Calculating the Yen in the 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 on Google and search 100 yen or 2000 yen and the value in Reais will appear. In this article I don't want to talk about it, I just want to give you a hint of what 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 CrazyJapanTV and I decided to share what I always do to calculate the value of the Yen, and 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 Reais, of course the product will be expensive in our eyes. They earn approximately 5,000 to 8,000 Reais of salary. And in Brazil only R$ 900. So we will teach in this article 2 calculations to arrive at an approximate value of the product seen in the Japanese eyes, and the real value that it would cost if the Japanese salary was equal to ours.

Exact Economic Value

The exact economic calculation, is a calculation made to know when it would cost such a product if the minimum wage is the same as that of our country.

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

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

They earn between 150,000 and 300,000 yen in salary, which is equivalent to 7,000 reais. With 7,000 reais you can buy 1,000 mangoes (fruit). Of course, even if a mango in Brazil costs 0.50 cents with R$ 900 minimum wage, you can buy 1800 manga.

That which you must understand, cannot say whether a product is expensive or cheap in Japan without taking into account the country's salary and economy.

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

We choose 300.000 Yen which resulted from 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.

Therefore, a mango 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 does not need to be exactly divided by 320, you can use another calculation and salary amount for both.

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

Calculating in Other Salaries:

You may think that 300,000 yen a month is not the correct basis to calculate, so here we have the amount that you must 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 nor very logical, but it is fast and practical. This is just a suggestion. To avoid this confusing calculation, and quickly calculate the value of a product and find out if it is expensive or cheap. You can simply 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 R $ 3,000. So if you earn approximately that in Brazil, this calculation is perfect for you.


Below is a table for you to understand better, what a Japanese man 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$), and the exact value using the calculation of converting Japanese salary (300,000 円) into Brazilian salary (R$ 900) which is to divide the amount by 320.


Product's name






3,000 R$ Salary BR


300,000 as Base

Mango 300 6,00  300 = 3,00.  0.93 cents
Drink 1 Liter 250 6,36  250 = 2,50.  0.78 cents
 Ipad 58.800 1.500  58.800 = 588,00.  183 Reais
Passage to Brazil
Round trip
200.000 5.000  200.000 = 2.000,00.  625 Reais
 AP Rental 50.000 1.270  50.000 = 500,00.  156 Reais
 1 kg of meat 20.000 500  20000 = 200,00.  62 Reais
Kit Kat Package (12) 188 4,78 188 - 1.88. 0.58 Cents
Internet 1GBps 3.500 89 3500 = 35,00 10 Reais

We can notice that with a month of work you can get a return ticket to Brazil. And that one Ipad in Japanese eyes it costs only R$ 183 if the salary is only R$ 900 per month. Not to mention a Kit Kat pack of 12 for only 58 cents Japanese eyes. And an internet of 1Gbps only 10 Reais monthly to the Japanese eyes.

Before comparing any product in Japanese. Always take Japanese wages into account, 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, you will not find any absurd value in the products.