Transform Money with Pocket Change

Turn coins into home currency before leaving Japan

By Serena Ogawa    - 3 min read

Many travelers these days opt for digital currencies, credit cards, and virtual payment systems, but in many countries, cash is still king. And that’s still true of Japan, especially in the countryside. But when you go home with a pocket full of foreign coins, it can feel like a waste of money. Why not turn that back into cash you can use? Pocket Change can help you.

Big things have small beginnings. Particularly in Japan, with coins ranging in value from a US penny to 5 USD. It's those pockets full of coins, slowly accumulating on international trips, that can spell big money.

Easy to use! (Photo: Pocket Change)
Easy to use! (Photo: Pocket Change)

Unfortunately, most exchange outlets don't accept coins, so they're essentially worthless or become forgotten trinkets in junk drawers. Research shows the vast majority of people hoard, leave, or even throw away their leftover foreign cash. But, add it all up and it'd equal much more than you'd expect.

In Japan, there's a saying: "Chiri mo tsumoreba yama to naru" (塵も積もれば、山 となる) it means "even specks of dust become mountains." Pocket Change helps you make that mountain a reality. The machine accepts your leftover foreign coins and bills-no matter the value-and converts them to a digital currency you can use back home at a better rate than other currency exchange.


Brands available on Pocket Change include Applebees, Hotels.com, JB Hi-Fi, Tesco, Nike, Ticketmaster, Suica, Uber, Amazon, Viber, and Apple, with more rolling out by the day. Using the machine is simple and intuitive. Select your home country, offload the currency you want to convert and select the type of digital cash you wish to receive. You can even choose to donate the money to one of many affiliate charities.

Easy to charge! (Photo: Pocket Change)
Easy to charge! (Photo: Pocket Change)

Pocket Change kiosks are located throughout Japan, from train stations and airports to shopping outlets and game centers. Just keep an eye out for the bright green box!

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Serena Ogawa

Serena Ogawa @serena.ogawa

Travel Editor for Japan Travel by day, novel-writing cat lady by night.