Japanese money

The Yen is the official currency of Japan and is the third most traded foreign currency in the world. It is also used as a reserve currency coming behind the US dollar, the Euro and the pound as the most popular choice.  The Yen was formerly adopted as the nation’s currency in 1871 after the Chinese sold their money press to the Japanese government.

The coins currently in circulation are as follows: ¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50, ¥100, ¥500

The current series of notes consists of ¥1000, ¥2000, ¥5000, ¥10,000. Be aware that the ¥2000 note is rare and is often not accepted as a means of payment.

Following the United States’ measures to devalue the dollar in the summer of 1971, the Japanese government agreed to a new, fixed exchange rate as part of the Smithsonian agreement, signed at the end of the year. This agreement set the exchange rate at ¥308 per US$1. However, the new fixed rates of the Smithsonian Agreement were difficult to maintain in the face of supply and demand pressures in the foreign-exchange market. In early 1973, the rates were abandoned, and the major nations of the world allowed their currencies to float onto the markets.

Opening a Japanese bank account

To open a Bank account in the country you need to show your alien registration card, must have been in the country for longer than 90 days, passport and ink seal. (Unlike most nations, the Japanese use the old seal method of signing documents). You’ll also need some money to deposit into the account.

You will then need to complete an application form and make a deposit after which the account will be opened. You can also apply for a Japanese debit card or PIN number.

Be aware that only a few Bankers can speak English and that it will be very difficult to communicate with them. If you do not speak Japanese; make sure you have a Japanese friend or a pocket phrasebook handy when you go to open your account.