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GPod 11: The Cost of Living in Japan

Tokyo is known as one of the most expensive cities to live in but how much does it actually cost to live here? From rent, to taxes, transportation, food and more, we show you how living in Tokyo is not as expensive as you think.

By 1 min read 136

Tokyo is known as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live, but what is the actual cost of living in Japan? On this episode of the GPod, Anthony is joined by Reno Tibke from AkihabaraNews to discuss the true cost of living in Tokyo.

We break down our monthly fixed living expenses, cover various transportation costs, internet connectivity and annual taxes that you will be required to pay.

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While the cost of living in Japan can vary greatly depending on the location, these numbers should give you a rough estimate of what it costs to start you new life in Japan.

We also briefly cover food and entertainment in the show but we didn’t include specific prices as those costs will vary depending on your lifestyle.

Anthony’s Expenses

Rent: ¥75,000
Gas: ¥3000 ~ ¥4500
Water: Included with the rent
Electric: Included with the rent
Home Internet: ¥6121
Mobile Phone: ¥7800
Transportation: ¥7600

Reno’s Expenses

Rent: ¥78,000
Gas: ¥3000 ~ ¥4500
Water: ¥2000
Electric: ¥5500 ~ ¥6500
Home Internet: ¥2500 (¥30,000 router cost)
Mobile Phone: ¥7800
Transportation: ¥12,800


Salary Simulation provided by Capital Tax
Year 1 Year 2
Monthly Yearly Monthly Yearly
Base Salary 250,000 3,000,000 250,000 3,000,000
Health Insurance 12,961 155,532 12,961 155,532
Pension Insurance 22,256 267,072 22,256 267,072
Total Insurance 35,217 422,604 35,217 422,604
Inhabitant Tax 0 0 13,459 161,508
Income Tax 5,270 63,240 5,270 63,240
Total Deduction 40,487 485,844 53,946 647,352
Net Salary 209,513 2,514,156 196,054 2,352,648


While this list does not cover all expenses of living in Tokyo it does give you a rough estimate.

Due to time constraints we were not able to cover areas outside of Tokyo but if you are living outside of Tokyo feel free to post your expenses in the comments below.


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  • Peter Yamamoto says:


    I’m a Canadian Citizen, U.S. Permanent resident, married to Japanese Citizen (permanent residence status in Canada and U.S.). I’m considering/planning to live/purchase in Japan (most likely Kyushu Area where I spent 1year+9months as a student). I’m also interested in current monthly budgets for Kyushu/Fukuoka area. I’m also interested in specifics about the “one time” costs/logistics of moving to Japan (moving “household goods” as in a full house’s worth), in particular whether this might be better doing from US verus Canada

  • Thom Harrison says:

    I couldn’t live on 250k paying 75k rent before utilities – unless I were eating like a student (eg., toast, pasta, and cup ramen) most days. If you want to be able to eat well every day and go to nice restaurants, buy electronics or trip tickets, pay off student loans, etc etc, you’d probably want to be paying around 65-75k on rent *inclusive* of utilities. That might mean having to share a house rather than rent a private apartment. I think to live well and be spending 80-100k on housing costs, you need to be making in the region of 280-300k plus. Or be living out in Saitama somewhere.

  • Nick says:

    The rental cost needs to be explained a little more. These look like rents outside of Tokyo or in the outer areas. A 2LDK in central Tokyo is multiple times this.

  • Fix says:

    If this is true, then this is rather cheap. Definitely cheaper than New York or London.

    • Kai2591 says:

      Exactly. Even Japanese universities are cheaper than UK’s.
      Yet more people study at UK…

  • Kitchen Equipment Maintenance says:

    Nice post..
    Thanks for sharing needful information.
    Regards, Commercial Kitchen Equipment Maintenance Dubai

  • himal says:

    Hello, I am planning to apply for Kagoshina university.. would anyone please tell me living expenses in kagoshima including living room, availability of university residence, gas, electricity, internet, mobile, tariff, travel expenses, insurances and any other expense!!

  • Pusztai Beáta says:

    In my experience, for a very short period of time (say, up to 3-6 months), a chain of share houses like Sakura H**se could serve as a temporary solution (gas, water, electricity, and Internet are included in the monthly rent). I do not want to advertise any company, really, I am just mentioning them because I remember how lost I was when I had to search for accommodation for the first time, from abroad.

    Also, if you need to save money, and do not mind eating lost of pasta, then you should know that instant yakisoba is really delicious in Japan, far better than the imitations you get outside of Japan — and extremely cheap! Even restaurant noodles are reasonably priced. 🙂

  • Renny says:

    Thank you 🙂

  • Japan if everywhere could be Japan it would be great but life is dirty some things can never change

  • Kev says:

    So when applying for Find Asia limited to study Japanese while working in Japan, this is a red flag.
    After they deduct things from my 28 hours a week job for less than 400/month It’s obvious that survival is loan shark required. They offer about 1-2 million yen loans depending on your success while studying Japanese. The issue is that the 1.5 thousand dollar plane ticket one way isn’t paid for and the cost of rent could be higher than this since it’s 2016 now.

