Japan Currency Exchange Guide

Japan is a land of contrasts, from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo to the tranquillity of the countryside. Certainly, no trip to Japan would be complete without trying some delicious food! Japanese cuisine is world-renowned, and there is nothing quite like enjoying a delicious sushi meal or a steaming bowl of ramen. Whether you’re interested in exploring the country’s traditional side or experiencing its modern vibrancy, Japan is sure to offer an unforgettable experience. 

General Japan Currency Information

What is the currency of Japan?

The official currency in Japan is the Japanese yen (JPY).

What do Japanese notes & yen coins look like?

yen

The Japanese currency is some of the most unique in the world. The notes, which are considered legal tender, come in denominations of ¥1,000, ¥2,000 (very rare), ¥5,000, and ¥10,000. The design of the notes is relatively simple, with a portrait of a historical figure on the front and a scene from nature on the back.

japanese-coins

Meanwhile, Japanese coins come in denominations of ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, and ¥500. The ¥1 coin is made of pure aluminium, while the ¥5 coin is made of brass alloy. The ¥10n coin is made of bronze, with 95% copper, 30-40% zinc, and 10-20% tin. The ¥50 and ¥100 coins are made of cupronickel, and the ¥500 coin comprises nickel-brass, cupronickel, and copper. ¥5 and ¥50 coins feature a hole in the centre so they can easily be strung together. As a result of their unique designs and materials, Japanese notes and coins are some of the most interesting in the world.

Economy

The Japanese economy is the third largest in the world, with a GDP of $5.06 trillion and the third most traded currency globally after the US dollar (USD) and Euro (EUR). As the second largest automobile manufacturing country, Japan is home to many major brands like Toyota, Nissan and Honda. Japan is also famous for its electronics industry, with companies such as Panasonic, Sony and Sharp. The country has a large fishing industry and is also a major rice producer, placing ninth in global production.

Brief currency history

The yen was first minted in 1869 after the Meiji Restoration when the yen replaced the mon currency system of the Tokugawa era. In 1871, the Meiji government halted the exchange of clan notes that feudal lords had produced and in circulation since the mid-16th century under the “New Currency Act” to introduce the yen was officially adopted in an effort to stabilise the nation’s monetary situation at the time.

After the Bank of Japan was established in 1882, the first central banknotes or Daikoku-satsu were issued in 1885 and were convertible in silver. When the devaluation of silver happened in 1873 and Western powers no longer used it as a currency standard, Japan adopted the gold standard in 1897. The fixed exchange rate of the yen was at 0.75g of pure gold, and banknotes were issued which could be turned in for gold. At the end of 1899, National Banks’ banknotes became invalid, leaving only the Bank of Japan authorised to control the money supply.

Following World War II in 1946, Japan introduced the “New Yen” in an effort to stabilise the economy. Though Japan was ravaged during World War II and the yen lost its value, the country had an economic resurgence in the latter half of the 1900s. The yen became one of the most powerful major currencies in the world, challenging the dollar and pound sterling on international markets.

Taking Travel Money to Japan

japan

What currency should I take to Japan?

If you’re travelling to Japan, you’ll need to exchange your Australian dollars (AUD) for Japanese yen (JPY) before you leave. Check out more information on exchanging AUD to JPY.

Is it cheaper to convert currency in Australia or Japan?

Although you can convert Australian dollars to Japanese yen in Japan, it’s generally cheaper to do it at home in Australia before you leave, where you are likely to get better exchange rates. That way, you’ll know exactly how much money you have to spend while you’re there.

How much money can I take to Japan?

There is no limit to the amount of money that may come into or leave Japan. If you transport (any currencies, checks, securities, or other monies) with a total value of more than 1,000,000 yen in Japanese currency into or out of the country, you must declare the total to a customs official at your point of entry or exit.

Where to convert currency?

Crown Currency Exchange is one of Australia’s largest and leading foreign exchange companies. With over 20 years of experience in the foreign exchange market, we offer great rates on foreign currency and exceptional customer service. You can pick up foreign currencies from over 50 stores across Australia and get your travel money on the spot, locking in a fantastic exchange rate. Our stores are located in CanberraSydneyBrisbane, The Gold CoastAdelaideTasmaniaMelbourne & Perth.  

