Among cryptocurrency enthusiasts, Tokyo is often mentioned as one of the most crypto-friendly cities in the world. Recently, it has especially become known for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) adoption, which is a cryptocurrency that has the characteristics of the original Bitcoin (BTC), as intended by the mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin Cash is meant to be used as cash for daily transactions, while Bitcoin (BTC) is not as useful as before with its high transaction fees, etc.
The Bitcoin Cash community in Tokyo is growing. I am an organizer of the Bitcoin Cash Meetup which currently has 1,500+ members. We meet up every Wednesday in Tokyo. I am also a Community Manager at Bitcoin.com and Satoshi’s Angels helping with the community’s growth and adoption of Bitcoin Cash.
Tokyo Survival Channel challenged me to survive 24 hours in Tokyo with only Bitcoin Cash (BCH) — no fiat currency. This was their rule:
All of the things you buy must be paid with BCH, or BCH converted into some kind of e-money. No “fiat” (=Japanese yen) can be used during the challenge. Have a normal city life in Tokyo.
I told them that it would probably be easy to do this, so they upped the challenge to 3 days/72 hours instead. I wasn’t sure if I could really get through 3 whole days without using any fiat currency, but I decided to take the challenge anyway.
I started with lunch. I was in the mood for something healthy, so I went to Dot RAW to have their all-you-can-eat salad, soup and deli (3 kinds of dishes) for 1,100 yen. They also have smoothies so I ordered a tropical green smoothie for 800 yen, too. Maybe that was too many vegetables. I paid with BCH from my mobile BCH wallet directly.
Gluten-Free T’s Kitchen across from Tokyo Midtown is popular for visitors who are looking for gluten-free food in Japan. I feel vegetarian/vegan or gluten-free restaurants are still hard to find in Japan. This cafe also makes desserts that taste so good you can’t tell that they’re gluten-free.
The answer is, yes you can! But indirectly. This is how I did it:
A Japanese exchange Decurret has just released a cool service that lets users charge some of the most popular e-money cards/wallets such as Rakuten Edy, Nanaco, and Au wallet with certain cryptocurrencies (BCH, BTC, LTC, and XRP). Here is their press release for the service.
Being able to top-up these popular e-money cards means you can shop at 400,000+ shops for Edy, 490,000 + shops for Nanaco, and Au wallet can be used for places that accept Visa or Mastercard, so that’s a lot of shops. Opening an account with an exchange takes some time, so asking a friend to buy you “gift points” might be another easy option. Edy and Nanaco are charged with gift points.
I had to print something, so I went to 7-Eleven and used the printer with a Nanaco card which was topped-up using BCH through Decurret. Being able to use a printer with cryptocurrency even indirectly was a very cool experience for me.
Two Dogs Taproom has been a long-time Bitcoin supporter going back to 2013. They accept BCH and BTC now, directly from your Bitcoin wallets.
They also make Bitcoin Cash branded IPA, which is their best seller. Don’t forget to try Coinspice pizza, which is sponsored by crypto news outlet. If you pay with BCH, you get Bitcoin Cash IPA for a happy-hour price. Even though they accept Bitcoin (BTC) as well, I chose to use BCH because it’s much cheaper to use. When I paid the bill with BCH, I spent 0.08 yen which is less than one-tenth of a penny, but if I used BTC, I would have paid 100–200 yen on top of my bill. Two Dogs’ owner told me that nobody really pays with BTC anymore because of its high fees.
Tipping in Japan isn’t common, but it’s fun to tip staff in BCH, so I added another 300 yen on top of my bill.
The night club Jokers is about 20 steps away from Two Dogs Taproom. They accept BCH directly from your BCH wallets.
It was almost 1:30 a.m. and I was getting hungry again… In the late hours of the night, the choices are more limited for a good meal if you want to buy with bitcoin cash (BCH) directly, so I decided to use one of those cards that I topped up with BCH using Decurrent. I ordered a takeout “Summer Chicken Curry” from CoCo Ichibanya with Edy.
In the morning I was a bit worried if I would be able to survive with no fiat for 72 hours, but by the end of the day, I realized there are so many places that I can spend cryptocurrency directly and indirectly.
I was still full from the late night curry from yesterday, so I skipped breakfast.
I need some coffee in the morning, so I went to Family Mart and paid for an iced coffee with Edy. Nice and easy!
I had lunch with my non-crypto job colleagues.
I told them that I couldn’t use fiat, so we decided to go somewhere that accepts Edy or Nanaco. They think I’m a weird Bitcoin nerd who can’t stop talking about Bitcoin all the time, but they’re nice enough to bear with me. We decided to go to Gusto, which is a family restaurant chain in Japan that accepts Edy.
When we were about to order food, however, the waiter told me they only accepted Edy through a QR code. Since I have an iPhone I couldn’t install the Edy app, and Gusto didn’t accept the Edy card. I challenged this situation by convincing one of my colleagues to accept BCH for me so she could pay on my behalf with JPY. The peer-to-peer exchange of Bitcoin was made in a few seconds. I had a hamburger and salad.
I love Natural Lawson because they have so many kinds of high-quality products including organic wine, coffee, snacks, vegetables, etc., in addition to daily essentials all convenience stores have. They even sell organic natto.