    I suspect that I will be eating instant ramen every day in a box just before being forced to quit 1/4 of the way in the study year. I’d have to beg my family to buy my plane ticket out.

    I’m hoping this isn’t the case. But it most likely will be. JSAP most likely picks favorites and condemns the rest. Oh well, not like my country (USA) is going to give me a job anytime soon with my degree and current loans. I’ll still study and work hard at it… So… here I come Japan! (if accepted into the program).

  • Renny says:

    Hi Im from Malaysia. Nxt year probably move to Hokkaido.
    But still I need to know, which part of Japan that have least cost of living?

  • Abbie-lee Gale says:

    Me and my friend are planning to move to japan and start a small business so im trying to workout how much it costs. If anyone knows of any good websites pleae tell me.

  • Abbie-lee Gale says:

    is the table in yen? i really cant tell.

  • Yash says:

    Hi I am from India,I will be in japan during may and june for an intern and the company is providing accomodation and a monthly payment of 171000 JPY , the company location is in greater tokyo region. So I wanted to know if is it enough for expenses other than accomodation or how much extra money do I need?
    Also they are covering half the flight cost.

  • eurofederal says:

    I will be in Japan for almost 3 weeks in July and August this year and I have pre-booked accommodation so I plan to live on some € 1,000 = ¥ 130,000 while there. Everything will be paid in advance ( Hôtels, Train passes) and I think this should be enough to get by. I was in Tokyo 2 years ago and I didn’t spend that much and yet I did not refrain from spending. Western food is expensive but eating Japanese can be cheap. I plan some ¥ 8000 a day for coffee, lunch and dinner….and if I run short of cash I can always use my credit card….PP

  • translate_me_jp says:

    Something I haven’t seen posted… the average salary of a Japanese household.

    The avg household in Japan pulls in around 5,300,000 yen a year. (450k a month)

    If you make that much and you don’t mind living like an actual Japanese family, you will be fine. With that amount, you can live pretty comfortably, own a house/apartment, and a car. Again, that is if you live the lifestyle of an actual native. If you work in finance/IT and you’re used to the nicer things in life, you’re obviously going to need at least 10 mil a year. Another FYI, you are considered quite wealthy in Japan if you make more than 10 million a year.

    If you’re interested, my breakdown… (family of 3 in Yokohama)

    Housing related cost: 75000
    Food: 50000
    Electricity: 7000
    Gas: 6000
    Water: 3000
    Phones: 14000 for 2 people (normal new smartphone plan)
    Internet: 5000
    Car (lease/insurance/gas/parking spot): 45000
    Personal/Entertainment: 20,000… 400,000… depends on the month
    Social Insurance (Required health insurance + pension) for 2 full-time working adults: 61000

    Other monthly payments:

    Education Insurance (Japanese version of college fund, includes extra health benefits for child): 20000
    Life Insurance(whole-term… plus other benefits): 20000

    With everything, we save ~2,000,000 a year so we life an okay life. (Savings mainly for retirement/investments) Not extravagant by any means, but it’s a comfortable situation.

    • Joseph says:

      Great post – thank you! What are the breakdown of the auto costs? I plan to buy outright but still need to factor in the other stuff.

    • truth says:

      how much in dollars per month?

    • Tokyoyo says:

      5,300 000 yen/year. Is that before or after tax deduction?
      I’m moving with my (soon to be) husband to Utsunomiya, Tochigi in april and he will make almost that amount before tax deduction. Hopefully I will be able to get some work efter 6-12 months, but before that we rely on his salary.
      We’ve had a hard time understanding the tax system in Japan, here in Sweden we pay a pretty fixed amount (depending on our income) but I’ve read that in Japan they have have different tax deductions. And you also pay for social cost yourself?
      Otherwise this breakdown of costs is really great, since it really helps us with calculating a budget for our living situation.

    • Ardnahc says:

      Translate_me_jp, may I know with that pay, how much you spend for the rent?
      We are a family of 3, living in Singapore and has an offer to work in Tokyo for the same salary, equivalent to 9.800K yen/year.
      I wish to live close by the office, around minatoku. Do you think I can afford to rent a decent place at 250K/month?

  • Kalng Mbng says:

    Is 155k/month enough for a student in tokyo, not including travelling living and others expenses. Or should i get a part time job?

  • Kalng Mbng says:

    Hi everyone im still an student and planning to do my masters in civil engineering in university of tokyo. I have been given a mext scholarship and they are offering to pay alll my educational fees and accommodation though it will be in univ dorm. They will be paying me like 155k/month as stipend or monthly allowances. So i was wondering will it be enough for me or should i get an part time job.

