Tokugawa Shogunato: Origin Of Yen

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Tokugawa Shogunato: Origin of Yen


The Japanese seem reluctant to abandon the old customs, especially in some provinces and in small populations. A clear example is the use of tickets and coins in Japan, one of the countries in which money is most used. In order to offer a small guide to organize a future trip to Japan, we wanted to make this short article. In it we will explain the origin of the Yen as the official currency of the country and the different types of bills and coins, as well as its correct use and current value.


The origin of Yen:

The yen, whose word means circular object, appears officially during the Meiji restoration.  The Government, through the law of the new currency approved in 1871, formalizes the use of Yen as a method to achieve the country’s monetary stability during this time of changes. With the end of the Tokugawa shogunate, the establishment of the new Yen monetary system ends the use of the mon, a Cobré -based currency.  

 After a devaluation suffered in 1873 by still conserving a silver base against other monetary systems based on gold, the yen changed its base. In this way he was able to face other coins with gold base such as the American penny. This fact has given rise, over the years, to be one of the most valued currencies in the currency market, after the US dollar and the euro.

Curiosities of tickets and coins in Japan

At present we can find tickets of 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000 yen. The first ticket was printed in the National Impress Office in 1877. This prints over a year about three billion tickets to the Bank of Japan. In fact, it is the Bank of Japan itself who is responsible for recycling the tickets in poor condition. These are cut and recycled to be used as recycled paper for products such as toilet paper.

In Japan we can find coins of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 yen. Its value has increased in recent years due to the increase in consumption tax from 5 % to 8 %. Hence both the government and society itself give so important to the use of money in cash. Other clear examples of the use of currency in the daily life of the Japanese are found in the temples and sanctuaries. 

 It is normal to give an offering for the Kami to listen to the prayers of their faithful. The most used currency is 5 yen, but on days indicated as in New Year we can find even donations with 10 tickets.000 yen. On the other hand, there are establishments and vending machines where the price is just that of a currency. From 100 yen stores, pre -cooked 500 yen lunches that we can find in any supermarket and other services such as laundry, where everything works exclusively with coins.

The falsification of a currency is punishable with more than 3 years in prison. In addition, the use of bills and coins can also carry mild prison sentences. In the Museum of Currency of the Bank of Japan you can enjoy free of charge to an exhibition dedicated to currencies and counterfeit tickets.

Useful tips for your next trip to Japan

Although in Japan we can use our credit card to move around the country, this payment method is not deeply rooted among the Japanese population. Normal general prefer or pay directly in cash or make use of cards cards. Two of the most used are pasmo and suic.

Similarly, if you plan to visit during the trip less urban cities and towns, it is recommended to always carry money in metallic. We can also use ATMs. In fact, some 24-hour stores such as 7-Eleven have this service. Likewise, it is advisable to ask our bank what the commission will be to use this type of services.


To avoid this type of commissions we can also use companies such as Ria Currency Exchange or Global Exchange to change money before making the trip. A euro is currently equivalent to about 130 yen. In Japan it is not customary to tip after a service. If we leave the table, they will believe that we have forgotten and try to return it to us. Likewise, within Japanese society, hobbread is not well seen so they will not negotiate and will always give us the exact change, however small. For education, even if only a yen, we must take it.

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