The Japanese Yen
The Currency of Japan is Yen ¥. There is 1000, 5000 and 10000 paper bills and coins in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen denominations.
*There is also 2000 Yen bill, but they are no longer printed and are rarely used.
10000 JP Yen
Japan is essentially a cash society
Large department stores and hotels will accept traveller's cheques and credit cards (VISA and MasterCard), but smaller businesses may only accept Japanese credit cards and not traveller's cheques: only Yen in cash So, consider carrying enough cash (Yen and not US, Euro or any other currency) for daily use.
Still be careful
Japan has a very low crime rate compared to all western countries. And, yes, there are many true stories of tourists losing their wallets and having them found and returned, intact; and with nothing missing and even returned to a tourist's hotel. But, always be aware of potential dangerous situations especially if you wander into unfamiliar areas of the city. There has been an increase in tourists travelling to Japan and like in all countries you are a target for a few undesirables lurking in the shadows.
Japanese Consumption Tax
Japanese Consumption Tax(CT) is equivalent to VAT(Value added tax) or GST (General Sales Tax). The Japanese CT rate is 8% for all kinds of products and services. (As of July.2014) *It is supposed to be raised to 10% starting from 1.April 2015.
Tips and Tipping
Tipping for a purchased service is not customary and not expected in Japan.
ATM's and Access to Cash (Yen)
Recently the ATM system in Japan is becoming more convenient for tourists in the downtown Tokyo area: more of them; staying open beyond 11:00 PM at night and enabling cash withdraws: currently, still an inconvenience. Post Offices have international ATM machines with instructions in English. ATM's can be also found at major Hotels and the larger department stores.
Cash (Yucho) Access
Post Offices You can now withdraw money using your credit cards at Japan's post offices. Conveniently located, the Postal Savings' and Affiliated Banking Facilities' ATM has over 1,000 post offices in Japan. http://www.japanpost.jp/en/
strong>Seven-Eleven (7 /11) Stores You can also withdraw money with your ATM cards by day and by night at ATM services installed in Seven-Eleven Stores all over Japan. See here for detail...
EPS (Electronic Payment Systems) in Japan
Smart cards – Suica, PASMO、Kitaca、TOICA、ICOCA、SUGOCA、nimoca
These prepaid electric-money cards are basically used as a fare card on train lines in Japan, but they can also be used for purchases at stores and kiosks, especially within train stations called “Ekinaka” (Shopping mall in a train station).
This type of smart cards is locally issued by major railway companies or e-card companies in the region. The usable smart cards in Tokyo area are Suica and Pasmo. If you have one of these cards, you can pay fares to take the most of transportations in Tokyo, including trains, subways and even busses, without buying a ticket.
Suica or Pasmo can be purchased from a ticket vending machine at a ticket office in a train station. You can add money to your card by the ticket vending machine too.
* Started from 23.March.2013, these cards became interoperable and can be used in the interoperable areas, so there is no need to have different cards to pay in each area anymore. For example, if you have a Suica card (issued by JR East, Tokyo), you can use the card in Osaka (within Kansai area of Japan) too. If you have an ICOCA card (issued by JR West, Osaka), you can also use the card in Tokyo area (within Kanto area of Japan), vice versa.
Kitaka (Hokkaido Region)
TOICA (Tokai Region)
ICOCA (Kansai Region)
SUGOCA (Kyushu Region)
nimoca (For local transportations in Kyusyu region)