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Japan: an introduction
The capital city, Tokyo, is synonymous with neon lights, sushi bars and bustling streets. But between the high-rise buildings, you get the occasional glimpse of a snow-capped Mt Fuji on the outskirts of town.
A high-speed train gets you to Kyoto, the Imperial capital for over 1,000 years. It’s still considered Japan’s cultural centre and is home to Buddhist temples and the most manicured of public gardens. White-sand beaches and palm trees – not what Japan is known for – are found across the Southwest Islands.
Hostel dormitories in the major cities will set you back around £20 a night. Fast food restaurants and supermarkets are an inexpensive way of eating. If you’re staying in one city, you can cut down on travel costs, too. Daily spend: £20-50
Budget business hotels won’t break the bank. You can travel economically by train or domestic airline. And for lunch and dinner, cheaper Japanese restaurants are a good way of eating well for less. Daily spend: £50-100
Tokyo can be one the most expensive cities in the world. There are Western-style 4 and 5-star hotels, plus ryokans – traditional inns – that include 2 meals. The nicest sushi restaurants in town are a little more expensive, and with a high budget you can take high-speed trains all around the country. Daily spend: £300-500
Prices are approximate and subject to change.
Money saving tips for Japan
Look out for 100-yen vending machines. Some vending machines charge 150 yen for drinks, but the cheaper ones are emblazoned with a 100 yen sign across the front.
Avoid Kyoto on weekends. The accommodation prices are always higher so try to visit Monday to Friday.
Take the slower train. If you’re not in a hurry, you can save money by not taking the high-speed trains. You’ll still get to your destination, plus you can see more along the way.
Japan’s currency – the basics
The currency of Japan is the Japanese yen.
Banknotes come in denominations of 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 and 10,000.
The 5- and 50-yen coins are easy to spot – they both have a punched hole through the middle.
The yen is the 3rd-most-traded currency in the foreign exchange market.
The Japanese pronounce yen as en.
The 1-yen coin is made from 100% aluminium and can even float.
The smart way to travel
Keep track of your holiday spending and instantly convert local prices into pounds with our free smartphone apps. There are three handy apps to download for iOS and Android, including Travel Essentials, Travel Money Card Plus & Currency Converter. You can also download an instant currency converter for your Apple Watch.
Get your Japanese currency from us
We make it easy to get Japanese yen before your trip:
Order online for a better rate on foreign currency – minimum order value of £400 applies online
0% commission, competitive rates on up to 70 foreign currencies
Free delivery for branch collection and online orders of £500 or over for home delivery Monday – Friday. For home delivery orders of under £500 there is a small delivery charge of £4.99
Orders placed before 3pm, on a working day, can generally be delivered to your home the next working day. Where an order is placed on a Friday and delivery is required on a Saturday, there will be a charge of £1.50