    • Khalid Aun says:

      I’m not sure if that’s enough but I would still get a part time job just in case, and extra money doesn’t hurt.

  • Schnizel says:

    Guys I plan on continuing my master degree in Tokyo and I have like 1800000 japanese yen, my question is if I move to Tokyo will the money be enought to finish my Master degree if I also earn money in a part time job pleas tell me.

  • Cookie-chan クッキー says:

    Hi I was thinking about living in Tokyo, Japan for 3 years. Do you know how much rent that I would have to pay for each year?

  • Mohammad Ali says:

    My breakup of monthky living expenses with my wife would be:

    Rent: ¥104,000 (2DK, 7 min walk from station, Den entoshi line, Setagaya)
    Gas: ¥3500 ~ ¥5000
    Water: ¥3800 ~ 4500
    Electric: ¥4000 ~ ¥8000
    Mobile: ¥22,000
    Internet: ¥5200
    Groceries: ¥65000 (dry rations, home supplies and fresh vegetables / meat for 1 month – cooking at home once a day & on weekends – breakfast not included)
    Medical: ¥5000 to ¥8000 (visit to Gynacologist – occasional visit to dermatologist etc)
    Travel: ¥5000 (Recreation travel with in city (office commute is paid by employer 100%)
    Entertainment: ¥10,000 per person (includes eating out once a weekend, bat once/twice a month)

  • Hi
    I’m moving to Abiko in Chiba (an hour away from Tokyo) in December to join my wife and daughter. This page has been massively helpful in working out how much I would need to be earning each month. I know the price of the property I will be renting (just under 40,000 yen a month including maintenance).

    My wife thinks the cost of food for the three of us will be about 60,000 yen. Is that accurate as it appears different to what others are averaging?

    Also does anyone know the cost of good internet (my wife has one but it is a cheap one and runs out quiet quickly). Obviously I’d like to Skype my family as much as possible once I move but also I would like to use my laptop to play games on-line (if I get any free time).

    And the price of a mobile per month. any ideas?

    Many thanks to anyone who replies 🙂

    • Oskar says:

      50,000/month should get you a screaming fiber 1Gbs. The downside is that, if you live in a “mansion”, you’ll share it with others, but still 100Mbs up and down is plenty. Abiko is a nice place, and has a great lake and onsen. And a nice playground with a mini train, that my toddlers love.

  • revan wabale says:

    I m a software engg in India having 3 yrs of experience and monthly net takeaway salary is ₹43k Recently got offer from Japanese company who is offering me CTC 3,75,000yen(including commute upto 20,000 yen)my job location is Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo Higashioi 3 -chome.

    Anybody pls suggest how much I can save from my monthly salary ?
    Also how much expenses would it be ?
    Any cheap place to stay from where I can do travel to office easily?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • Ravindra Reddy Thumma says:

      that is gud amount and if you are single you can save gud amount.
      Hi revan have you gone to japan?
      from which company you have the offer?

  • Safaa Queen says:

    Hi All,
    Please someone help me.
    Im a university student (21y.o/girl) in Montreal, at Concordia University / John Molson school of business.

    Before thinking twice, I have accepted a 8 months internship in Kyoto starting January 2016. They dont require me to speak any japanese, and it sounded like a once in a life opportunity..
    they want me to pay everything by myself. My visa, plane tickets, japanese class prior to going there etc…

    My monthly salary will be 150,000YEN. They said they will pay half of my apartment rent and I will only pay 30,000YEN for the rest.
    I will also have to pay my utilities bills, food, transportation etc alone.

    All my savings will go to pay plane tickets etc.. therefore I will be heading there with no savings.

    Do you think its doable? Will I survive?
    I waste my money a lot usually hencr why I have barely no savings. I go out a lot. I never cooked a home made meal. But I want to learn. Im so nervous and stressed out though.. altho I really love Japan.

    Could you please advice me on this opportunity?

    • Suzu Yehets Forevs says:

      Try to find the cheapest plane ticket. Find a job that doesn’t require you to speak japanese. It depends on how much u earn every month. If you’re parents are sending you money, then they should send you at least 90000yen which is $900 every month. Including monthly pay for apartment average phone bill, average pay for 1 meal at a cheap restaurant like ramen or a place in a mall, and including getting groceries, if you add it all up it should equal 73850yen which is $738.50, which leaves you $161.50 to spend or save IF you’re parents send you 90000yen. If you’re planning to stay in the same apartment for 8 months in japan then the total amount of money your gonna pay is probably gonna around 18314800yen which is $183148.00.

      Don’t know if this helps you alot. I estimated everything, but I dont know if everything is right. I hope you will have a great time in Japan!