Is tipping customary in Japan? How Much is expected?

Tipping is not common in Japan. It can be regarded as impolite and discourteous in a number of situations. Customers must pay for their meals at the front register at most Japanese restaurants rather than leaving money with the waiter or waitress. Tipping isn’t necessary for taxi or bus rides, and hotel services are also rarely tipped.

Can you bargain in Japan?

Overall, haggling is often looked down upon as being cheap and rude. This is especially true if you don’t know how to do it in a way that seems charming and confident. In Osaka, shopkeepers might be more open to bargaining, but they’re not going to do it with customers who they know will never return. Sorry, haggling just isn’t common in this country.

What is ATM access like in Japan?

There are plenty of ATMs in Japan, and most will accept foreign cards. Look for the logos of MasterCard and Visa on the ATM, as these are the most widely accepted. You can also find ATMs at post offices and 7-11 stores. Just keep in mind that ATMs have a 100,000 yen per withdrawal limit, so you might need to make multiple withdrawals if you’re carrying a lot of cash.

What should you budget per day?

Budget

For low-budget travellers, we recommend a daily budget of around 3,500 to 7,800 yen (AUD $37 to $83). This will allow you to stay in inexpensive accommodation, eat cheap meals, and do a moderate amount of sightseeing. Dormitories and hostels, which may be found in nearly every city and region of Japan, generally cost less than 3,500 yen (AUD $37) per person and night.

Moderate

A mid-range daily budget of around 8,800 to 18,500 yen (AUD $94 to $197) can make your Japan trip more comfortable. Restaurants charge more for dinner than lunch because there are no lunch specials. However, at this level, you can afford fast food and most restaurants, including those found in department stores. A meal at these places typically costs between 1,000 to 2,500 yen (AUD $11 to $27) without alcoholic drinks.

Luxury

For a luxury vacation in Japan, we recommend a daily budget of over 18,500 yen (AUD $198). Prices for admission to some museums and attractions can range from 1,000 yen (AUD $11) up to 3,000 yen (AUD $32) per person. For theme parks, the average cost is usually between 5,000 to 9,000 yen (AUD $53 to $96) per day. You can have a fulfilling meal at many restaurants for 3,000 yen (AUD $32) per person. However, if you want to dine at an upper-class establishment specialising in sushi, French cuisine, sukiyaki, kaiseki ryori, or steaks, be prepared to spend 5,000 yen (AUD $96) or more per person.

Currency details

Currency:Japanese yenCurrency code:JPY
Currency symbol:¥Central bank:Bank of Japan
Nickname:NoneCurrency sub-unit:Sen = 1/100 of the yen | Rin = 1/1,000 of the yen
Bank notes:¥1,000, ¥2,000 (very rare), ¥5,000, ¥10,000.Coins:¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, ¥500

Must-do's while you are in Japan

bullet train

1. Ride a bullet train

Riding Japan’s bullet train is an experience you won’t forget. The train reaches top speeds of 602 km/h, making the journey from Brisbane to Perth in just under 8 hours.

Eat sushi​

2. Eat sushi

You can’t complete your Japan vacation without trying sushi. This traditional Japanese dish is made with fresh, raw fish and vinegared rice. There are many different types of sushi, so you can try a variety and find your favourite.

hot spring

3. Take a dip in an onsen - a hot spring

Japan is home to many onsens or hot springs. Imagine soaking your tired body in a hot spring, surrounded by beautiful scenery. This is a perfect way to relax and rejuvenate yourself. Some famous onsens are located in Gunma, Oita, and Hokkaido.

mt-fuji

4. Marvel at Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is Japan’s highest mountain, and it is also an active volcano. The last time it erupted was in 1707, but it is still considered active. You can hike to the summit or take a bus tour around the mountain. Either way, you’ll be able to see this magnificent mountain up close.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

5. Walk through the magical Fushimi Inari Shrine

The Fushimi Inari Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of red torii gates leading up to the shrine with around 12,000 steps, It is a long walk, but it is definitely worth it. Walking through the gates is said to be a lucky experience, so make sure you do it when you’re in Kyoto!

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