Cost of Living in Tokyo

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Cost of Living in Tokyo

For foreign nationals, Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. In Mercer’s most recent cost of living rankings, it is rated second. According to the ECA International’s most recent global cost of living index, it is the third most expensive place to live in Asia and the ninth most expensive city in the world. So, in terms of finances, can an average ex-pat even live in Tokyo? Here’s some information to assist you in making that decision.

According to Numbeo, a frugal single person can live in Tokyo for about 1,103 USD per month (excluding rent), while a family of four may live for roughly 3,984 USD per month (excluding rent). However, living expenditures vary greatly depending on one’s lifestyle and lodging.

Is It Expensive to Live in Japan?

The cost of living in Tokyo varies dramatically depending on where you live. The monthly average is approximately Y=140,000 (US$1,268). Rent, food, discretionary spending, transportation, taxes, and insurance are all included in this figure. Tokyo’s cost of living is roughly 10% more than the rest of the country. The expense of living in a small town or hamlet, on the other hand, is significantly lower.

Japan is an island in the Pacific Ocean located off the eastern coast of Asia. Japan’s inhabitants take pleasure in their ethnic unity, which has formed over centuries of history. Japan has long flourished by holding tea ceremonies, Buddhist and Shinto-inspired gardens, and the practice of calligraphy, all of which are unorthodox in Western culture.

Japan is also noted for its tranquil beauty, as it is home to 60 active volcanoes, including Japan’s tallest peak, Mount Fuji, at 12,388 feet. As it stands, Japan has shown to be a very successful country, with figures such as 100% literacy for both men and women, an average life expectancy of 86.6 years for women, and so on.

What Salary Do You Need to Live in Tokyo?

According to consultancy firm ECA International, the average salary package for an “expatriate middle manager” in Japan is the greatest in Asia, costing 386,451 USD. Keep in mind, however, that compensation packages take into account not just income, but also benefits such as housing allowances, utilities, international schools, and automobiles, as well as taxes.

In comparison to the United States, the cost of living in Japan differs. For example, consumer prices in Japan are 14.36 percent higher than those in the United States, while grocery costs in Japan are 17.77 percent more than those in the United States. However, rent in the United States is 50.64 percent higher than in Japan, and restaurant prices are 44.77 percent higher in the United States.

Rent in Tokyo varies greatly, but the average per-room rent is roughly $350. Regardless of location, renting a property in Tokyo is an excellent option to save money on accommodation. Apartments in shared houses are frequently equipped, making moving in a breeze. You can also rent a furnished apartment from a firm like Modern Living Tokyo, which has apartments starting at $1,400.

Is housing Expensive in Tokyo?

Apartment rent is the most expensive item for ex-pats in Tokyo. A month’s rent for even the most basic apartment might exceed $1,200. You should account for other costs such as internet and parking in addition to rent. You should also consider the convenience of public transportation and parking in addition to these prices. It will not cost you a fortune if you can walk to your business. Apart from that, the cost of living in Tokyo isn’t particularly exorbitant.

Tokyo’s cost of living is high, but if you’re looking for a cheap apartment, central Tokyo is the place to be. The most expensive rents are in central Tokyo, but they’re worth it if you’re going to be in the city for business or pleasure. Here you’ll find the Imperial Palace and Roponngi, two of Tokyo’s most popular restaurants. Chuo-ku is the most dynamic and diverse portion of the city in terms of entertainment, with excellent shopping and entertainment opportunities.

Despite Tokyo’s high cost of living, finding an apartment that fits your budget is not impossible. Because the Japanese housing market is so competitive, you should have no trouble finding an apartment that meets your requirements. According to the Mercer survey, Tokyo has one of the highest costs of living in the world, second only to Hong Kong. While this is an important consideration, it does not imply that you should limit yourself to the bare minimum.

The cost of living in Tokyo varies depending on where you live. The rents in the city’s central areas are greater than in other areas, but the quality of the products is generally good. Furthermore, the cost of living in central Tokyo is a fraction of the cost of living elsewhere in Japan. By choosing cheaper apartments in wards outside of the main districts, you can save a lot of money.

Is Living in Japan Cheaper than in America?

Well, it depends. In comparison to other parts of the world, Tokyo has a high cost of living. While certain things are less expensive in other countries, the quality of goods and services available in Tokyo is far superior. When opting to relocate to the city, you might save money by making informed judgments. Expats can also choose from a number of low-cost housing options. A huge percentage of expatriates in Tokyo are also in a better financial position to afford the city’s high cost of living.

For many people, rent is a considerable portion of their monthly budget. The cost of renting an apartment is heavily influenced by its location. In addition to food, rent is a significant part of your budget. It will, however, have a significant role in deciding the number of your monthly expenses.

When it comes to the cost of renting an apartment, Tokyo prices differ significantly from those in other regions of the world. According to a Mercer survey, Tokyo has the second-highest cost of living in the world, behind Hong Kong. This is a crucial consideration for expatriates since it will affect how much money they will need to spend vs how much money they will earn. The more expensive a location is, the less it has to offer in terms of money. Foreigners can stay in a variety of accommodations in Tokyo. Expats prefer furnished or serviced accommodations, which are typically larger and more expensive than Japanese norms.

