Japan: Currency and Costs

Currency of Japan

Currency of Japan

If you’re planning a trip to Japan, it’s essential to understand Japan’s currency and costs. The yen is Japan’s official currency and is widely traded on the foreign exchange market. Banknotes of 1,000 yen, 2,000 yen, 5,000 yen, and 10,000 yen denominations are currently in circulation, while coins of 1 yen, 5 yen, 10 yen, 50 yen, 100 yen, and 500 yen are also used.

So, how much can you buy with different amounts of yen? Let’s take a look:

  • For example, with 10 yen, you can purchase a small piece of candy, a piece of gum, or a single stamp. You might also be able to buy a small trinket or toy from a vending machine that dispenses items for low prices.
  • For 100 yen, there are various items you can purchase, such as a small snack like chips, candy, or a chocolate bar. You can also get a can of soda, a bottle of water, or a small carton of juice from a vending machine. Furthermore, you can buy small items like keychains, stickers, or accessories from a store or vending machine.
  • 500 yen allows you to buy various things, such as a satisfying meal at a fast-food restaurant, a combo meal at a convenience store, or a bowl of ramen in a small eatery. Discount stores sell T-shirts, socks, hats, and other inexpensive items, which can also be purchased for 500 yen. You can also acquire a range of small keepsakes, such as magnets, postcards, or keychains from gift stores with the same amount of money. Admission to some museums, temples, and other attractions can be covered with 500 yen.
  • 1,000 yen in Japan can get you a decent meal at a mid-range restaurant, a basic clothing item like a shirt or pants, or a book or DVD. You can buy a small electronic device such as headphones, a USB drive, or a smartphone accessory. Additionally, you can purchase cosmetics, skincare products, and small household items such as towels, mugs, or plates from a department store or a 100 yen shop. You can also pay for transportation for a day or the entrance fee to some theme parks, water parks, or aquariums for 1,000 yen.
  • If you have 5,000 yen, there are various items you can purchase, such as an upscale meal at an elegant restaurant, a jacket or a new pair of shoes, or a tablet or smartphone. You can also buy cosmetics, skincare sets, or even small appliances like a blender or coffee maker. Furthermore, 5,000 yen can cover the cost of a one or two-night stay at a budget hotel, or a traditional Japanese inn called a ryokan. Additionally, you can purchase tickets to concerts, shows, or sports events with this amount.
  • With 10,000 yen, you have a variety of options to spend it. You can purchase a high-end meal at a luxury restaurant, a new pair of high-quality shoes, or a designer handbag. You can also buy a set of high-end cosmetics or skincare products or small home appliances such as microwaves or vacuum cleaners. Moreover, you can use 10,000 yen to pay for a one or two-night stay at a mid-range hotel or ryokan. In addition, you can purchase tickets to some premium concerts, shows, or sports events.

Keep in mind that these are just general estimates, and prices can vary depending on where you are in Japan.

Expense management for a budget trip

To ensure that you can manage the expenses associated with accommodations, transportation, food, attractions, and shopping during your visit to Japan, it is important to plan, and budget accordingly. Here are some suggestions to help you with that.

To find affordable accommodation during your trip, you have various options to consider, with costs varying according to your preferences. Capsule hotels are budget-friendly option that offers individual sleeping pods and cost around 2,000 to 5,000 yen per night. Hostels are also affordable, with prices ranging from 2,500 to 6,000 yen per night based on location and amenities. Business hotels, on the other hand, offer basic amenities such as free Wi-Fi and breakfast, with prices between 5,000 to 10,000 yen per night. For a unique experience, you can stay at the original Book and Bed Tokyo located in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, with bunk beds starting at around 3,800 yen per night.

by Wandering

by Wandering

The cost of transportation can differ depending on how you choose to travel. Train fares can range from inexpensive to costly, while the starting fee for a taxi is around 700-800 yen. If you plan on using public transportation often, consider getting a Suica or Pasmo IC card. These cards can be used on trains, subways, and buses, and can save you money.

by Wandering

Budget meals can be found for around 500-1000 yen, while mid-range meals can cost around 2000-3000 yen. Convenience stores like 7-Eleven, Lawson, and FamilyMart offer affordable meals and snacks that are ready to eat. If you’re a sushi lover, you can enjoy affordable prices at sushi chain restaurants in Japan (Typically costs between 100 yen to 500 yen).


The cost of attractions varies, with some temples and shrines being free to enter, while others may charge an admission fee of several hundred yen. Theme parks, museums, and other popular tourist attractions often charge higher fees.

Popular souvenirs like Japanese sweets, stationery, and small trinkets can cost a few hundred yen, while high-end items like electronics, luxury goods, and designer clothes can cost thousands of yen.

You can read this post: Things need to know about Japan to make your travel easier, for more information.