Japanese Money / Currency, the Yen / En, travellers cheques

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Japanese Money, the currency of Japan is the Yen (pronounced En, as in men).

Japanese bank notes come in the dominations 1000 yen, 5000 yen and 10000 yen and coins are in 1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, 100 yen and 500 yen. Previously Japan had a 500 yen note but this is no longer in use.

Japanese Money – Japanese bank notes

10000 yen – Ichiman en
10000 Yen Note - Ichiman en
The 10000 yen note pictures Fukuzawa Yukichi who was the founder of Keio University in Tokyo who was one of the first experts on the west in Japan and is credited with playing an important role in westernising Japan in the 19th Century. Fukuzawa believed that every man could benefit from education.

On the reverse of the 10000 yen note are two Raicho’s (Japanese grouse), one standing and one sitting.

5000 yen – Gosen en
5000 Yen note - Gosen en
Pictures Nitobe Inazo, noted as an educator, agriculturist and writer. His most famous work being the Book, “Bushido, the soul of Japan

The reverse pictures Mt Fuji.

2000 Yen – Nisen en
2000 Yen note - Nisen en
This is a new note and was introduced at the Okinawa G8 Summit of 2000 and is the only Japanese note without a portrait of a famous Japanese person on it.

One side pictures the Shurei-no-mon, which represents the history of Okinawa and one the other side is a scene from The Tale of Genji, which is one of the most famous romantic novels in Japanese history.

1000 yen – Sen en
1000 Yen note - Sen en
Pictures Natsume Soseki who was a noted scholor of English literature at the imperial University. The 1905 book of Wagahai-wa Neko-de aru (I am a Cat) made him famous. He is also noted as being one of the first writers to be influenced by western culture.

Picture on the reverse is the tancho-zuru (Japanese red-crested crane).

The coins are various sizes and colours the 500 yen (Gohyaku en) being the biggest, this is silver as is the 100 yen (Hyaku en). The most destinctive being the 50 yen (Goju en) and 5 yen (Go en) which have a hole in the middle. The 50 yen being silver and the 5 yen being brass in colour (it is also the only coin with no number printed on it). The 10 yen (Ju en) is a copper colour and slightly smaller than the 500 yen and the 1 yen (Ichi en) is Aluminium colour and feels like it is made from plastic.

Japanese Money – Japanese Coins
500 (new) yen – Go-hyaku en
500 Yen coin - Go-hyaku en500 yen – Go-hyaku en
500 Yen coin - Go-hyaku en100 yen – Hyaku en
100 Yen coin - Hyaku en50 yen – go-ju en
50 Yen coin - go-ju en
10 yen – ju en
10 Yen coin - ju en5 yen – go en
5 Yen coin - go en1 yen – ichi en
1 Yen coin - ichi en

Cash is generally safe to carry in Japan as the number of crimes against the person is very small.

If your taking money then I would suggest that you forget traveller´s cheques as these are accepted only in banks and even then they are a real pain to get changed due to the opening hours and language barrier.

Best thing I have found is to take your Visa or Mastercard with you, as this is accepted almost everywhere. (If you pay the money you would have spent on traveler´s cheques onto your card, then you´re in Credit). You´ll have to take some cash but a few hundred pounds worth is enough if you have your plastic. If you need more money then banks have cash machines but these are generally inside the bank so must be used during banking hours, and generally have queues to use them.

Some banks only have Japanese cash machines, I mean Japanese writing, so be prepare to hunt for somewhere that has multi-lingual machines, my advice is to try the larger hotel chains as they have cash machines in the lobby. Ask your travel operator to find out or email the hotel chain directly to find out.

Credit cards are widely used in the cities and larger towns but the more rural you go the more and more you will need money.

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