Friday, April 16, 2010

Japan: Yen

As you may already know, Yen is the currency unit in Japan. There are four kinds of bills (10,000 yen, 5,000 yen, 2,000 yen 1,000 yen) and six kinds of coins (500 yen, 100 yen, 50 yen, 10 yen, 5 yen, 1 yen) used. Japanese currency is designed to aid easy use by people with vision impairments. All of the bills and coins are different sizes! For example, the bills descend in size from 10,000 Yen to 1,000 Yen. Each bill also has raised bumps in the bottom, left corner (if looking at the bill from the front).

 Japanese Yen

Major credit cards are accepted in the larger hotels and stores, but most Japanese operate with cash. Cash and travelers checks can be exchanged in banks, post offices and currency exchange bureau.

Banks are usually open Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm. Travelers checks offer the best exchange rate and are best taken in US dollars. ATMs do not accept all credit and debit cards; only the international ATMs in post offices, airports and some major stores. Quick currency conversions can help to prepare for your trip.

FYI-Check with the Tourism bureau office or a travel agent to purchase an advance JR rail pass before your departure (it cannot be purchased in Japan). The JR rail pass will allow you to travel on all JR lines while you are in Japan. Web search for JR rail pass for more information, it will save you more than $100!

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