Money making has always been important in Shenmue, but in Shenmue 3 it's more necessary than before thanks to several new systems.
One is having to consume food, which you must do to increase your stamina. Even if you're not entering a battle, you'll still run out of energy regularly, and to get food, you need money.
Not only that, but fighting is made easier with the use of Snake Power - which costs a pricey 270 yuan - while the funds needed to buy capsules toys adds up, especially if you're participating in side-quests such as Capsule of Love.
With this in mind, we recommend taking just 15 or so minutes in the early game to make money in Shenmue 3, meaning longer have to take breaks from the adventure to save up all those necessary (and any optional) expenditures.
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How to make fast and easy money in Shenmue 3 with tokens
There are multiple ways to make money - from chopping wood to fishing through to selling complete capsule collections - but the fastest and easiest way to make money in Shenmue 3 in by gambling tokens.
First, we recommend only doing this from when you unlock the Panda Market onward. This area is a couple of hours in the game - so doesn't take too long - and means you can then exchange the tokens you win for prizes to then sell at a pawn shop.
Otherwise, you'll just have exchanged all your yuan for tokens which cannot be used yet.
When you are ready, you need to head to Joy Park, which is the gambling hub in the early game. You'll find this between Verdant Bridge and the Village Square, by the river. You need to head here after facing the bookie with the facial scar, so you should know the place eventually.
Buy as many tokens as you can afford, then save your game - you can do so anywhere in the game by going to the menu then Settings at the bottom.
Now, bet a significant portion of those tokens on a game (the maximum is 1,500 tokens) such as Turtle Racing or Flower, Bird, Wind and Moon.
If you lose a significant amount over the course of several bets, then load your save back up to get it back. But if you win with a large bet, then save and keep going.
With this save and reload method, it means you'll never lose that initial investment, and while you might have to reload once or two if you have a spot of bad luck, it's overall the fastest method to get a healthy pile of tickets in your possession.
If you're struggling or becoming frustrated, a little further in the game you will unlock the Sunset Hill area, you'll have access to a fortune teller and a gambling area of its own.
Visiting the fortune teller lucky number or colour, the latter in particular can help you increase your chances of winning in Flower, Bird, Wind and Moon if you have it.
This is useful if you want to be more certain, either to save time or if you don't believe in reloading saves. But it's not essential; you can simply save and reload regularly, and means you can start making easy money from when you unlock the Panda Market.
Where to exchange tokens in Shenmue 3
When you feel you have enough tokens, head to Panda Market. As mentioned earlier, you can only reach here when you've been asked to visit it as part of the story, which takes around two hours.
Enter the market square and the first building on your left is the Prize Exchange, where you can purchase items with those tokens.
There are a vast array of items available to buy. The resell value for each item changes each day, but you want to get something as close to 1 yuan per 10 tokens as possible.
Over time, as you come to use this store, you'll learn the value of items and when something becomes overpriced - for example, we managed to pick up the Hanging Scroll (Beautiful Woman) at 350 tokens, but can be sold for 34 yuan each - which works out at 0.097 yuan per token - while another time it was 430, which is worst value.
It's tough to see at a glance what is good value without selling it first, but by and large, we'd recommend getting something between the 100 and 400 token mark - anything too low or high tends to have a really bad exchange rate.
Compare this to other items - from the expensive Iron Kettle (1010 tokens to 85 yuan, or 0.085 yuan per token) to the cheap Opera Mask (140 tokens to 10 yuan, or 0.071 yuan per token) and it means you'll get the most out of each (admittedly easy earned) token.
Get as many as you can afford, and then take them to the first building on the right as you entered the market - the Pawn Shop - and sell them. For example, with 10,500 tokens you can puck up 30 Hanging Scrolls - which gives you 1,020 yuan.
If you can, hold back 1,500 tokens for the future, meaning you can easily make money again in a future gambling trip by starting with the maximum bet amount from the get go.
Doing all this means you can then easily finance food or Snake Power, and take fewer breaks chopping wood during your adventure.