About Beach Money

Beach Money is used as a local currency that at the same time cleans the beaches.

Our goal is pretty simple – cleaning beaches all over the world.

After all, it’s not about the glass, nor the Beach Money. It’s about the beach.

How Beach Money Got Started

The beginning was in April 2006 that Ganko Honpo, a Chigasaki based natural detergent maker, asked their customer do beach cleanups for them saying “If you go do a beach cleanup why don’t you pick up some beach glasses at the same time, and we’ll give you some discount for your purchase.”


This made us realize that conversations like this used be everywhere in the community back in the old days and that’s how we used to get to know our neighbors and customers better. Also people who live in a beach area like Shonan always feel an appreciation for the sea and always want to give something back to her.

The Shonan area has it’s own laid back culture and atmosphere, and visitors come back regularly to the area.

We have found that this simple system makes everyone happy and inspires those who love the sea. It is especially fun for children to learn responsibility, stewardship towards our living ocean, and more about the community.

Naoya Hori, the founder of EcoSurfer belonged to one of the supporting companies Ganko Honpo, and has been working on his own projects such as beach cleanups and writing/ producing the free magazine “ES”. EcoSurfer is a grass-roots organization that promotes environmental education in the field. EcoSurfer with the cooperation of 42 small businesses who carried ES helped make the Beach Money system a reality.

How to Use Beach Money

It is up to each business what they will offer in exchange for Beach Money, but we do have some basic rules that everybody must follow. The rules are also located on the Beach Money Map.


Beach Money Map

We created a system that you can use found sea glass as an eco-friendly money at some participating businesses in the Shonan Area. We call this Beach Money. Sea glass needs to pass these 2 criteria to be able to be used as Beach Money.

Step1/Each piece must be larger than a 3 cm circle.
Step2/There can be no sharp edges. There can be no pain in your hand when you hold it tightly.

The value of individual pieces of Beach Glass depends on the color.
¥200 : Mixed, Red, Navy, Yellow
¥50 : Light blue, Green
¥30 : White(clear), Brown
* Each Store can decide what to offer.

  • Beach Money has no cash value.
  • Each shop can take up to ¥300 worth of Beach Money a month per customer or family.
  • Each business decides what they will offer in exchange for Beach Glass.
  • EcoSurfer does not take any responsibility for conflicts between customers and businesses in regards to Beach Money.

Use the Beach Money With Respect and Appreciation

Be thankful to the businesses for participating in Beach Money. Without their love of the ocean and goodwill, Beach Money would not exist.


”Beach Money Guide” movie

*This movie is made by the Fujisawa Engineering High School Broadcasting Club.
*Kasai Coffee does not take Beach Money any longer.

Beach Money Sticker

Each participating Beach Money Store has this sticker at the entrance and at the register counter. This sticker is designed by Risako, 5th grade student at Zushi elementary school.(February 2007)


The Wrong Ways to Use Beach Money

Please read through this section carefully before you go to the Beach Money shops. Let me explain the difference between the Beach Money and a piece of glass.

↓Larger than 3 cm, but has a sharp edge: It is not called Beach Money if it has a sharp edge. This is a baby beach glass that has not been smoothed by the waves in the ocean AND it is dangerous for animals and people. Please throw it in the garbage can.  DO NOT throw back into the water.


↓Lightly polished around and started getting round shape: If you cannot hold it in your hand tightly without feeling pain, then it also should be thrown away in the garbage.


↓Well polished around and rounded AND larger than 3 cm: This is perfect! You can use this as Beach Money. You would be happy to receive it, wouldn’t you?


↓Pieces that are small (about 1 centimeter long edge), but nicely polished: these are considered beach glass and might be Beach Money. Some stores might be happy to take these. You can read through the terms & conditions on the Beach Money guide and try the ones you think they take.


Please do not spread out a bunch of sea glass on the counter at a shop and ask which ones are usable. Please be respectful to the businesses. Please use our guide and instructions and be sure which ones you can use as Beach Money.

Case 2
BoyA: “Can I use this as a Beach Money?”
Shop Staff: “Sure. Let me give you a discount.”
BoyB: “I would like to use this Beach Money, too.”
Shop Staff: “Well, your brother just used it, right?”
1 family at a time. In this case the brothers can use the Beach Money together at the same transaction.

Beach glass is available at a home center (local hardware store) as a “cut glass” (¥420). They are sold as a batch of 50 pieces and rare colors like pink, purple and green. Each bag has about 10 Beach Money able pieces, which means you can purchase 1 beach glass for ¥42. Please be honest when presenting actual glass from the beach and not this fake beach glass. A beach glass specialist can tell if it’s actual beach glass or not, but we cannot tell. The intention of the Beach Money system is to clean up the beaches, be involved in the community, and get something fun back for your love of the ocean.


Beach Money is the EcoSurfer’s registered trademark.


Questions About Beach Money

Please contact me through “contact us” page for any questions like;

  • How do you participate in the Beach Money shops?
    *No fees are required to participate in the Beach Money shops.
  • How do you start Beach Money in our town?
  • Do you travel for environmental workshops and lectures?
    *Travel expenses need to be covered.
  • Would like to distribute the Beach Money Guide at the beach clean up event.
    *Order more than 10 copies for free delivery.

We are happy to answer questions or to be interviewed.



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