So ワンコイン refers to a 500円 coin, but is there other names for the other coins?

Also in conversation does ワンコイン refer to any specific currency or only to 500 yen (as in the sense of being a default).

  • 8
    Are you sure?? I've always assumed it merely meant what it says: "one coin". Since it's usually present in the context of "every item in our store/bar goes for one coin", it is indeed most often 500円, but I think it could perfectly be 100円 as well...
    – Dave
    Aug 4, 2011 at 1:08
  • 1
    As Dave said, ワンコイン can refer to 100 yen as well. For example, there seem to be many transit buses called ワンコインバス (example) which cost 100 yen. Aug 4, 2011 at 1:17
  • Yes dave you are correct in that it means 1 coin, but ever reference I have seen and heard so far has been that it means 500 yen coin. Though it is interesting that after 1 coin is written in Ito's link specfically says 100 yen and the gyudonya near my works specifically says 500yen. But what about in conversation where you don't have the qualifier afterwards stating what it means? Aug 4, 2011 at 1:43
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    I think the source of your observation is mostly the name of shops, or advertisement copies. Those are proper nouns, and just depend on how the establisher wanted to name, and it does not necessarily mean that those are ordinary words in Japanese.
    – user458
    Aug 4, 2011 at 1:57

2 Answers 2


I'm not sure how SE works and why there are only comments with answers and no actual answers...

However, ワンコイン, as mentioned by Dave and others in the comments, is not a term for any particular coin, but just a sales practice by any shop. Whenever they sell items where you can pay using just one coin, then it's a sales point they'll put on signs.

It could apply to any of the coins. So if a shop had everything for 100 yen, or 10 yen, 5 yen, or 1 yen, then they could say ワンコイン.

I have never heard the term used in conversation, at least not in reference to currency. It would only be used when talking about a shop or sale.

  • the commentors were trying to seek clarification on my question is why they didn't post them as answers. Aug 4, 2011 at 3:16

I agree with Dave M G. There are only 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen coins, and among them, probably 100 and 500 yen are the only price that will be practical for selling thing under a unified price. So you will probably not see anything other than 100 or 500 yen being referred to as ワンコイン, but it should mean any coin. I don't agree, but if you do feel that ワンコイン does not refer to 100 yen, then it is probably because there is term 100円ショップ, and 'hyakuen' (4 mora, 3 syllable) is shorter and more precise than 'wankoin' (5 mora, 4 syllable).

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    And, well, in a コインバー, I'll pay exactly 500Y for a drink. In a 百円ショップ, I'll pay 105Y per product, not exactly a single coin…
    – Axioplase
    Aug 4, 2011 at 3:25

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