The cost of housing varies significantly depending on the type of home, its location, its age, and size, as well as amenities. Rents are often greatest in the city center and near public transportation. The suburbs of Tokyo and the adjacent prefectures have substantially lower rents.

Shinjuku, the city’s center municipality, has the most foreign residents. Edogawa, Adachi, Toshima, Arakawa, and Minato are some non-central municipalities with a large population of ex-pats. The housing costs of foreign teachers and other workers are occasionally subsidized.

How to Rent an Apartment in Japan?

It’s necessary to utilize a real estate agent (Fudousan-ya) if you’re renting an apartment; their Japanese language abilities can be crucial. Some estate agents in Tokyo specialize in working with foreigners and use English-speaking personnel. Obtain a contract, and ensure that a copy is provided in your original language.

Although many foreigners rent serviced or furnished lodgings that are specifically meant for them, apartments are typically unfurnished. These are more expensive, but frequently include utilities in the rent.

Renting an apartment comes with a slew of fees that can add up to five to six months’ rent or more. These expenses include:

  • When a contract to lease an apartment is signed, the renter must pay a security deposit (shikikin) to the landlord, which is normally equal to one to two months’ rent.
  • Key money (reikin) is a tip paid to the landlord that is non-refundable. Although it is frequently negotiable, one month’s rent – or two months’ rent for larger flats – is the standard. Key money is not required for more priced flats.
  • Agent’s fee: Renters must additionally pay the real estate agent an agent’s fee (chukai tesu-ryo). It is usually one or two months’ rent (yachin).
  • Rent is paid in advance at the end of each month and is usually deducted via automatic bank transfer. When you move in, the first month’s rent is normally required.
  • Utilities: While the majority of flats do not include gas and electricity in the rent, some foreigner-oriented residences do.
  • Maintenance fee: For the care of common areas, some apartment complexes levy a maintenance fee (kanri-hi and kyoueki-hi).
  • Renters must have a guarantor (rentai hoshounin) who is financially responsible in the event that the renter fails to pay the rent or perform necessary repairs. A firm can also act as a surety (hoshougaisha).

Not only are hotels in Tokyo pricey, but they are also small, especially in the city center. The quantity of tatami mats in an apartment is frequently used as a metric. For instance, a listing for an apartment would indicate, “6 mat size bedroom.”

Is Moving to Japan a Good Idea?

Well, it is in your hands to decide. Those with a valid residence card and a Japanese bank account have easy access to mobile phones. Traditional subscription plans start at roughly 6000 yen per month, while discount operators provide options starting at around 2000 yen per month.

Residents who want internet access at home might consider acquiring a pocket wifi device (monthly rates start at 2500 yen) or getting a broadband or fiber optic internet subscription (monthly fees from 4000 yen). Otherwise, there are paid wifi hotspots and manga cafés that provide internet connections. Large chain electronic stores like Yamada Denki, Yodobashi Camera, and Bic Camera, as well as home centers, sell household white goods like refrigerators, washing machines, and other appliances, as well as television sets, stereo sets, cameras, and laptops.

Affordable Furniture and home items can be found at Japanese chain hypermarkets like Aeon and Ito Yokado, as well as interior goods boutiques like Nitori and Muji, and international retailers like Ikea. Amazon and Rakuten are two online shops that sell a wide range of household goods.

a hundred yen Shops provide a wide range of products, including stationery and kitchenware, for 100 yen each (plus consumption tax), which can be quite cost-effective for people looking to set up their flats on a shoestring budget. Haircuts in Japan may be an adventure in and of themselves, as Japanese hairdressers are known for their excellent service, with rates starting at 4000 yen for a cut.

In most cities, movie theatres (ticket costs range from 1000 to 2000 yen), karaoke bars (hourly rates start at 200 yen), and game centers are available for entertainment. Theatrical productions and live concerts are conducted throughout the year. Live concerts by well-known local and international artists are more common in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. Depending on the seat, tickets start at roughly 6000 yen.

A dinner in more ordinary restaurant costs between 1000 and 3000 yen, whereas in high-end restaurants like ryotei, there is no higher price limit. Many eateries provide inexpensive teishoku (set meals) at roughly 1000 yen during lunch hours.


Cycling is an extremely cost-effective mode of transportation, particularly if you reside in a city. Nearly all railway stations and commercial malls include bicycle parking. In large cities like Tokyo and Osaka, local buses serve as a supplement to the train and subway systems.

Apparel can be found for a low price at chain hypermarkets like Ito Yokado’s clothing department or at economical basic clothing boutiques like Uniqlo. While department stores and boutiques may have more fashionable styles, they are also more expensive. It’s worth noting that Japanese sizing runs a little smaller than North American or European sizes, and tall or large sizes may be hard to come by.

Japan is known for its high living costs, particularly in Tokyo, which is consistently ranked among the world’s top ten most expensive cities. In Japan, rent accounts for a major portion of living expenses, followed by automobile ownership and transportation. However, living in Japan does not have to be costly, and prices may be controlled based on where you live, by purchasing local items and living within your wage limits.

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