca, Suica, TOICA, ICOCA, SUGOCA, PASMO, PiTaPa, manaca, HAYAKAKEN and nimoca.

Kitaca – Covers Hokkaido areas. You can purchase the card at New Chitose Airport, Sapporo.

Suica – Used for the JR East for most public transportations like Tokyo Monorail and Rinkai Line, Izukyu and Fujikyu Railway. This card does not work on Shinkansen and highway buses and it is sold at Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport.

TOICA – Supplied by JR Central and covers Nagoya, Shizuoka and Gifu Prefecture areas. You can buy the card at Nagoya Station as it is not available in Chubu Airport.

ICOCA – Issued by JR West, foreigners can purchase the card at Kansai International Airport and enjoy discounted tickets and offers in Osaka Metro and Monorail, Kobe and Kyoto City Subway and Bus and others.

SUGOCA – For JR Kyushu transportation services. The card is mainly used at the Kyushu region and its prefectures. You can buy SUGOCA card at Hakata Station.

PASMO – Can be used in cities like Tokyo to ride JR train lines, buses and taxis with PASMO logo. Narita International Airport and Haneda Airport sell this PASMO card.

PiTaPa – Unlike any other cards, PiTaPa is a postpaid card and it offers up to 10% discount on most public transports and convenience shops. Unfortunately, this card is not available for tourists.

manaca – You can use manaca card in non-JR trains and buses in Nagoya, Meitetsu, Toyohashi and Aonami Line. manaca card is obtainable at Chubu Centrair International Airport.

HAYAKAKEN – This card is used only in Fukuoka City Subway and can be bought at Fukuoka Airport.

nimoca – For Japan travellers, you can purchase this card at Ten-jin Station as it is exclusive for tourists. You can use it for shopping and train and bus rides such as Nishitetsu Railway, Kumamoto and Hakodate Trams and Miyazaki Bus.

Overall, we suggest you purchase the IC Smart Cards to make your life easier and don’t forget to exchange your money earlier to avoid complications.


A fun-loving group of editorial team on the mission to introduce Japanese culture and lifestyle to the masses.

1 Comment

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