Currency in Japan

About to jet set to Japan?

Currency is an important part of what you need to organise. The official currency in Japan is the Japanese Yen (JPY) and we've shared some tips and tricks on and how to get the best deal on your conversion from NZD to JPY.

Before you head to Japan, learn about:

  • What Japanese notes and coins look like
  • Can you use New Zealand Dollars in Japan?
  • How to buy Japanese Yen before your trip
  • How to buy currency when you get to Japan

What Japanese notes and coins look like


Japanese Yen notes are very different to our currency in New Zealand. They are made up of:

¥1,000, ¥2,000 (very rare), ¥5,000, ¥10,000

Japanese Yen (JPY)


There are quite a few coins in Japanese currency. The coins in circulation in Japan are:

¥1, ¥5, ¥10, ¥50

Can you use New Zealand Dollars in Japan?

No, you can't.

You cannot use New Zealand dollars in Japan. Just like you can't use Yen here! The rest of this article has some information about how you can convert currency for your holiday.

You can find out the exchange rate between the NZD and JPY with our currency converter, here.

Is it cheaper to convert currency in New Zealand or Japan?

Because exchange rates change so frequently, and every provider offers different rates it's hard to say the cheapest way and place to exchange currency.

When you're travelling to a place like Japan, it can be difficult to exchange New Zealand cash when you're there. You might find it easier to exchange USD than NZD, but this means that you're converting currency twice.

Both in New Zealand and in Japan, steer clear of exchanging currency at the airport. On both ends, the rates will be much worse than in the city centres.

To find the best places to buy JPY, you can read our guide here.

How to buy Japanese Yen before your trip


This is a convenient way to buy currency but you need some time. You can choose where to pick the order up from, and in some instances can get home delivery. When you order with Travelex, you can choose to order cash, a prepaid Travelex Money Card or both!

Use code CURRENCYSHOP to get a better JPY rate with Travelex.

Money Changers

This is the best way to get currency quickly. You will find them in major shopping centres and towns. Our tip, is that the exchange rates are better in your city than what you'd find further out. So it can be worth going there if you're exchanging more than $2,000.

Find the best currency exchange in your states city here.


Most banks do exchange currency. The issue is that they often have high fees, and don't offer very good rates. It's always better to compare rates elsewhere before deciding, but as a standard rule it's best to avoid your bank. Especially for a popular currency like JPY.


Yes, you can buy currency at the airport. But that doesn't mean you should. While it's convenient, it's also very expensive. If you have run out of time before your trip, it's definitely better to buy currency when you get to Japan, or use your Kiwi debit card instead.

How to buy currency in Japan

If you decide to buy your currency when you get to Japan, the first thing you'll need to do is make sure you have New Zealand dollars in cash. This way you can exchange it when you get there.

Similar to in doing it in New Zealand, it's best to avoid buying currency at the airport and the bank, and better to do it in one of the major city centres.

You can use this link to find Travelex stores in Japan.

Oscar Murray
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Last updated
July 20th, 2021