How to Prepare Kouden (Condolence Money) for Japanese Funeral

Life events occur now and then and unfortunately it happens to be a funeral sometime. This time though in case there is a funeral around you while in Japan, here is one thing you should know about which is called kouden.

What is Kouden?

Kouden (香典) or Okouden (お香典) is condolence money just like weddings (not for celebrating though) and there are some rules for kouden as well. You don’t have to follow every single Japanese custom but if you don’t plan on being rude, at least you should be aware of it.

How much should Kouden be?

This is always the first question that may come up. It is totally up to you but here is some reference that may give you some idea. You could consider based on this so it wouldn’t be either too much or too little.

Colleagues, friends, acquaintances
Around 20 years old 3,000 – 5,000 yen
Over 30 years old 10,000 – 50,000 yen
Parents, family member, or relatives
Around 20 years old 50,000 yen
Over 30 years old 50,000 – 100,000 yen


How to Prepare Kouden

There is a type of envelope for kouden which is white with a faced-up black-and-white ribbon. Just make sure NOT to get one in red & white which is for celebration.  It’s available at convenience stores, 100 yen shops, book stores, pretty much everywhere.

The envelope for kouden comes with another envelope inside. Write down an amount of money you put in the front and your address & name in the back like below.

The amount should be written in kanji like ‘金 xxxxx 圓’ but no worries, refer to the table below. So the number written above (参萬圓) make it 3 man yen (30,000 yen). No problem in Arabic as well if you are not Japanese.

Numbers Numbers in Kanji
5 伍 or 五
Yen 圓 or 円

Now put the envelope with money in kouden and close it.

As a manner, kouden should be covered by a cloth called fukusa to protect it from dirt, etc. until given at the funeral reception. You could use a regular handkerchief instead as well. Here is a reference how to fold fukusa (image below is for celebration. Ideally dark color should be appropriate for condolences).

What is Kouden-Gaeshi?

If you are an attendant, you may get a gift called Kouden-gaeshi from the organizer another day which is worth about a half of the kouden you give. (e.g. something worth 5,000 yen for a 10,000-yen kouden). Koden-gaeshi would be ideally consumable like soap, food, etc.


Alright. That’s all for today.


How do you find it? Hope it helps.

See you around!

What is Otoshidama Anyways?

what is otoshidama

Hi there. It’s Mr. Wada back on duty. I would like to introduce about otoshidama this time.

What is Otoshidama Anyways?

Otoshidama (お年玉) is a new year’s gift that grownups give children in your family or relatives during the new year holiday. It is normally a great opportunity for kids to get this amount of money so they can  purchase something they usually can’t afford (video games, etc). Naturally, the more uncles and aunts you get, the more you are expected to get otoshidama. (However it didn’t apply to me…)


How Much to Give for Otoshidama?

how to prepare shugi bukuro

It really depends on the family or person and also how old the kids are. Usually it starts from a small number like 500 yen or 1000 yen when a kid is still small, and raises slowly. You wouldn’t want to give too much first and kids would expect more every year like there’s no turning back. I myself didn’t have many uncles or aunts so instead my uncle used to give me quite a lot (like 10,000 yen) every time I saw him during the holiday. It was always a bonus for me. Heh heh.

Here is some reference.

Younger kid 1,000 – 2,000 yen
Elementary school student 1,000 – 4,000 yen
Jr. high school student 3,000 yen – 5,000 yen
High school student 5,000 yen – 10,000 yen
University student 10,000 yen

How Do Kids Spend Otoshidama?

Many kids go buy toys, etc. with the money but smart parents keep it in his/her savings as the academic fund. I would keep it in my pocket…but some went to the fund, I think.


How do you find it? You may or may not need to do it but it’s always good to learn different cultures, isn’t it?

See you around!