With the recent addition of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies payments on ZenMarket, it got the team here curious. Where can you spend Bitcoin in Japan? Is Bitcoin legal in Japan?
With decades of experience living in Japan and a little bit of research, the team here at ZenMarket put together a list of places you may want to check out if you plan to spend your hard mined crypto coins on your next visit to Japan.
But first... Here are 2 questions you definitely want to know the answers to if you plan to try to spend cryptocurrency here in Japan.
Is Bitcoin legal in Japan?
In 2017, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were officially recognised as a valid form of payment method in Japan. However, cryptocurrency is classified as an "asset" and NOT a legally recognized currency or legal tender.
What does this mean for you? Not much if you just plan to come here on vacation. All you need to know is that cryptocurrency is considered an "asset" or "property" in Japan and not currency.
Imagine if you will, the Japanese government decided it was ok to purchase goods using Pokemon cards. That's great and all, but a Japanese bank will not accept your shiny Pokemon cards as a form of downpayment on a mortgage... even if, it's a Pikachu illustrator card worth $233,000...
There is a little bit of confusion surrounding this topic on the web, so we hope that cleared things up for you.
So Bitcoin is legal in Japan, however...
Is Bitcoin accepted in Japan?
The answer to this question is, "Yes, BUT..."
You may be surprised to find out that Japan is a predominantly cash-based society, many places in Japan still don't accept card - nevermind Bitcoin. Yes, cashless payment options have seen a rise in recent years, and yes, you will find stores in Japan that accept cryptocurrency like Bitcoin Cash (see examples listed below). However, despite Japan's official recognition of crypto, your options for spending Bitcoin here are still very limited.
Don't worry though, the list of places below will help you get the most out of your time, and crypto, here in Japan.
- Bic Camera
- Hackers Bar
- Dot Raw
- T's Kitchen
Bonus - ZenMarket
1. Bic Camera - Electronics
Bic Camera deserves its own article.
It is an absolute must-visit to those of you looking to spend your crypto as they have been accepting crypto payments since 2017!
Without a doubt, Bic Camera is one of the biggest and widely available places to spend cryptocurrency in Japan!
Bic Camera is the third-largest electronics and home appliance retailer in Japan, but you can often find other products, such as alcohol, depending on the store that you visit. Currently, there are over 40 stores located throughout Japan and many stores offer a huge selection of goods to choose from.
Since Bic Camera is one of the most important places to visit on this list, here are some handy tips that you should know.
- Avoid using RBF (Replace By Fee)
If you use RBF at the counter, you may run into the problem of Bic Camera not getting notified that you actually made the payment to them. To avoid this problem, confirm whether your wallet of choice has an RBF option and check to see if it is set to "always RBF" or "never RBF" beforehand.
- Confirm your transaction to the Network.
Many of you when travelling Japan might not have mobile data or may find yourself out of wifi range when shopping. Double, no triple check, you have an internet connection when trying to pay for goods.
Some wallets are known for "confirming" your transaction even though you don't have an internet connection. This will result in an uncomfortable standoff with you and the Bic Camera employee who will be unable to hand over your item since they are unable to confirm the transaction. Worst case scenario, you will end up paying for your item in Yen at the counter, only to pay for the item again when your phone reconnects to the internet and then really sends the payment to Bic Camera.
Don't pay for things twice - check your internet.
There is a good chance the employee at the Bitcoin payment counter knows nothing about the world of cryptocurrency, they only know how to take payments in the way they have been trained. They may mistakenly insist that you need to use the BitFlyer app to pay with crypto, but this is not true. Any wallet will work as long as BitFlyer accepts the payment. On the rare chance you run into problems, just have a little bit of patience with them and it will all work out.
If the above raised some concerns for you, don't worry. The reality is that 9 times out of 10, as long as you have an up to date wallet and an internet connection, the entire experience of paying with Bitcoin is typically hassle-free. Not only that, but some Bic Camera stores have a dedicated cashier line for crypto payments, so enjoy never having to wait in line!
If he can do it, so can you.
If you are still struggling to picture what paying with Bitcoin in Bic Camera would look like, then here is a video that shows you not only what you can expect to find in Bic Camera stores, but also what it is like to pay with crypto in them.
2. Hackers Bar - Evening Drinks
Tokyo is world-famous for its nightlife, but those of you looking to enjoy a night out with crypto coins will need to check out Hackers bar.
Hackers bar is a specialist venue that accepts cryptocurrency payments such as Bitcoin. However, what makes it truly unique are the people that you can find there - you don't give your bar the name "Hacker" unless you are trying to attract a certain kind of people.
Although you're unlikely to run into any real cybercriminals, you'll find Blockchain and friendly crypto enthusiasts aplenty! The relaxed atmosphere and tech-centric bar is a great place to share a drink and chat with like-minded individuals from around the world.
