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Money of Japan and Credit Card, Debit Card

Japanese paper money
Japanese coin

Japanese currency is "YEN".

Yen is smaller unit than "dollar" or "euro".
If you use dollar or euro in your country, it is like "cent".

Japanese paper money and coin

In Japan, 10,000 yen, 5,000 yen, 2,000 yen and 1,000 yen bills are used as paper money.

And 500 yen, 100 yen, 50 yen, 10 yen, 5 yen and 1 yen are used as coin.

50 yen and 5 yen coins have a hole in the center.
I hear that these are rare in the world.

The unit of Japanese money has always been only "1" and "5".
In celebration of the 21th century, 2,000 yen bill as the first "2" unit appeared in 2000.

But it isn't used very much now.

Originally, the number of issued bills was small.
Additionally, it is said that the "2" unit doesn't adapt to Japanese life.

In fact, I have never used it in recent years.
But if you really want to use it, you can exchange the other bills for 2,000 yen bills at the bank.

By the way, the figures on the bills are the following.

  • 10,000 yen : Fukuzawa Yukichi (1835-1901), a scholar, an educator, a thinker.
  • 5,000 yen : Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-1896), a woman novelist.
  • 2,000 yen : Shureimon gate in Shuri Castle in Okinawa Prefecture.
  • 1,000 yen : Noguchi Hideyo (1876-1928), a world‐class bacteriologist.

Currency exchange

If you want to exchange money in Japan, you had better do it at airport, at big bank or at big post office in the city.

There are few commercial exchange shops in Japan.
Because there is usually no need for Japanese people, such shop is not good business in Japan.

And probably you may not exchange at most hotels and ryokans except high-level ones where many foreigners stay.

As above, you should know that the places to exchange are limited in Japan.

You had better exchange money when you get a chance.
In addition, it is important to make effective use of credit cards.

Using Credit Card, Debit Card in Japan

The ownership rate of credit card and debit card in Japan is over 80 percent.
So it has been common for Japanese people to do shopping with credit card or debit card.

But there are not enough shops which can accept credit card and debit card.
Some small shops and restaurants don't

You can use the cards at the department stores, better stores, better restaurants, better hotels, big souvenir stores in sightseeing area and so on.

And you can get the tickets of JR and airlines by the cards.

In any case, check the display of the sign of the cards in the front of a store.

"VISA" member stores are the first rank of share in Japan, followed by "MasterCard", "AMEX", "JCB" and "Diners".

In Japan, when you use the card, inputting the password number is basically required.
In many case, your sign may be refused.

International Tourist Tax

When you depart from Japan, you must pay International Tourist Tax.
The taxation was started from 2019, and the tax amount is 1,000 yen.

Please, check the related website.

International Tourist Tax

Consumption tax

Duty Free Shops around Akihabara station in TokyoDuty Free Shops around Akihabara station in Tokyo

When you buy products in Japan, the price includes "Consumption tax".
It is currently 10% of primary price and the tax of foods, drinks and newspapers is 8% as reduced tax rate.

This tax is based on consumption in Japan.
So, if you take the products bought in Japan to your country, you can get an exemption of the tax.

If you have bought the products at duty-free shop, the price don't include the tax.
In this case, you need not mind.

If you have bought the products at big department store, big souvenir shop in the famous sightseeing area or big electronics retail store, you may make a turnback procedure of the tax in the store.

Please ask a clerk, "I would like to apply for duty-free".
If the shop can handling, you can get the turnback after necessary procedures.

But generally there are some condition to apply.
Probably total purchased amount in the store is required more than 5,000 yen.

Food, beverages, tobacco, drugs and cosmetics, and consumable items such as films and batteries are exceptions.
(I quoted this caption from the website of a big department store.)

Of course, you must not open the package within object products until completion of your embarkation procedure.

Japan Tourism Agency announces the info about tax-free shopping in Japan.
Please check it.

Tax-free Shop info by Japan Tourism Agency