How to “Danshari” with Your Leftover Coins in Japan?

I am quite a fan of the idea of Danshari in Japan. Danshari (断捨離) means saying goodbye to something unnecessary in your life to have more space for those which makes your heart really beat. For years I was always confused about dealing with those little coins including Japanese and other countries’ which I was unable to use up during my trip abroad. Until recently, I found a miraculous service here in Japan called PocketChange.

What is PocketChange?


The concept is super simple. Find a machine near you, pour all of your coins into the kiosk (you don’t even need to separate the coins of different currency), then it will automatically recognize and show on the screen which money is how much. Then you could choose the output service to make the value of the coins into them. A perfect and handy conversion from cash to cashless!

The machine is like this. They have many spots in airports, travel agencies, shopping centers, and other major metropolitan areas. You could find it from here:

How to use PocketChange?

  1. Change the language option on the bottom right corner and press Start.
  2. Select a service into which the value of the coins is to be changed. For example, if you live here in Japan or will keep on traveling, I recommend you choose a transportation service like Suica or Pasmo so you can use it directly on the subway.
    (Fun fact: It supports down to 1 yen unit to be transferred to a digital value, even the money charge machine of the railway and metro company doesn’t do it! )
  3. As the instruction says, you should have the transportation card in advance (both physical and digital are OK).
  4. Pour in all your coins!
  5. This screen shows how much value in each currency.
  6. Found some coins not supported or not sure of currency due to the damage on the cash? The system will ask if you want to donate them to organizations like Unicef. If it is a No, of course, you could get them all back.
  7. Then, your transportation card will be charged with the value.
  8. Take the receipt and keep on your journey!

Even though in the current situation I couldn’t travel, I visited the kiosk once in a while to make my purse lighter only to exchange Japanese yen. This service is almost one of the best I ran into, and I regret I couldn’t have known about it earlier. 

There are plenty of “small” services like this in Japan, from which you can find the Japanese way of pursuing details.

Related articles:

A Guide to Exchange and Withdraw Cash in Japan

Japanese Currency Guide -Coins-

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