Calculating the Yen in Japanese eyes! How to know if it is expensive or cheap?

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I think everyone knows how to convert Yen (円) to Real (R$). Just go to Google and search 100 yen or 2000 yen and the value will appear in Reais. In this article I don't want to talk about it, I just want to give a hint of what I do to understand the Japanese economy. In the article we will really know if a product is expensive or cheap.

Today I was watching a video of the CrazyJapanTV and I decided to share what I always do to calculate the value of the Yen, and to know whether or not a Product is cheap in the eyes of the Japanese. Inside the supermarket I always admired the price of the products, but I wondered if the product was expensive or cheap.

If you take the value in Yen and convert it to dollars, of course the product will be expensive in our eyes. They earn approx 5,000 to 8,000 Reais of salary. And in Brazil you get only R$ 900. So we will teach in this article 2 calculations to arrive at an approximate value of the product seen by Japanese eyes, and the real value it would cost if the Japanese salary were the same as ours.

Economic exact value

The economic exact calculation is a calculation made to know how much such a product would cost if the minimum wage is the same as in our country.

Why do that? People often say that the Japan's cost of living is high and they like to say that a certain product is too expensive. For example they take a single manga fruit) It costs approximately 300 Yen that converted to reais would be R$ 7.00 is quite expensive isn't it?

But in the eyes of the Japanese? Do you really think they think they're paying R$ 7.00 on a single fruit? For them, they are only paying 300 Yen.

They earn between 150,000 to 300,000 Yen in salary which is equivalent to 7,000 Reais. With 7,000 Reais you can buy 1,000 Mangos (fruit). Of course, even if a manga in Brazil costs 0.50 Centavos with R$ 900 minimum wage, you can buy 1800 manga.

That's what you should understand, you can't say if a product is expensive or cheap in Japan without taking into account the country's salary and economy.

To know if the product in Japan is expensive or cheap, we have to convert the Japanese salary to the Brazilian salary. For this we can take 300,000 and divide by 320 which gives approximately R$ 900 which is a Brazilian minimum wage. (Or divide by a number that approximates R$ 900 or the value you want to compare.)

we choose 300.000 Yen which was a result of a salary of 1,300 yen per hour and 230 hours of work in the month. There are people who don't even get 1,000 yen an hour.

So, a manga that costs 300 yen (R$ 7.00) in the eyes of the Japanese, taking into account the salary they earn, is simply 0.93 cents.

It doesn't have to be exactly divided by 320, you can use another calculation and salary value for both.

The amounts can vary, there are people who don't earn even 200,000 yen, if you want to do the calculation using 200,000 yen as a base salary, please do the division, until you have an approximate Brazilian salary that you want to compare, and use the division as base.

Calculating on Other Salaries:

Maybe you think that 300,000 yen per month is not the correct basis to calculate it, so here we have the amount you should divide the product for each salary, which matches 1000 Brazilian reais.

  • 100,000 yen (Divide by 110)
  • 150,000 yen (Divide by 160)
  • 200,000 yen (Divide by 210)
  • 200,000 yen (Divide by 260)
  • 400,000 yen (Divide by 420)

Quick Calculation

This method that I use as soon as I see the value of a product in the window is not exact and not very logical, but it is quick and practical. This is just a suggestion. To avoid this confusing calculation, and quickly calculate the value of a product and know if it is expensive or cheap. You can just take the value in Yen and put a comma in it.

Example: Manga 300 yen (R$ 7.00) / Quick Calculation = 300 円 = R$ 3.00

You will be doing the same calculation as the previous one. However, consider that the Brazilian minimum wage is 3,000 reais. So if you earn approximately that in Brazil, this calculation is perfect for you.

The article is still halfway through, but we recommend also reading:


Below we have a table for you to understand better, what a Japanese person thinks he is paying for his products with his high salary.

We have the Product Name, its approximate value, its approximate value in reais, the value transformed using the quick calculation (salary = 3,000R$), and the exact value using the calculation of converting Japanese salary (300,000 円) to Brazilian salary (R$ 900) which is to divide the amount by 320.


Product's name






3,000 R$ Salary BR


300,000 as Base

Manga3006,00 300 = 3,00. 0.93 cents
Drink 1 Liter2506,36 250 = 2,50. 0.78 cents
Ipad58.8001.500 58.800 = 588,00. 183 Brazilian Reais
ticket to Brazil
Round trip
200.0005.000 200.000 = 2.000,00. 625 USD
AP rent50.0001.270 50.000 = 500,00. 156 Reais
1 kilo of meat20.000500 20000 = 200,00. 62 USD
Kit Kat package (12)1884,78188 - 1,88.0.58 cents
Internet 1GBps3.500893500 = 35,002 USD

We can see that with a month of work you can get a return ticket to Brazil. and what a Ipad in Japanese eyes it costs only R$ 183 if the salary is only R$ 900 per month. Not to mention a 12-pack of Kit Kat for only 58 cents Japanese eyes. And a 1Gbps internet only 2 USD monthly in Japanese eyes.

Before comparing any product in Japanese. Always take into account the Japanese salary, and try to see the value of the product in Japanese eyes. Of course, for tourists your 7,000 reais will not last a month in Japan. But for those who live there, there is no absurd value in the products.

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