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    Currency in Japan JPY - Things to know

    Foreign exchange guide to Japan and the Japanese yen


    What currency is used in Japan?

    The official currency of Japan (country code: JP) is the Japanese yen, with symbol ¥ and currency code JPY.

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    Things to know about the Japanese yen

    The Japanese yen is a low value currency, against the US dollar it is normally quoted as USDJPY that is the number of yen per 1 US dollar.

    According to the Bank for International Settlements, in 2016, trading in the Japanese yen (ISO: JPY) contributed to 22% of total foreign exchange market turnover, making the yen the world’s third most traded currency.

    Like government bonds and gold, the Japanese yen is considered a safe haven asset – it is the premier safe haven of the currency world. This means that the yen is likely to increase in value against other currencies during periods of economic uncertainty or when global geopolitical risk is elevated, or during bouts of high market volatility.

    Since 1995, against the US dollar, the yen’s lowest valuation came in August 1998 when USD/JPY reached 147.67 (¥100 cost a little less than $0.68). Its post-1995 high came in October 2011 when USD/JPY traded at just 75.56 (¥100 cost $1.32).

    The Japanese yen is a crucial part of the ‘carry trade’ – a popular strategy among foreign exchange traders in which they borrow in a currency with a low interest rate and use those funds to invest in currencies paying a higher rate. In recent decades, the most popular way to fund the carry trade has been to borrow (sell) yen due to Japan’s consistently low interest rates (since 1996 Japanese rates have averaged less than 0.5%).

    The Japanese yen banknotes and coins

    The physical currency consists of coins and banknotes. The coins come in denominations of 1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, 100 yen, and 500 yen. The banknotes come in denominations of 1,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 10,000 yen.

    The banknotes feature images of famous Japanese historical figures, such as Hōkōsai Katsushika, Tōgai Kan, and Kōmei Emperor. The design of the currency is constantly being updated, so the physical appearance of the coins and banknotes may vary slightly over time.

    An example Japanese yen banknote


    Travel money for Japan

    Save money and time by Ordering your Japanese yen online from Travelex, you get better rates and can pick up the JPY cash locally or even on travel day at the airport.

    Another popular option is to use a Pre-paid Travel Card. Your Debit/Credit Card provider will charge you 2% from market mid-rate, but your bank may also charge an extra 3% as an “Overseas Transaction Charge” plus “Overseas ATM” fees for withdrawing cash.

    For card purchases if offered a choice of currencies always select to Pay in Japanese yen otherwise you may get much worst exchange rates.


    Travel Ideas and Money Tips for Japan

    Japan is an island country in East Asia, located in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by the Sea of Japan to the west, and the Pacific Ocean to the east.

    Though very expensive, Japan is one of the most amazing, beautiful, and friendly countries in the world. Japan is a high-tech world mixed with the politeness and respect of their past.

    Japan has fantastic food, beautiful temples and shrines, zen gardens, national parks, and a culture with a long and rich history. It’s a wonderful place and, while it may be an expensive country to visit.

    The archipelago of Japan is comprised of 6,852 islands, the largest of which are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku. The population of 127 million people is concentrated in the villages and cities on the main islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku.

    The capital of Japan is Tokyo, which is also the country's largest city. Other major cities include Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo.

    Japan is known for its traditional culture, including its cuisine, architecture, art and music. The country is also home to many popular tourist destinations, such as Mount Fuji, Kyoto and Nara.

    Best things to do and see in Japan

    There are many things to do and see in Japan. Here are some of the most popular:

    1. Visit Tokyo – Japan’s capital city is a must-see. There is so much to do and see, including the Imperial Palace, Sensoji Temple, and Meiji Shrine.

    2. See Mount Fuji – Japan’s tallest mountain is an iconic symbol of the country. You can see it from many different vantage points, including Lake Kawaguchiko.

    3. Visit Kyoto – Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan for centuries and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is a wealth of things to see and do, including visiting shrines, temples, and castles.

    4. Take a bullet train – Japan’s high-speed bullet trains are an experience in themselves. You can travel between major cities like Tokyo and Osaka at speeds of up to 320 km/h (200 mph).

    5. Eat sushi – Sushi is one of Japan’s most famous dishes and is a must-try when you’re in the country. You’ll find sushi restaurants all over Japan, serving up fresh and delicious sushi rolls.

    6. Try on a kimono – Kimonos are traditional Japanese garments that are usually worn on special occasions. You can try on a kimono at many places in Japan, including in Kyoto’s Gion district.

    7. Visit Hiroshima – Hiroshima is a city that was destroyed by an atomic bomb at the end of World War II. Today, it is a peaceful city with a tragic history. The Hiroshima Peace Memorial is a must-see.

    8. See the cherry blossoms – Japan is famous for its cherry blossoms, which typically bloom in April. You can see them all over the country, including in Tokyo’s Ueno Park and Kyoto’s Philosopher’s Walk.