    • Wyatt Giesbrecht says:

      you say half your rent will be covered but have you looked for apartments yet? i suggest getting something for around 60,000 yen or less. If possible, can your internship employer be your guarantor? Also, try finding a place with no/low key money, agency money, and deposit. A lot of places have none of those or very low costs in consideration of those. You can live off of 150,000 yen but you will have to learn to cook at home and be frugal with spending . You may not get to live luxuriously but you can still enjoy your time there.

  • Dimas Triaji says:

    Hello, (I hope I can get many helps/responses) I’m 2 years after graduating, I’m 24 this year, I’ve been in difficult to get my father’s permission (I know it might sounds weird to some people, he’s been persistent for me to continue his company (family company)) to work outside from home. Do you guys have any good words to convince my father? Note: he’s super hard to convince, and emotional.
    And actually I still have zero experience in working because I got dragged by my father to come home right after graduated, and I kinda did slacked during my university, so my coding skill level is just basic. I might want to apply to Rakuten or maybe other English-language company, is it possible for a newbie like me to join there?

    • Mohammad says:

      Totally possible to join, live & thrive. Rakuten is a super cool employer – you will like it here in Tokyo as well.

      I was in exactly the same situation as you are now – and I have been working in Rakuten & living here for past 15 months – no Japanese knowledge, just good at my job, got hired and living the dream in Tokyo.

      My advise dive in head first

    • Tyler Fries says:

      If you make the argument of going there as a learning experience to help you in leading the company more efficiently, you may have your in. Your probably gonna have to sort out all the question and arguments that will be made by your father by getting your own supporting evidence on the topic.

  • Sharmaine Jenny Lyn says:

    Hi i would like to know how much it’s gonna cost if i live in yokohama(kanagawa) with a baby and my husband. Thankyou. 🙂

  • jay says:

    Hi, How much was the Entry Level salary in Japan for Mechanical Engineer? I’m estimating how much should I ask in my employer for salary, where in I would be able to live in japan with average cost of living.

  • Shumail says:

    Hi,I got a job in Japan in Rakuten and they are offering me 4.5 million per year.I am currently located in dubai.i am single for now,so can any one help me out to tell me what will be the cost of living for single person in tokyo japan.can i afford one room and one car with this salary??also can i afford my wife here ?

    • Anthony Joh says:

      It all depends on your lifestyle but that should be ok for two people. You also don’t really need a car in Tokyo unless you plan on traveling outside the city to the inaka.

      • Shumail says:

        if i want to live single with shared room with some other guy how much will it cost?also what is the minimum cost of living including everything for one person.

  • Sriram Ramani says:

    Hi, recently i got a job in japan and they are offerring 6 million per year. Will that be enough to survive in tokyo. I’m single as of now.. after some months i’m planning to bring my wife also. And can some ne please tell me how much it will approx cost a month for me ? how much is the tax ? and how about the other inverstments.? transportation… and how much will i be able to save per month ? i’m actually from indai

    • Dave says:

      6 million yen is approximately 48,000 USD/yr. You should be able to live in Japan. You’ll just have to budget and be mindful of your spending. With good financial skills, you should be able to live comfortably, depending on the area. General rule of transportation in Japan is: owning an automobile is out of reach. Get it out of your mind. You’ll use public transportation, a motorcycle, bicycle, or the shoe-leather express. If you have dreams of owning a home and a vehicle, Japan is probably not for you.

  • Diogo Costa says:

    Hi Cris! I’m a 21y-o Computer Sciences Engineer, who’s deeply interested in working and living in Tokyo. How’s it like? Are you happy there?

  • Tony Rojas Rodriguez says:

    ive never lived in japan, but you gotta also factor in food costs, unless you want to eat ramen every day, meat is expensive i hear, and so are luxuries. I want to live in japan so badly though lol.

  • damaG3_iNc says:

    Hello all! This is such a helpful blog. Kudos! I’ll be moving to Kawasaki, Japan from Germany in a month. Can anyone help me understand what the living expenses for a couple would be? I’m looking to rent a 35-40m2 apartment. I lead a simple life, eat out once a week, don’t smoke/social drinker, will be cooking at home. Any input is welcome. Thank you for your time.

  • 狐健 kitsune ken says:

    i live in kurashiki city okayama prefecture and here’s the living cost here:
    Rent: 20000円
    Food: 20000円
    Water and Elec and internet is included already and i eat just enough and i ride bike to and from work.
    Those 2 are the only expenses i have here so per month i can spend around 50000-60000円 to anything or save about 70000円

    I’m single and works in an automobile industry with way less salary than most of you. It’s embarrassing to even mention it here so don’t ask! 😀
    I only gave you guys idea that you can live here in Japan for only 50000yen/month for all expense without having much extra expenses 😉

    • Tony Rojas Rodriguez says:

      Never be ashamed of how much you make!! Ive lived in new york, and a bunch of other american cities… currently im living in mexico, and lol, what you pay in rent is about how much a luxury 2 bedroom apartment costs here.

