Whenever I return to my home in California after a visit to Japan, someone inevitably asks: "Is it expensive in Japan?" As a frequent tourist, I respond with the answer: "You can spend as much or a little as you want." And indeed, we have received great pleasure from the smallest and least costly of items.
One of the things we always look for are lapel pins. You can find them in gashapon machines located near historical attractions, in game arcades, and various shops. The pins cost but a mere 200 yen.
There are pins depicting castles and other popular sites of the surrounding area; in addition, historical figures such as Sakamoto Ryoma and Ii Naosuke can be purchased. There are even train and train ticket pins from the various rail lines.
And, as silly as it sounds, there is always that small thrill - drop in your two coins, turn the handle, and the gashapon pops out. Next comes the quick inspection: Which pin did I get?
Guide Books on Tokyo & Japan