    9. Ride a cable car up Mount Rokko – Mount Rokko is a mountain in western Japan with stunning views. You can take a cable car up the mountain to the mountaintop observatory for panoramic views of the region.

    10. Go skiing or snowboarding – Japan is a great place to go skiing or snowboarding, with world-class resorts like Niseko. There is also great backcountry skiing to be found in Hokkaido.

    Top Travel tips for Japan

    Here are some more travel tips for Japan:

    1. Learn some basic phrases in Japanese: While many people in Japan speak English, it's always appreciated when tourists make an effort to learn some basic phrases in Japanese. This includes greetings like "konnichiwa" (hello) and "arigato" (thank you).

    2. Respect local customs: Japan has a unique culture with many customs and traditions that may be unfamiliar to visitors. It's important to be respectful of these customs, such as taking off your shoes before entering a home or temple and avoiding public displays of affection.

    3. Get a Japan Rail Pass: If you plan to travel around Japan, consider getting a Japan Rail Pass, which gives you unlimited access to the country's extensive railway network. The pass can be purchased before you leave home and is a cost-effective way to travel.

    4. Learn how to use the subway: Japan's subway systems can be confusing to navigate, but they are an efficient and convenient way to get around. Familiarize yourself with the subway map and consider purchasing a prepaid transit card to make your travels easier.

    5. Stay safe: Japan is generally a safe country, but it's always a good idea to be cautious and take basic safety precautions, such as staying in well-lit areas at night and being aware of your surroundings.

    6. Try local cuisine: Japan is known for its delicious and unique cuisine, including dishes like sushi, ramen, and tempura. Don't be afraid to try new foods and be open to trying local specialties.

    Postcard from Tokyo

    As you wander through the backstreets of Tokyo, you can't help but feel a sense of wonder and excitement. The city is a maze of narrow alleys and bustling streets, each one full of unique sights and sounds. The bright neon lights and colorful billboards create a vibrant atmosphere, while the traditional Japanese architecture adds a sense of history and culture. You can hear the chatter of people and the honking of cars, as well as the aroma of street food wafting through the air. As you continue on your journey, take a moment to appreciate the beauty of this bustling metropolis and the diverse experiences it has to offer.


    USD/JPY Market Data

    The below interactive chart displays the USD/JPY change and UP📈 DOWN📉 trends over the past 1 Year.

    1 USD =
    158.91We compare provider deals to this wholesale mid-market rate. Read more
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    Frequently Asked Questions

    What currency should I use in Japan?

    The domestic currency in Japan is the Japanese yen.

    What is the Japanese yen currency code and symbol?

    The three letter currency code for the Japanese yen is JPY — symbol is ¥.

    Which countries use the Japanese yen?

    It is the domestic currency in    Japan.

    Is the Japanese yen a closed currency?

    No, the Japanese yen is freely available and convertible. See guide: What is a closed currency?

    What are equivalent amounts of USD and JPY?

    Here are some popular conversion amounts for USD to JPY (US dollar to Japanese yen)*.

    $ 1 ¥ 158.91
    $ 5 ¥ 794.55
    $ 10 ¥ 1,589
    $ 20 ¥ 3,178
    $ 50 ¥ 7,946
    $ 100 ¥ 15,891
    $ 250 ¥ 39,728
    $ 500 ¥ 79,455
    $ 1,000 ¥ 158,910
    $ 2,000 ¥ 317,820
    $ 5,000 ¥ 794,550
    $ 10,000 ¥ 1,589,100
    $ 20,000 ¥ 3,178,200
    $ 50,000 ¥ 7,945,500
    $ 100,000 ¥ 15,891,000
    $ 0.0063 ¥ 1
    $ 0.0315 ¥ 5
    $ 0.0629 ¥ 10
    $ 0.1259 ¥ 20
    $ 0.3147 ¥ 50
    $ 0.6293 ¥ 100
    $ 1.5733 ¥ 250
    $ 3.1465 ¥ 500
    $ 6.2930 ¥ 1,000
    $ 12.59 ¥ 2,000
    $ 31.47 ¥ 5,000
    $ 62.93 ¥ 10,000
    $ 125.86 ¥ 20,000
    $ 314.65 ¥ 50,000
    $ 629.30 ¥ 100,000

    More amounts

    *Converted at the current USDJPY interbank exchange rate. Calculate actual payout amounts for Send Money and Travel Money exchange rates.

    Send Money to Japan - Best Rates

    To get a good (and fair) exchange rate when sending money to Japan you need to find and compare exchange rates for International Money Transfers (IMTs).

    The available FX rates for sending money abroad can be very different to the mid-market (wholesale) rate which you see reported online and in the News.

    You should especially compare your own bank's exchange rates to those available from Money Transfer specialists to see how much you can save - we make that calculation easy in the below table.

