When you are coming to Japan, you must have enough knowledge about money in Japanese. To be skillful enough on how to count money in Japanese would avoid mistakes as well as confusion. This article will be a great start for you. Surely, by reading this article, you can get everything you have to know about Japanese money. Whenever you go traveling around Japan, you will need these pieces of information.
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1. Japanese Currency
In the first place, please remember that the official Japanese currency is Yen. The phrase, Yen comes from the Japanese Character (Kanji) 円 (えん, en) that has a literal meaning round. Please see the detailed information on the Japanese currency below.
- Japanese Currency: Yen
- In Japanese: 円 (en)
- Symbol: ￥
- International Code: JPY or JP¥
For your information, the Japanese currency is the top third-most traded currency in the foreign exchange market. Where the 1st and 2nd places are the United States Dollar (US$) and the Euro (€).
In addition, previous Japan’s currency before Yen was Mon. Due to the instability of Japan’s financial condition at that time, the Japanese government decided to replace the Mon currency with the Yen as we know it until now. The Mon currency, which has been used since the Edo period, was considered less stable as a medium of exchange because it does not have a clear standard of exchange.
2. Money in Japanese
After knowing the Japanese Currency, in this section, you need to know what is money in Japanese. Do you how to call “money” in Japanese? I am going to explain it to you. Japanese surely would say money as “Okane” or “Kane” in the daily conversation. The Kanji of money in Japanese is as follows:
- 御金 or お金 (おかね): Okane, a noun with the honorific prefix O (Formal)
- 金 (かね): Kane, a noun without the honorific prefix. (Casual)
The Kanji 金 (Kane) has another way to pronounce as kin, which means gold or metal broadly.
3. Banknotes and Coins of Japan
In Japan, there are 1,000 yen, 2,000 yen, 5,000 yen, as well as 10,000 yen banknotes in circulation nowadays. Not only the banknotes, but you would also find the coins in one-yen, 5-yen, 10-yen, 50-yen, 100-yen, and 500-yen as the denominations. Slightly different from the other countries around the world that use the president or leader of their country as the currency icon. Contrarily, in Japan, the Japanese use Nobel writers, novelists, educational figures to respect and acknowledge their legacy as currency icons. How to say the number of these amounts of money in Japanese? Please look at the following table.
|Amounts of Money||Japanese||English|
|千円 (せんえん): (is-) sen en||One thousand yen ~ $10 USD|
|(2) 2,000¥||二千円 (にせんえん): ni sen en||Two thousand yen ~ $20 USD|
|(3) 5,000¥||五千円 (ごせんえん): go sen en||Five thousand yen ~ $50 USD|
|(4) 10,000¥||一万円 (いちまんえん): Ichi man en||Ten thousand yen ~ $100 USD|
|一円 (いちえん): Ichi en||One cent ~ $0,008 USD|
|(6) Five-yen||五円 (ごえん): Go en||Five cent ~ $0,043 USD|
|(7) 10-yen||十円 (じゅうえん): Jyu en||Ten cent ~ $0,087 USD|
|(8) 50-yen||五十円 (ごじゅうえん): Go jyu en||50 cent ~ $0,43 USD|
|(9) 100-yen||百円 (ひゃくえん): Hyaku en||Hundred yen ~ $0,87 USD|
|(10) 500-yen||五百円 (ごひゃくえん): Go hyaku en||Five hundred yen ~ $4,33 USD|
Each money has a specific and very beautiful design. The size of Japanese banknotes is a bit larger than US banknotes. Japanese are very careful to keep their money to be always fresh, clean, and not wrinkled inside of their pocket. Please look at the following pictures to take a glance at the Japanese banknotes and coins.
4. How to Count Money in Japanese
In order to deepen your understanding of how to count money in Japanese, please see the numbering in Japanese for your basic. As you can remember the number in Japanese, then this will not be difficult.
4.1 One and Two-digit Numbers
To begin this basic learning, we are going to start counting one, two as well as three-digit numbers. Please see the following table.
|List of Number||Japanese|
|0 (Zero)||ゼロ: Zero or Rei|
|1 (One)||一 (いち) : Ichi|
|2 (Two)||二 (に): Ni|
|3 (Three)||三 (さん): San|
|4 (Four)||四 (し or よん) : Shi or Yon|
|5 (Five)||五 (ご): Go|
|6 (Six)||六 (ろく): Roku|
|7 (Sichi)||七 (しち or なな): Shichi or Nana|
|8 (Eight)||八 (はち): Hachi|
|9 (Nine)||九 (きゅう): Kyuu or Kuu|
|10 (Ten)||十 (じゅう): Jyuu or Juu|
The following is the 2-digit number. Basically, we just need to add Jyuu or Juu which means ten in Japanese after the first digit number. Look below!
|List of Number||Japanese|
|20 (Twenty)||二十 (にじゅう): Ni Jyuu or Ni Juu|
|30 (Thirty)||三十 (さんじゅう): San Jyuu|
|40 (Forty)||四十 (よんじゅう): Yon Jyuu|
|50 (Fifty)||五十 (ごじゅう): Go Jyuu|
|60 (Sixty)||六十 (ろくじゅう): Roku Jyuu|
|70 (Seventy)||七十 (ななじゅう): Nana Jyuu|
|80 (Eighty)||八十 (はちじゅう): Hachi Jyuu|
|90 (Ninety)||九十 (きゅうじゅう): Kyuu Jyuu|
|100 (Hundred)||百 (ひゃく): Hyaku|
4.2 Three-digit Number
Next, for the three-digit number, we can use a similar concept as well as above. Since a hundred in Japanese is 百 (ひゃく) Hyaku, then we can add hyaku after the first digit number. Please see the following table.
|List of Number||Japanese|
|200 (Two hundred)||二百 (にひゃく): Ni hyaku|
|300 (Three hundred)||三百 (さんびゃく): San byaku *exception|
|400 (Four hundred)||四百 (よんひゃく): Yon hyaku|
|500 (Five hundred)||五百 (ごひゃく): Go hyaku|
|600 (Six hundred)||六百 (ろっぴゃく): Roppyaku *exception|
|700 (Seven hundred)||七百 (ななひゃく): Nana hyaku|
|800 (Eight hundred)||八百 (はっぴゃく): Happyaku *exception|
|900 (Nine hundred)||九百 (きゅうひゃく): Kyuu hyaku|
|1000 (One Thousand)||一千円 or 千円 (いっせんえん or せんえん): Issen en or Sen en|
In this part, let’s try the real example. Let’s assume that you buy groceries at the store and your total bill is 1,876¥. How to say it in Japanese?
The answer is: 1,876¥ ~ 一千八百七十六円 (いっせん はっぴゃく ななじゅう ろく えん)
Issen happyaku nana jyuu roku en!
That’s not difficult, isn’t it?
4.3 Four-digit Numbers
In the case of a four-digit number, we just need to add sen basically after the basic number. Please look at the following table.
|List of Numbers||Japanese|
|2,000 (Two thousand)||二千円 (にせんえん): Ni sen en|
|3,000 (Three thousand)||三千円 (さんぜんえん): San zen en *exception|
|4,000 (Four thousand)||四千 (よんせん): Yon sen|
|5,000 (Five thousand)||五千 (ごせん): Go sen|
|6,000 (Six thousand)||六千 (ろくせん): Roku sen|
|7,000 (Seven thousand)||七千 (ななせん): Nana sen|
|8,000 (Eight thousand)||八千 (はっせん): Has sen *exception|
|9,000 (Nine thousand)||九千 (きゅうせん): Kyuu sen|
|10,000 (Ten thousand)||一万 (いちまん): Ichi man|
Now, let’s try the real example again. Let’s assume you need to pay your electricity bill of 12,867¥ for the last winter. Do you know how to pronounce this amount in Japanese?
The answer is 12,867¥ ~ 一万二千八百六十七円 (いちまん にせん はっぴゃく ろくじゅう なな えん)
It is Ichi man happyaku roku jyuu nana en. Isn’t it easy?
Actually, there is still more digit that we need to talk about regarding the money in Japanese. Unfortunately, for this article, this basic would be more than enough for the first step for you to learn. Let’s meet again in the next article for a more comprehensive and advanced discussion about how to count money in Japanese with five or more digit amounts.
5. Cash in Japanese
As you might notice previously, although Japan has a very well reputation as an advanced country, cash payments are still a favorite for most Japanese. It cannot be denied that cash is still very popular, especially for daily transactions. In this section, I would like to share with you how to express “cash” in Japanese. It is 現金 (げんきん): Genkin. Please remember this Kanji because wherever you go you would deal a lot with this payment method. Having genkin as well as noticing the word 現金 surely will help you most. Do not forget this very important word wherever you are in Japan.
As long as you have cash, everything will be okay. You can get cash in most of the ATM spots in Japan. You can get it in a tourist-friendly area, of course with English available instruction ATM. Unfortunately, you need to prepare coins when you get on the bus. If you want to use IC Card as another option for payment, that would be easier as well. You can get IC Card at the station.
Last but not least, we can wrap this article as the following points:
- The official Japanese currency is ¥ (Yen).
- Japanese call money as “お金 or Okane“.
- In Japan, there are banknotes and coins that circulating with the particular nominals.
- Cash in Japanese is “現金 or Genkin“.
I would like to thank you very much for spending your precious time reading my article. When you have leisure time, I would like to recommend you to read our rich lesson article that you can find here. There you can learn Japanese with very easy concepts. Within 10 minutes, you can master practical Japanese obviously.