The exchange rates for different types of coins are based on their weight of gold, silver or copper, and the bakufu does its best to keep these rates constant. However, supply and demand does have an influence on rates, and gold has tended to rise in value over time because it is scarcer in Japan than silver or copper.

The average exchange rates are about one gold ryo (about 18 grams) to 60 momme (about 225 grams) of silver; or four strings of copper zeni, each string containing 1000 coins. Most daily transactions are done using copper coins, although merchants buying and selling large quantities of goods tend to use silver coins in their transactions.