Bank of Japan 日本銀行
The Bank of Japan (BOJ) or Nichigin (日銀) is Japan's central bank. The BOJ was created in the early Meiji Period, during Japan's frantic era of westernization and industrialization.
These domain currencies were abolished by a law of 1871 and replaced by the decimal unit of currency - the Yen (¥). The Edo Period domains became prefectures and their mints became so-called "national banks" which nonetheless continued to print money - the new Yen.
However the Satsuma Rebellion of 1877, led by Saigo Takamori in Kyushu, forced the Meiji government to print extra money to finance its military operations against the revolt. This led to inflation, so in 1882 the Bank of Japan was founded to withdraw these surplus bank notes from circulation and to become the sole printer of money in the country.
History of the Bank of Japan Building
The first Bank of Japan was a short distance from where the present building is in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo. The original bank had 55 employees. The building was modeled supposedly on the National Bank of Belgium.
The BOJ moved to its present location in 1896. It was in this area that Kinza, a mint for koban gold coins, was located in the Edo Period. Nearby Ginza was the early mint for silver coins. The architect of the Former Main Building of the Bank of Japan, the oldest part of the Old Building, was Kingo Tatsuno (1854-1919), who also designed nearby Tokyo Station. Tatsuno had previously toured Europe and America to observe and study western styles of public buildings.
The Old Building had Japan's second oldest elevator, cast-iron stairs imported from Britain, watering stations for horses and lovely chandeliers. The Old Main Building is now registered as an Important Cultural Property of Japan.
Nowadays the BOJ consists of 3 buildings: the 10-storey New Building, built in 1973, where present-day banking activities take place, the historic Old Building (see above) and the Annex Building, which holds the Currency Museum (9.30 a.m.-4.30 p.m., closed Mondays) built around the core collection of numismatist Keibun Tanaka (1884-1956), containing coins and notes from Japan and other nations.
The Bank of Japan has a branch in Osaka with the Old Building located in Nakanoshima as well as other branches in Nagoya, Hiroshima and Kyoto.
English Language Tours of the BOJ
Free guided tours in English of the Bank of Japan are available. Reservations must be made at least a week, and up to 3 months, in advance.
The tour begins with an introductory video about the Bank followed by viewing of exhibits of historical interest and the subterranean vault in the old Main Building.
English-language lectures on the role of the Bank and its monetary policy are also available to university and college students.
Day and time of the English-language guided tour: Tuesday, 3:00-4:00 p.m. (There is no tour on a Tuesday that falls on a BOJ holiday.)
Bank of Japan Access
The BOJ is a short walk from these stations:
Mitsukoshi-mae Station on the Hanzomon subway line, exit B1
Mitsukoshi-mae Station on the Ginza Line, exit A5
JR Kanda Station, South Exit
Tokyo Station, Yaesu North Exit
Japan Currency Museums
There are a number of currency museums in Japan dedicated to the history of money in the country.
-Just across the road from the Bank of Japan is the Bank of Japan Currency Museum, a short walk from Mitsukoshi-mae Station B1 Exit on the Tokyo Metro Hanzomon Line or Nihonbashi Station A1 Exit on the Tozai Line.
-The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Money Museum in Nagoya, a short walk from Amagasaka Station on the Meitetsu-Seto Line.
- the Bank of Japan Museum in Otaru, Hokkaido.