Before your trip to Japan, its good to learn about Japanese currency, taxes, tax exemption and currency exchange.
A must-read article for those of you who are planning a trip to Japan!
1. What are the different denominations of Japanese Yen?
Yen (￥) is the unit of Japanese currency.
Coins are available in 1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, 100 yen, 500 yen denominations
Bank notes are available in 1000 yen, 2000 yen, 5000 yen, 10,000 yen denominations.
The 5 yen and 50 yen coin, which have a hole in the middle, are considered rare by some foreigners and brought back home as souvenirs. It is recommended that you use 5 yen coins as monetary offerings when visiting a shrine or a temple. In Japanese, 5 yen, pronounced as go-en, is a homonym with a word that means “to have ties between things or people” (En is a Buddhist term meaning connection). That’s why it’s said to be lucky to use 5 yen coins as offerings.
Among the four types of paper bills that are circulated in Japan, the circulation amount of 2000 yen bills is extremely low, so you may not be able to see one. Using the most expensive 10,000 yen bill while shopping may be troublesome in case the price is low, so do prepare yourself with smaller denominations beforehand especially in small shops.
2. What about consumption tax?
The Japanese consumption tax is set at 8% and is estimated to rise up to 10% in the near future. The price labeling in shops differs depending on the shop’s policy; sometimes, the price will be labeled as “100 yen (tax not included),” or “108 yen (tax included).” If you don’t know whether the tax is included or not, please ask the staff.
3. Can you apply for tax exemption?
At Japan, tax exemption procedures can be done at department stores, large shopping malls, electronics retail stores and drug stores such as Matsumoto Kiyoshi, some shops of UNIQLO, or Ekinaka (shops that are located inside the train station) shops at Tokyo station. Considering the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, you may receive tax exemption in some boutiques, smaller private shops especially in tourist spots that aim to attract foreign tourists coming to Japan.
For the latest on taxes: New duty-free shopping rule in Japan
4. Do you need to tip?
In Japan, we don’t have the custom to tip like other countries. Whether its taxis, hotels, or restaurants, there’s no need to tip.
5. Where can you exchange money?
You can exchange money at every airport in Japan, or at the teller’s at any large banks such as Mitsubushi UFJ Bank or Mitsui Sumitomo Bank. On weekdays, banks are open from 9 am to 3 pm, and are closed on weekends. You can also exchange money at any post office in Japan. Most post offices are open from 9 am to 4 pm on weekdays.
Exchanging money is also possible at foreign currency exchange places such as Travelex. Business hours differ from shops, so for further reference visit their homepage listed down below.
For banks that are tied up with foreign banks, you can also withdraw Japanese yen directly with your cash card/ATM card! (For more information, check with your bank)
List of Travelex shops: