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Why do Japanese prefer cash?


Japan is known for its technological advancements and modern lifestyle, yet it is surprising to know that most Japanese still prefer to use cash for their everyday transactions. In this article, we will explore the reasons why cash is still king in Japan.

History of Japanese Currency

To understand why Japanese prefer cash, it is important to look at the history of Japanese currency. Japan has a long tradition of using coins and paper money dating back to the 8th century. The use of cash has been deeply ingrained in the culture and daily life of the Japanese people.

Japanese Snack Box

Cultural Factors

Japanese culture values privacy and modesty. Using cash allows people to keep their financial transactions private and avoid showing off their wealth. It is also considered polite to use exact change when making purchases.

Safety Concerns

Japan is known for its low crime rate, but theft and fraud still occur. Using cash instead of credit cards or digital payments reduces the risk of identity theft or fraud.


Cash is widely accepted in Japan, even in small businesses and rural areas where credit card machines may not be available. It is also easier for older generations who may not be tech-savvy or comfortable with digital payments.

Debt Aversion

Japanese people tend to avoid debt and prefer to live within their means. Using cash allows them to control their spending and avoid accumulating credit card debt.

Reward Programs

Credit card reward programs are not as prevalent in Japan compared to other countries. This makes using cash a more financially beneficial option.

Cultural Significance

The use of cash in Japan has become a symbol of cultural identity and national pride. It reflects the country’s traditional values and way of life.

Government Support

The Japanese government has encouraged the use of cash as a way to promote financial stability and prevent economic crises. They have also implemented measures to discourage cashless transactions, such as charging fees for credit card use.


Japan’s banking and payment infrastructure is designed to support cash transactions. There are over 200,000 ATMs across the country, making it easy for people to withdraw and use cash.

Resistance to Change

Japanese society is known for its resistance to change, and this includes the adoption of new payment methods. Cash has been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, and many people are comfortable with its use.

The Future of Cash in Japan

As technology advances and digital payments become more common, there is a push to move away from cash in Japan. However, it is unlikely that cash will disappear completely any time soon. Its cultural significance and practicality make it a staple in Japanese daily life.


In conclusion, the preference for cash in Japan is deeply rooted in the country’s history, culture, and way of life. While other payment methods may become more prevalent in the future, cash will likely remain a significant part of Japanese society for years to come.

Does Japan prefer cash or card?

While cash is a commonly used form of payment in Japan, credit and debit cards are widely accepted in urban areas. However, smaller establishments such as local restaurants, markets, and rural inns only accept cash. If using a card, it may be necessary to have your name printed on the front to avoid payment issues.

Does Japan prefer cash?

When it comes to payment methods in Japan, cash is still the preferred choice, although the use of credit cards and electronic currency has grown in popularity in recent years. The official currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen (¥).

Why don’t Japanese use credit cards?

In Japan, credit card usage is not the primary means of payment during purchases due to the fear of fraud among the population. Many individuals are hesitant to use credit cards unless it is necessary, as they are concerned about the possibility of credit card scams.

Does Japan accept US dollars?

In Japan, you can exchange foreign currencies such as the U.S. dollar, Euro, and Chinese Yuan Renminbi at different places. It is recommended to carry some cash with you when exploring the country as smaller shops or restaurants may not accept credit cards.

Is stuff in Japan cheaper than the US?

While some perishable items such as Coca Cola, water, and wine may be less expensive, on average, Japanese consumers pay around 15% more for their groceries compared to those in the United States. This was reported on November 2, 2022.

What percentage of Japan is cashless?

Based on its plan, Japan’s cashless payment rate increased from 13.2% in 2010 to 32.5% in 2021. This information was reported as of September 20, 2022.

Despite the many reasons why cash is still popular in Japan, there are also some downsides to its use. For one, carrying large amounts of cash can be risky, especially in crowded areas. It is also inconvenient when making large purchases, such as buying a car or a home.

To address these concerns, the Japanese government has been promoting the use of electronic payments and digital currencies. In fact, Japan is one of the few countries that have legalized cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin. This move is seen as a way to modernize Japan’s financial system and attract global investors.

Some businesses and retailers are also starting to accept digital payments, and there are now mobile payment services available in Japan. These services allow users to pay for goods and services using their smartphones, making transactions more convenient and secure.

Despite these advancements, however, there is still a long way to go before digital payment methods can fully replace cash in Japan. The cultural and practical reasons for using cash are deeply ingrained in society, and it may take some time before people are ready to make the switch.

In conclusion, while the use of cash in Japan may seem old-fashioned to some, it is an important part of the country’s culture and history. It reflects the values of privacy, modesty, and financial stability that are highly valued by the Japanese people. As technology advances, we may see a shift towards digital payments, but for now, cash remains king in Japan.

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