      I would one day love to live in japan ( short term) just for the awesome experience!

    • Anthony Joh says:

      Thanks for sharing. Your rent is cheaper than what I spend on transportation in Tokyo. 😉

  • Hi! I live in Sagamihara, a city in the Kanagawa prefecture, about 1h from central Tokyo by train and I would like to share my husband and me’s monthly expenses with you.

    It’s a 2DK apartment, aka 2 rooms and a small kitchen, 20min by foot from a major train station.

    Rent: 55,000¥ (it’s an old apartment, no parking)
    Energy: 3000¥ in summer ~ 10,000¥ in winter (because of the AC)
    Water: 1500¥
    Gas: 3000¥
    Iphone: 7500¥
    Internet+land phone+cable: 4000¥
    Health Insurance: 10,000¥
    Food: 40,000¥ for 2 people.
    Transportation: 15,000¥ to Tokyo
    Entertainment (small trip by train twice a month, eating out every Sunday, clubbing once a month): 20,000¥

    We get by pretty well even with only one of us working. 200,000¥ /month is enough for a decent living.

    • WOW thank you! This is massively helpful for me as I am about to move to Japan to live with my wife and daughter.

      Its useful to know that just one parent can work as well as I would prefer for myself to work and my wife to stay at home so she doesn’t have to worry about working (kind of old fashioned really)

    • Radium says:

      Hi there! I am thinking to work in Tokyo for an architecture office and i am courious about living expenses. I worked in China for 2 years already.
      Are you sure the monthly rent for an whole apartment is just 55000 yen ? Thats much cheaper than in Shanghai. That would be like 2500 chinese yuan. A small one bedroom apartment in Shanghai around center is equivalent of at least 95000-100.000 YEN monthly

      • Anthony Joh says:

        You can find places in Tokyo for ¥55,000 but they will be very small. Better to budget between ¥70,000 ~ ¥100,000

        • Radium says:

          Allright, thank you very much for the info. These numbers are very important if i will negociate a salary…
          So these prices are for renting the whole apartment, not sharing, right?

  • Natalie Ahlfert says:

    I will be moving to Japan in mid march. I will be working around misato, saitama area. Anyone know were I can find furnished and unfurnished apartments in that saitama-chiba zone???

  • basspig says:

    Those figures are not bad at all. I ‘own’ a modest home in Connecticut in USA a pay about $970/mo in property taxes. My electric bill was around $550/mo but we are getting 28% rate hike this year due to insufficient avail of nat gas and ban coal burning. Income taxes are thousands and we also pay state taxes.

    I wonder what the living expenses are in Morioka, Iwate Prefecture where I am considering as my next home?

  • monicz3 says:

    Hi! I’m planning to continue my education in Chiba University and I’m looking for an outline of estimated cost of living 15 mins or less near the campus. Any information with regards to aforementioned topic would be of great help! Thank you! 🙂

    • Indra Riyanto says:

      you can contact the International Support Division. As I know for 2014, an apato cost around 37,000~45,000 for areas near Inage Campus, my friend’s LDK costs 56,000. I also heard that there’s occasionally a 20,000~25,000 apato rent available

    • Chiba is a lot cheaper than Tokyo, also they can give you info on places to stay nearby, or on campus. LeoPalace is the cheaper option for apartments and easily rented with internet! I paid 38,000円 (under $400) a month, with expenses.

      • monicz3 says:

        Thank you! I visited your webpage and I found interesting blogs and posts about Japan. Indeed, it was helpful 🙂

  • rajeev ray says:

    my gross salry is 3,390,000/year
    is this enough?
    i want to live in tokyo.
    what is the average salary?

  • arisa says:

    Hello, a friend and I were wanting to visit Japan for two months in the summer. I was wondering if anybody could give suggestions as to what to live in and appropiate prices for places to stay? Thank you very much!

