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The 500 yen coin (五百円硬貨, Gohyaku-en kōka) is the largest coin denomination of the Japanese yen. The 500 yen coin was first minted in 1982, with the current design being introduced in 2000. The coin ultimately replaced the 500 yen paper note.

Five hundred yen
Value500 Japanese yen
Mass7.00 g
Diameter26.5 mm
Thickness2 mm
EdgeHelically reeded edge
72% Cu
20% Zn
8% Ni
Years of minting1982–present
Catalog numbery125
500 yen reverse.jpg
Design date2000
500 yen obverse.jpg
DesignDenomination with Bamboo and tachibana
Design date2000



The 500 yen coin was first minted in 1982 to replace the 500 yen note, which continued to be used alongside it until April 1, 1994. Soon, it became the victim of counterfeiting, as neighboring South Korea introduced its 500 won coin the same year and could be easily modified to the exact weight of the ¥500 coin. As the ₩500 coin was roughly one-tenth the value of the ¥500 coin, these modified coins could be used at vending machines to produce a profit.[1] The ₩500 coin was slightly heavier than the ¥500 coin, whilst having exactly the same diameter and metal alloy, meaning that counterfeiters would use them as slugs by drilling small holes on the surface of the coin to reduce its weight and fool vending machines which relied on weight to identify the coins.[2]

A new design was minted in 2000. Zinc was added to give it a distinctive electrical conductivity, its weight was reduced 0.2 grams, and a latent image was added to the zeros on the obverse. When viewed at an angle, "500円" is printed vertically in each zero. When viewed at a different angle, a bar can be seen running down the inside of each zero. This bar is narrower than the "500円" text.[3] Microprinting reading "Nippon" is found on both the obverse and reverse of the coin.[4] Within the span of a few years, vending machines were replaced by new models by manufacturers which verified coins based on electrical conductivity; while the old style 500 yen coins are still in circulation, many vending machines no longer accept them.

In 2019, the Bank of Japan unveiled a new version of the 500 yen coin. Now a bi-metallic coin, with a Copper-nickel center plug and a Nickel-brass outer ring (the two compositions used in commemorative bi-metallic 500 yen coins), this version includes mirco-lettering and two alternating types of reeding on the edge of the coin. It is set to be issued in 2021.[5]

Despite these anti-counterfeiting measures, the coin is still the target of counterfeiters in Japan.


Circulation figuresEdit


The following are circulation dates which cover Emperor Hirohito's reign. With a mintage of 2,775,000 coins, 1987 is a key date to the series, this coin is worth about twice its face value in extremely fine condition.[6] The dates below correspond with the 57th to the 64th year (last) of his reign. Coins for this period will all begin with the Japanese symbol 昭和 (Shōwa).

  • Japanese coins are read with a left to right format:
"Emperors name" → "Number representing year of reign" → "Year" (Ex: 昭和 → 五十八 → 年).
Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage (thousands)[7]
57th 五十七 1982 300,000
58th 五十八 1983 240,000
59th 五十九 1984 342,850
60th 六十 1985 97,150
61st 六十一 1986 49,960
62nd 六十二 1987 2,775
63rd 六十三 1988 148,218
64th 六十四 1989 16,042


The following are circulation dates in the reign of the current Emperor. Akihito was crowned in 1989, which is marked with a 元 symbol on the coin as a one-year type. Coins for this period all begin with the Japanese symbol 平成 (Heisei).

  • Japanese coins are read with a left to right format:
"Emperors name" → "Number representing year of reign" → "Year" (Ex: 平成 → 五 → 年).
Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage (thousands)[7]
1st 1989 192,852
2nd 1990 159,953
3rd 1991 170,120
4th 1992 88,130
5th 1993 132,240
6th 1994 105,772
7th 1995 182,869
8th 1996 99,213
9th 1997 173,090
10th 1998 214,608
11th 十一 1999 165,120
12th 十二 2000 595,969
13th 十三 2001 608,051
14th 十四 2002 504,661
15th 十五 2003 438,405
16th 十六 2004 356,903
17th 十七 2005 345,030
18th 十八 2006 381,593
19th 十九 2007 409,903
20th 二十 2008 432,811
21st 二十一 2009 343,003
22nd 二十二 2010 406,905
23rd 二十三 2011 301,936
24h 二十四 2012 267,211
25th 二十五 2013 137,892
26th 二十六 2014 167,013
27th 二十七 2015 143,004
28th 二十八 2016 221,064
29th 二十九 2017 426,327
30th 三十 2018 286,192
31st 三十一 2019 TBD


The following are circulation dates for the future Emperor. Crown Prince Naruhito's accession to the Crysanthemum Throne took place on May 1, 2019. Coins for this period will begin with the Japanese symbol 令和 (Reiwa). The inaugural year coin 2019 will be marked 元 (first) and is likely to debut after summer. [8]

Year of reign Japanese date Gregorian date Mintage
1st 2019 TBD


  1. ^ Metropolis [Tokyo] Money Talks: Short Changed
  2. ^ The Contemporary "Won" Coins of the Republic of Korea (1966 - Present) Dokdo Research ( Retrieved on 2017-05-05.
  3. ^ Japan Mint: Analyzing 500 yen Nickel-brass Coin
  4. ^ "Micro Characters on New 500-Yen Coin Found !!". Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
  5. ^ 日本銀行券の改刷および 500 円貨の改鋳について Bank of Japan ( Retrieved on 2019-04-09.
  6. ^ "Japan 500 Yen Y#87 Yr.57(1982)-Yr.64(1989)". Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  7. ^ a b "年銘別貨幣製造枚数" (PDF) (in Japanese). Japan Mint. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  8. ^ "Reiwa coins to debut summer 2019".