Tokyo Re-Discovery

Giving an Offering - How Much is Relevant?

Jun 21 2015

Follow Me

Keep 5 Yen to bring luck!

Make a play on words 

How much should you throw to an offertory box in a shrine or temple? 

First, you need to be reminded that the money is not for asking Shinto gods/ Buddha to fulfil your wish. Rather, it's for you to express your appreciation for the happiness you have received. You don't need to prepare a large sum because you've been extremely lucky! 

Traditionally in Japan, the sum has been decided based on the play on words. 
= 5 (Go) yen: for good relationships (Go-En in Japanese)
= 21 yen: for a happy marriage/long lasting romance as 21 is the number indivisible evenly
= 10,000 yen (Ichi Man En): for harmony (En-Man in Japanese)

A bad choice? --- 500 yen coins.
A coin is Kouka in Japanese: the same sound as an effect/ a good result. Because 500 yen is the highest-valued coin, offering one will not bring greater Kouka... do you agree?

You may also like to throw 666 yen, the sum of all the coins issued in Japan, to bring you luck!

Follow Me


Acquainted with high-end spots and products in Tokyo as he welcomes foreign guests all the time. Once he starts talking about traditional festivals, manners and urban legends, no one can stop!

  • Souvenirs: Must-buys in Tokyo
  • Haven in Tokyo
  • Best buys at 100 Yen Shop
  • Tokyo Street Corner Shrine
  • Tokyo Yokocho Alleys