    • axel says:

      Hey! Ill be in Japan during the summer as well. Im stayin 45 nights in a homestay for $600 dollars. It’s quite a steal. research some homestays

  • Nevaeh says:

    Tech? Pharma? Diplomat? I’m running out of ideas! 😛

    Central and West part of Tokyo mean different things to me… Central for me is “inside Yamanote” and West is about 25 minutes out of Shinjuku. For a 2LDK you can get anything from 80K and wayyyyyyyy up. 80K would not be a central location and basically not “befitting” if that makes sense considering your salary and work status (if that is an issue for you). For expats that can afford it, the most popular areas are Minato/Shibuya/Shinagawa: the ones I showed you in the link, but they are tower mansions (the word “mansion” is highly misleading, it just means apartment), expensive, higher end and popular… But you’ll be surprised how many regular places will reject you because you are non Japanese (NJ) and have a (small) child. The management companies of higher end places don’t care about your nationality as long as you abide by the rules and pay rent on time.
    Lets imagine you work in… Otemachi and you want to live 30minutes door2door. For 100k you can get a smaller & older apartment. For 200-250k you can get a very nice place. For 400 you can get a wowzers place. What kind of life do you have now? Are you used to country clubs and private drivers? Sorry to be direct, just trying to understand your situation. Many people come from very privileged backgrounds and would not move if it entailed a drop in quality of life. Others are middle class families that all of sudden have the prospect of mum quitting her nursing job and becoming a trailing spouse in a new culture.
    I think you really need to talk with your family and see what your expectations are for your new life. What kind of commute are you looking for? 15min? 1h? Will your wife be driving? How old is your child? Will he/he be in (pre) school, if so, have you looked at schools/day care? What will your wife do while you are out all day? Is she hoping to work? It’s possible immigration won’t give her permission to work even part-time. Anyway, as you may know, many expat assignments fail(=end prematurely or deemed ineffective) and the main reasons are family stress, isolation/alienation and inability to adapt the new culture and lifestyle. So plan ahead and don’t be a statistic 🙂 If you’d like some more advice or have precise questions you can mail me at elmaintokyo at gm…

    • Crunk says:

      Hi Nevaeh,

      Thanks again for that long reply and all the good info.

      Just so you can better understand, here is our situation.

      I’m French and my wife is American. We both live in Shanghai. It’s been 6 years.
      We are looking to relocate to Tokyo for various reasons. We don’t have a kid yet, but we are planning to, in Japan. Currently we both work.
      I a company general manager here, she’s a mental health counselor.

      I believe all the aspects related to the”new life” will not impact us that much since we’ve been living for a while abroad.

      Yes Tokyo is not Shanghai, but on the other hand, it’s not like we would be moving there without knowing where we would land and what we would find..
      Like I said in a previous post, my questions are more aimed towards what we could afford with a single income such as this one.

      At the beginning, she would probably not work, but later on would try to establish a private practice, like she has in Shanghai.

      Our quality of life is good here in Shanghai, but the cost of it is not the same. Not that different, despite the cliches, but still slightly lower.

      So even though I have been many times to Tokyo, I don’t have any knowledge about real estate there, what would be good etc..

      I will prob shoot you an email to discuss further, to have more info.

      Again, thanks for your advices and help on this.

  • Shoiti Nishimura says:


    Seeing these numbers, I still saying that Japan is cheap if compared to Brazil. I am having trouble living in Sao Paulo!
    I am thinking about return to Japan next year!
    When I was living in Japan, most precisely, Chiba. I used to pay 90000JPY for a 2dlk! Yeah, Seeing these posts, I think I lost a lot of money renting a 90000JPY “apato”. But the location i chose was very near chiba Station and very close to my job, so i could save time and money with transportation.

  • You can live in a sharehouse for dirt and get a 3-month data-only sim card for google voice on amazon with and live 200% cheaper than in the united states while keeping your telecommuting usa job. I do it every other 90 days as my visa allows. Young people: dont believe the hype. Tokyo is as expensive as your standards and social pressures make it out to be.

    • Courtney says:

      Great Post and great words as well i also do telecommuting work and i would like further tips

  • Crunk says:

    Hi everyone.
    I would like to have your opinion about a level of salary.
    I have been offered 15M/year.
    My wife and I have 1 kid, and would like to know how to perceive the offer.
    I have been dozens of times to Tokyo, but never long enough to judge what kind of “life” is possible with this kind of yearly income
    Of course I am guessing that is is enough, but I’d like to know what I could do or not, can afford(apartment for example) or not.

    Thanks in advance

  • everythinggoes says:

    Anyway to live in Japan permanently, while you are looking for job? Can pay for own expenses etc.


  • pd1986 says:

    English teacher living in Minako City, Iwate Prefecture (Tohoku) – this is my 5th year

    Rent: ¥58,000 (including parking) 2DLK
    Gas: ¥3000 ~ ¥4500
    Water: ¥2000
    Electric: ¥300 ~ ¥4000
    Home Internet: ¥4000
    Mobile Phone: ¥8000 (iPhone 6+ with Softbank, voicemail, white plan)
    Transportation: ¥4000 (the company pays part of this back)

    My position is a driving position – so the company provide a rental car which I pay 18,000 towards per month.
    They cover ¥1200 towards transportation to and from school – the rest i pay for because it’s personal use.
    I play futsal one a week for free with a local group
    I play tennis 3-4 times a week with a local group (100-200yen per night)
    Pension and National health is about 40,000 per month (every month)
    City tax is about 38,000 (only 4 payments throughout the year)
    i spend about 30-40000 per month on food, eating out, and lunch for school

  • Anthony Joh says:

    Received this summary from a user in Saitama. Good info for anyone with a family.

