Japanese currency

Life is more expensive in Japan, and particularly in Tokyo, than anywhere else in the world. At the same time, as it is a very safe country, credit card use is not widespread and you may not be able to pay by card in many places where it would seem natural to do so.

Don’t risk running out of cash, either. Most of the ATMs only operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and some only on business days (except those of Citibank and those of the ATM network, which serve these and other cards 24 hours a day) and only provide service to cards issued outside of Japan at some ATMs. Check with your bank.

It is convenient to buy in Mexico yen or, in any case, dollars, which are of course the most accepted foreign currency. It is not possible to change Mexican pesos. And keep in mind that in Japan there are no exchange houses and that hotels only serve their guests.

As for traveler’s checks, they are accepted by most banks, but not by stores, restaurants and other businesses.

What kind of currency in Japan?

The Japanese currency is the yen and its symbol is ¥.

There are ¥ 1, ¥ 5, ¥ 10, ¥ 50, ¥ 100, and ¥ 500 coins. The bills are 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000 yen.

Japanese currency / Information about Japan

1 yen aluminum coin:

The design of the 1 yen coin, dating from 1955, is the oldest of those on Japanese coins. For the first time, the design of a coin was put out to public competition. The Wakagi tree, drawn on the obverse, is an imaginary tree and symbolizes the growth of Japan.

5 yen brass coin:

This design has a hole in the center and dates from 1949, although the writing was changed in 1959. The design of this piece represents the main Japanese industries of the time: the ear of rice = agriculture, the water = fishing industry, the wheel = industry. The two buds to the left and right of the hole, on the reverse, symbolize the growth of democratic Japan after World War II.

10 yen bronze coin:

Its design dates back to 1959. The temple drawn on the coin is Kyoto’s Byodo-in Houou-do, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was built by Fujiwarano Yorimichi, ruler of the Heian period, in 1052. He had this temple built with the idea of ​​creating a paradise in this world. This temple has never been completely destroyed despite civil wars and World War II. This temple was chosen for the design of the 10 yen coins due to its longevity and its importance in Japanese culture.

50 yen white copper coin:

The first 50 yen coin dates from 1955 and was minted in silver; and like the 1 yen coin, the design was put out to public competition. Because this first 50 yen design without a hole closely resembled the 100 yen coin, the 50 yen design had the hole added in 1977, at the same time as the 100 yen coin. On the obverse are represented the flowers of the chrysanthemum, the imperial flowers.

100 yen white copper coin:

The first 100 yen coin came to light in 1957, in silver, with the drawing of a phoenix. In 1959, the drawing of the phoenix was replaced by that of the ear of rice, but it was kept in silver. In 1977, due to the high cost of using silver for its manufacture, white copper began to be used and at the same time the design was changed and the cherry blossom, symbol of Japan, was used.

Nickel and Brass 500 Yen Coin:

It is the most recent and most valuable piece. It dates from 1982. As vending machines for drinks, subway tickets, etc., are spreading rapidly and the prices of goods that can be bought in them are increasing, it was decided to create the 500 yen coins. On the obverse there is a drawing of paulownia, considered the sacred tree where the phoenix rests. On the reverse side, bamboo is represented at the top and bottom and to the right and left the tachibana, the citrus tree of Japan.

In the year 2000 it was replaced by the current nickel and brass coin to avoid counterfeiting while maintaining the same design.


Historical figures are represented on the banknotes: how are these figures chosen?

– Characters should be familiar to people of all ages and a cultural man / woman, not a political one.

– It is necessary to have high quality portraits or photographs whose printing will withstand a long circulation.

1000 yen bill:

It dates from 2004. On the obverse there is a portrait of Noguchi Hideyo (1876-1928), a bacteriologist who dedicated himself to the study of yellow fever. Mount Fuji and the cherry blossom, symbols of Japan, are depicted on the reverse.

2000 yen bill:

It was printed in 2000 to commemorate the G8 Summit held on the island of Okinawa in July of that same year. It is the only banknote in which no portrayed character appears: on the obverse is drawn the Shurei-mon portal of the Shuri castle in Naha (Okinawa) and on the reverse there is an extract of the parchment paintings of Genji Monogatari, the History by Genji, considered the oldest novel in the world – written in the 11th century. The author, Murasaki Shikibu, is also present in this post.

5000 yen bill:

It was put into circulation in 2004 and it is the second time that a woman appears on a banknote (the first time was in 1881, Empress Jinguu). A Meiji era poet, Ichiyo Higuchi (1872-1896), is represented. On the reverse of the banknote there is a sample of a famous painting: the Iris by Ogata Korin (1658-1716).

10,000 yen bill:

It was printed in 2004 at the same time as the 1000 and 5000 banknotes. The obverse is portrayed by Yukichi Fukuzawa (1835-1901), thinker, writer, teacher and translator, who founded Keio University. The reverse of the 10,000 yen bill shows the phoenix from the Byodo-in Hououdou temple, although it is sometimes said to be the phoenix from the Golden Pavilion of Kyoto.