• Kyodo


A Tokyo department store on Thursday began selling pairs of commemorative gold coins marking Japan’s upcoming change from the Heisei Era to the Reiwa Era.

One set of the solid gold koban coins is priced at ¥1,296,000 and is being sold at the Nihonbashi branch of the Takashimaya department store chain.

“It looks good with two era names lining up side by side. I will not buy them today, though, because of the price,” said Tomoe Shida, 70, from Tokyo’s Ota Ward, as she looked inside a case containing the coins.

Koban coins were widely used in the Edo Period (1603-1868). The newly minted versions are oval-shaped, about 8 cm long, some 4.4 cm wide and weigh around 60 grams.

“I hope people will enjoy seeing the two era names lining up in the last phase of Heisei,” a department store official said.

The Takashimaya Co. outlet is also selling 100-gram gold bars, each engraved with either Reiwa or Heisei, at ¥864,000 each.

Era names are used for the length of an emperor’s reign. Japan will welcome the Reiwa Era upon Crown Prince Naruhito’s ascension to the throne one day after his father, Emperor Akihito, abdicates on April 30.

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