    We live in a 5DK house in Saitama and now have 2 junior high school kids. We have about 6.5 million yen family gross income a year (400,000 yen net monthly) out from husband7s fulltime job, and my part-time teaching. We own a car as well with 2 parking spaces.

    List of costs (per month/year):

    1. Monthly Amort. : 70,000 yen

    2. Yearly House tax: 110,000 yen (about 10,000 yen monthly)

    3. Yearly Car Tax: 40,000 yen (3,500 monthly)

    4. Car license/Shaken and maintenance every 2 years: 150,000 yen~ (or 6,000 monthly)

    5. Gasoline per month: 8,000 yen just around Saitama, (more if we go to Tokyo by car once a month)

    6. Electricity: 20,000~ (in summer or winter) we use IH cooker these days; only 1 room with aircon at a time to conserve energy; fan in other rooms)

    7. Gas: 8,000~ for water heating/bath mostly (more if we cook using our gas range)

    8. Water: 3,000/month

    9. Internet (high speed broadband): 7,500

    10: 2 Iphones/Ipad/kids’ mobile ph: 30,000 yen

    11. Food: 80,000~ (with once a week restaurant lunch/dinner)

    12. Transportation: 3,000 (mostly for kids) (husband and I have company-paid train passes)

    13: Health insurance: 45,000 yen + 10,000 yen (30% of medical check-up costs/ dental, etc).

    14. Other utilities cost, bicycles, gardening cost, etc: 10,000

    15. Children’s Miscellaneous School Expenses and uniforms: 50,000 yen /month (Elem to JHS public schooling in Japan is free)

    Total Monthly Expense: 354,000 yen per family

    (With very little saved each month, we need extra jobs to be able to raise more funds for overseas travel, education, furniture, gadgets, appliances, etc.). As we own our house, I could use one room to earn extra (English tutorial/Eikaiwa) on days when I’m not teaching in the university . Hope this gives you a glimpse of what life there is in Saitama.

  • バリオスガジャルド ナディア says:

    Out of curiosity I converted how much I pay for my own bills here in
    Sweden compared to japan. I used to live in Tokyo before.
    The cost would be a total of ¥113800. And i do not live in a capital city. Guess it’s not only Japan being expensive :P. Although many small things cost money in japan. Most of my money was spent traveling to places by train.

  • MD Jennesell says:

    We live

  • James says:

    How you were able to live with that salary? I’m new here in Tokyo and the numbers somewhat scares me.

  • Hugo van der Heide says:

    Living in Kayashima, Neyagawashi. About 30 minutes from big places like Umeda and Dotonbori.

    Rent: ¥64.000 (2-3 person house to this cost can be split)
    Gas: ¥4500
    Water: ¥3000
    Electric: ¥5000 ~ ¥5500
    Home Internet: ¥1800
    Mobile Phone: ¥0. (I have a phone from work)
    Transportation: ¥9,700

  • Erin Fellows says:

    How does the cost of living for two people compare, on a teacher’s salary? I’m looking to teach English and would like to be able to live with and support my boyfriend while in a mid-size to smaller city. He knows programming and may be able to find some freelance work coming from the U.S., but we are still curious how we might fare on one teacher’s salary alone. We don’t party and would probably balance cooking and eating out. Thank you for your perspectives on this; it offered quite a few valuable points that aren’t included in other articles I’ve read so far. Great stuff!

    • emi says:

      Im a teacher in shinjuku supporting both myself and my boyfriend while he looks for a new job.
      Full time teachers salary can start from 180,000 a month based on experience, ALT work salary varies. We get by with little to spare right now but if I can manage in Tokyo then you should be fine outside of the city!! My salary is a little short of 300,000 a month

    • Jamming James says:

      As someone who lives in a medium-sized city and was supporting myself and my wife on my English teaching salary while my wife was between jobs, I think I can give you a good idea of what to expect.

      The total cost for rent, gas, electricity, water and internet for me comes to about 80000 Yen. On top of that you then have to take into account food, mobile costs etc. For me though, the total cost of everything, including fuel, car costs and 2 mobile contracts, comes to about 140000 Yen a month.

      It is definitely do-able, but like Anthony said, you will need to budget carefully to make it work. You and your boyfriend seem to be like my wife and I; dont party a lot, cook at home mostly and eat out occasionally. We are mostly homebodies, but even then we had enough left over to go to the movies, take a few trips etc. My point is, in a medium sized city, a teaching salary should hold you both over but you wont have the luxury of not having to take money in account when making deicisions.

