Japanese Essentials: How Much Does This Cost?

Shopping in Japan is a fun pastime and you will be amazed by the amount of cool stuff you can find in stores. Tokyo in particular is known worldwide to be a shopping mecca, but if you come across an item with no price tag, knowing to ask how much does this cost will come in handy.
The easiest way is of course to point the item and use the following phrase:
これ、いくらですか。(How much is this?)
いくら is the question word for “how much”. You add the copula です (to be) and the question marker か to form the question of how much does something cost.
これ is a demonstrative meaning “this” and refers to something closer to the speaker. それ, “that”, “it”, refers to something close to the listener or . Finally, あれ, “that” refers to something neither close to the speaker nor close to the listener.

これ、それ、あれ, illustration, photo, image


Of course, knowing how to ask for a price is very useful, but you might point out that not being able to understand the answer won’t lead you far… Very often, clerks will use their calculator to show use the number, but you can also ask them to write the price down.
すみません、かみいてください。(Excuse-me, please write it on paper.)

  • かみ ー paper

いて is the participe of the verb く, to “write”. ください stands for please.
You can also challenge yourself and learn how to count in Japanese!

Numbers in Japanese, illustration, photo, image

Numbers in Japanese

Price is usually shown with the 円 symbol and pronounced “yen”.
ジョン:すみません、お弁当べんとう(は)いくらですか。(John: Excuse-me, how much is this bento-box?)
店員:1000えんです。(Clerk: It’s 1000 yen.)

  • ノート ー Notebook
  • ペン ー Pen
  • 弁当べんとう ー Bento-box
  • タオル ー Towel
  • 時計とけい ー Clock
  • ベッグ・かばん ー Bag
  • マフラー ー Scarf
  • くつ ー Shoes

So now that you know how to ask how much something costs, be sure to check our additional blogs on how to ask if you can pay by card, and how to ask for something in a store!

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