    Get a better deal for foreign transfers to Japan

    When sending money to Japan it’s important to compare your bank’s rates & fees with those we have negotiated with our partner money transfer providers. To get a better deal you should follow these 4 simple steps :

    1. Open an account with a BER reviewed FX provider (id docs may be required)
    2. You specify the local or Japanese yen amount you want to transfer
    3. Make a local currency domestic transfer for the requested amount to the provider's bank account in your country
    4. Once your funds are received by the provider the converted JPY amount will be transfered to the recipient account you specify in Japan.

    Use the above calculator to compare the exchange rates of FX specialist providers rates versus your bank's standard rates you can hopefully save around 5% and maybe more - end result is more Japanese yen deposited into the recipient bank account and less margins and fees kept by the banks!


    Expat Money & Business Guide to Japan

    Managing your money effectively while living and working abroad can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to ensure that your finances are in order.

    By following these tips and managing your money effectively, you can reduce financial stress and enjoy your experience living or doing business in Japan.

    How is the cost of living in Japan?

    The cost of living in Japan can vary depending on location, lifestyle, and individual needs. However, generally speaking, Japan is known to be one of the more expensive countries in the world, especially in terms of accommodation and transportation.

    Accommodation costs, particularly in the big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, can be quite high. Rent for apartments can be very expensive, and purchasing a home can be out of reach for many.

    Transportation costs are also high, particularly in Tokyo and other major cities, as the public transportation system is extensive and efficient.

    Food costs can vary depending on whether you're eating at home or eating out. Eating at home can be quite affordable as you can buy ingredients from supermarkets, however, eating out can be expensive, particularly in Tokyo.

    The cost of living can also be influenced by the cost of goods and services, such as clothing and entertainment. However, Japan offers a lot of free activities and entertainment, such as temples and museums, which can help keep expenses low.

    On the other hand, Japan has a relatively low inflation rate and a relatively stable economy, which can make it easier to plan and budget for expenses.

    Overall, Japan can be an expensive place to live, but with proper planning and budgeting, it can be a wonderful place to live or visit.

    How is the expat life in Japan?

    Expat life in Japan can vary depending on the individual's circumstances and personal preferences, but it generally offers a unique and culturally rich experience.

    One of the biggest challenges that expats may face is the language barrier. While many Japanese people speak English, it may not be as widely spoken or understood as in other countries. This can make it difficult to navigate daily life, such as shopping or ordering food, and can make it difficult to establish social connections.

    However, the Japanese culture is known for its hospitality and friendliness, and many expats find that they are able to make friends and establish a social life despite the language barrier.

    Another challenge that expats may face is the cost of living. Japan is known to be an expensive country, particularly in terms of accommodation and transportation. However, expats can find ways to save money by living in more affordable areas or by finding ways to live more frugally.

    On the other hand, Japan offers many benefits for expats. There is a rich culture, history and art to explore, and many opportunities for personal and professional growth. Japan is also known for its safety and low crime rate.

    Additionally, Japan has a strong economy and a stable political environment which can make it a good place to work and start a business.

    Overall, expat life in Japan can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. With an open mind, flexibility and good planning, expats can have a unique and fulfilling experience while living in Japan.

    Any laws in Japan that foreigners should be aware of?

    There are a few laws in Japan that foreigners should be aware of. Firstly, it is illegal to smoke in public places such as on the street, in parks, and in restaurants. Secondly, it is also illegal to drink alcohol in public places. Finally, it is important to note that it is against the law to drive a car or motorcycle without a valid license.

    What is doing business like in Japan?

    In general, doing business in Japan is a very formal process. There is a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy, and things tend to move slowly. Personal relationships are important, and it is important to build trust with your Japanese business partners.

    Managing your finances in Japan

    Here we list some key points for expats and businesses to consider when managing financial dealings in Japan:

    1. Understand Japanese yen currency exchange rates: Exchange rates can have a big impact on your finances, so it is important to keep an eye on the JPY exchange rate and consider using a currency exchange service or a credit card that does not charge foreign transaction fees to get the best exchange rate.

    2. Use a local Japanese yen bank account: A local JPY bank account can make it easier for you to manage your finances and pay bills while you are in Japan. It may also be more convenient to use a local JPY bank account to make purchases and withdraw cash.

    3. Research local laws and regulations: It is important to understand the local laws and regulations that apply to financial transactions in Japan. This can help you avoid legal issues and ensure that you are complying with local requirements.

    4. Consider the tax implications: It is important to understand the tax implications of living or doing business in Japan. This can help you plan your finances and ensure that you are paying the correct amount of tax.

    5. Seek financial advice: If you are unsure of how to manage your finances in Japan, it is a good idea to seek the advice of a financial professional who is familiar with the local financial system. This can help you make informed decisions and avoid financial pitfalls.


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