What is the local currency in Japan?
The official currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen, which is the third most traded currency in the foreign exchange market. One Japanese yen is 0.0070 GBP as of 22nd January 2020.
History of the Japanese Yen
- Before 1871, during the Meiji reforms, Japan had many different currencies that were strictly decided by the Shoguns and was mostly coins.
- The Japanese yen was introduced in 1871 under the Meiji government.
- By 1897, Japan adopted the gold exchange standard (they would remove from it in 1931) and the yen was gradually becoming more valuable.
- Today it is one of the most traded currencies in the world.
Do I tip in Japan?
Tipping in Japan is not customary. Their culture is one that is firmly rooted in dignity, respect and hard work – therefore good service is considered the standard and has resulted in Japan being labelled as the culture “which always over-delivers.”
Some restaurants in Japan would even refuse to accept a tip, a simple thank you for the service and food suffices. There is also no expectation to tip taxi drivers in Japan.
There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule; in some cases, the staff that work for tourist companies in Japan are accustomed to receiving a small gratuity.
View our tipping guide for more help on tipping abroad.
Using cash in Japan
When travelling, our experts would recommend always bringing a small amount of cash with you on every trip, for initial taxi transfers or hotel deposits etc. A large portion of your Japanese Yen should be put onto a Caxton multi-currency card, for safe and secure spending.
Japan is still mainly a cash society, especially in smaller towns, thus, it’s advisable to bring cash when exploring rural areas. However, in the larger cities and towns most establishments accept credit/debit cards, making a prepaid card still an essential travel companion.
Post offices or 7-Eleven ATMs have been frequently mentioned as the best places to withdraw cash in Japan from an international card.
Most international banks and money outlets now charge a fee for using ATM machines, as do most card providers. Taking a travel pre-paid card and a credit card is recommended as Caxton do not charge for international ATM use regardless of sum or number of times, (but check with your card provider about charges.)
What happens if I have my wallet stolen whilst in Japan?
Japan is known to be a safe country with friendly and helpful people, but this shouldn’t stop you from being smart whilst you travel. If the majority of your cash is on a prepaid card, this will be automatically protected. However, in case the worse happens, here are the list of major debit/credit card ‘lost and stolen’ numbers:
HSBC/First Direct - +44 1442 422929
Natwest - +44 1268 500 813
Lloyds - +44 1702 278270
Barclays - +442476842099
Santander - +44 1908 237 963
What can I do with spare Yen?
Whilst in Japan, you may as well spend any remaining Yen, if only small amount, on some traditional Japanese souvenirs, such as:
- Matcha flavoured tea/sweets
- Traditional craft/ceramic works
Alternatively, if a Yukata isn’t your style, you can use Caxton’s buy back guarantee to get rid of any unused Japanese Yen. By doing this you ensure that if the exchange rate moves against you, you won't lose out.