If you're still struggling to picture Hackers Bar in your mind? Check out this video that showcases the inside of Hackers bar.
3. DOT RAW - Cafe
Finding a good vegan place to eat in Tokyo can be just as difficult as finding a store that will accept your Bitcoins, stumbling upon a cafe that does both - now that's hard.
Thankfully, Dot Raw (.Raw) located in Tokyo's Roppongi district does just that! The vegan-friendly cafe is a great place to stop by for lunch if you are in the area and want to make payments with cryptocurrency.
They also organise morning yoga classes in both Japanese and English on weekdays and weekends.
Highly recommend picking up one of their smoothies or green juices if you get the chance.
4. Gluten-Free T's Kitchen - Restaurant
Regardless of whether you prefer gluten-free or not, T's Kitchen is a fantastic place for those of you wanting to try traditional Japanese dishes that taste amazing, without the guilt of gluten.
They have a wide selection of Japanese dishes with each option being well labelled in case customers have additional food allergies. They may be best known for their gyoza and dumplings, as it is normally pretty hard to find a good gluten-free version of these popular Asian dishes.
T's Kitchen is located in, you guessed it, Roppongi - the Bitcoin capital of Japan. The restaurant can be easy to miss on the main road as it is located on the second floor, so be on the lookout for signs.
Even if you don't have time to make your way over to them, they can come to you using UberEasts, but you will have to pay with Japanese Yen if you plan on getting something delivered.
You can see the inside of the store for yourself and what it has to offer in the video below.
5. Yukizaki - Luxury Watches
If you are looking to pick up a timepiece as a memorable souvenir from your trip to Japan, then look no further than Yukizaki. Yikizaki, or sometimes referred to as "Gem Castle", is a high-end watch and jewellery seller that accepts Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a form of payment.
With stores located throughout Japan, with their main store being located in Tokyo, they offer new and second-hand high-quality accessories.
Don't just take our word for it, see what Floyd Mayweather has to say about Yukizaki Tokyo.
6. Mint - Hair Salon
If you find yourself in Tokyo and are in need of an English-friendly hairdresser that accepts Bitcoin, look no further than Mint.
Located in the Ebisu district, and experienced in styling different types of hair from across the world, Mint offers high-quality services for both men and women using organic colorings and shampoos.
Mint is possibly best known for being one of the first hair salons in Tokyo that offers private rooms for Muslim ladies looking to get their hair done and has a space set aside for those that need to do salat during their time at Mint.
If you would like to take advantage of their private room, you will need to make a reservation in advance so they can prepare it for you.
7. Jinanbou - Ramen
No real trip to Japan is considered complete until you have had yourself a bowl of ramen!
Jinanbou is located in Tokyo's Nogata area and directly accepts Bitcoin Cash as a form of payment for their delicious ramen offerings.
Jinanbou has some great soy-sauce tonkatsu ramen options that can be made to have either a lighter or richer flavour depending on your preference.
Watch the video below to meet the restaurant owner as he explains why he started to accept crypto as a form of payment.
8. Mezzo Tokyo - Nightlife
Mezzo is a great place for those looking to rest your feet when you find yourself out and dancing in Tokyo. With its easy drop-in atmosphere, Mezzo aims to be the answer to the question ‘where shall we go next?' and is a fantastic place to visit if you are looking for a place that accepts Bitcoin!
Mezzo is divided into two floors, downstairs and their exclusive upstairs VIP area which requires you to enter a pin code you receive when making a reservation - don't worry, you'll find Mezzo's staff to be pretty English friendly if you don't know any Japanese.
Mezzo has both local and international DJs performing and often puts on unique music events, which are great for anyone looking for something different.
Check out their Tiger collaboration event from 2019.
Bonus: ZenMarket - Online Shopping
Can't come to Japan? Don't worry, ZenMarket can help you with getting whatever you need from Japan all with your cryptocurrency of choice!
ZenMarket is an online shopping service that allows people living outside of Japan to order exclusive Japanese goods and have them shipped internationally to your front door.
With over 5 years of experience exporting millions of Japanese goods internationally, ZenMarket can send a piece of Japan to you, even if you are unable to come here yourself.
Acting as your very own personal shopper in Japan, ZenMarket now accepts crypto payments through CoinGate offering you a convenient way to spend Bitcoin that is safe and secure.
You may be surprised to see just how easy it is to use crypto with ZenMarket. Check out all the details on how cryptocurrencies work with us by clicking the link and checking out our helpful guide - Using cryptocurrencies on ZenMarket
There are even more places in you can spend your cryptocurrencies of choice in Tokyo, but these are just some of our favourites.
As always, if you can't come to Japan yourself, ZenMarket is here to help - let us know if you need anything!
Who is ZenMarket?