    • Anthony Joh says:

      It would depend on which city you live in but I would say that to support two people on a teachers salary would be tight. Not impossible but you’d have to budget very carefully.

      After taxes you’d probably clear a little less than ¥200,000. Budget at least half of that for rent and housing costs. Plus transportation, mobile, food etc.

      The other thing to think about is that if you are both native English speakers you can pick up some private lessons on the side to add to your income.

  • Mariela Rodriguez says:

    Hi! Cant even tell you how incredibly usefull this is for someone wanting to go to Japan. Thank you guys SO MUCH!
    Any ideas how to get an average of utilities costs for a restaurant in Tokyo? ♥

  • Anthony Joh says:

    Thanks Tumble. Great to have info from Osaka.

  • Tumble Witt says:

    I live in Osaka, near the water.

    Rent: 71,000 for a 2DK somewhere between 35-40 sqaured meters.
    Electric: 3,000-8,000 depending on whether I need to heat the apt.
    Water: 2,100
    Internet: 5,000 for wicked fast speed
    Gas: 3,500ish
    Cell phone: 6,300

    Food: 40,000 ish if I eat out a fair bit… more if I spend more than 3 nights a month out partying in town. But I dont usually.
    Trains/cabs: 8,000-15,000 my company pays for a commuter pass into Nara which gets me across town for free. If I go somewhere off my line I have to pay though.

    Taxes/ insurances: 17,000ish a month

    With my salary, even after all that I can save about 70,000 yen a month if I don’t go overboard.

  • ankur kulshrestha says:

    I would like to know prices of vegetables in Japan, Specifically nagoya. Can anybody help me with that?

  • Kumar Sai Smaran says:

    I am studying at a University near Nomi-shi,near Kanazawa, on the western coast of Japan.

    Rent : ~12500 yen per month

    Electricity+ Water + Gas = 5000 yen +

    Phone :8000 (softbank iphone)

    TRansportation : 0 yen (from dorm to university)

    But, University is in a remote place. Even to reach Kanazawa it takes more than an hour.

    Health Insurance : 15000 per month

    City tax : 75000 yen yearly

    Food expenses : Around 35000 per month (being vegetarian,it’s more expensive at times)

    This adds upto around 70000 per month .

    Apart from this, yearly tuition fees is around 267900 yen (if waiver is sanctioned), else this amount gets doubled

    This adds upto roughly 93000 per month or 115000 per month.

    Being remotely located, a return trip to Tokyo by train costs as much as ~29000 yen.

    Given the monthly salary of 140 000 yen, it hardly adds upto any savings, since a trip to home also costs a good deal of money.

  • Tiriri says:

    Living in Copenhagen, I would say that’s a pretty cheap rent! lol

  • Tchuk Rolley says:

    A lot of good information on this article. What about if you own a house or an appartment, is there any tax? If so, how much is the tax per year?

  • Bryan Baier says:

    Niigata City (on the Sea of Japan Coast 200mi north of Tokyo) monthly costs
    Rent (in Niigata near a university) w/parking space and internet: ¥34,000

    Electricity (depends on the season): ~¥2300 (summer min) – ¥6,100 (winter max.)
    Water (billed every 2 months): ¥4,000
    Gas: ¥10,000

    iPhone: ¥13,000 (avg.)
    Kokumin Health Insurance: ¥19,700
    Residence Tax: ¥17,000
    Food: ¥25,000-¥30,000 (eating out frequently)
    Lease Car (rental fee, maintenance and insurance): ¥34,000
    Gasoline: ¥12,000

  • Gunma Guest says:

    Ota-shi, Gunma. 1h15 from Asakusa station in Tokyo (Monthly costs):

    Rent 42,000 (furnished Leo Palace, about 20m2)

    Electricity: 2,500

    Gas: 2,500

    Water: 2,000

    Phone: 8,000

    Internet: included in rent

    Transport: bike/foot

    Food: 30,000 with a bit of home cooking but regular eating out.

    Health Insurance: 2,200

    Habitation tax: 7,000

    Income tax: 5,000

    TOTAL: 101,200

    Gross Income: 230,000.

    Disposable Income: 128,800 (approx. $1,288)

  • Ryan says:

    I live in Sagamihara, about 45 minutes west of Tokyo by train.
    Annual salary: 4.3 million yen
    List of costs (per month):
    1. Apartment (2LDK, ~50 sq. meters): 89,000 + 5,000 for maintenance
    2. Electricity: ~7,000 – 10,000
    3. Gas: ~3,000 – 4,000
    4. Water: 2,000
    5. Internet (high speed broadband): 4,500
    6. Cable: 3,000
    7. Mobile (iPhone + reg. flip phone): 8,500
    8. Food: ~50,000 (for myself and wife)
    9. Transportation: < 1,000 (I bike or walk most of the time)
    10: Health insurance: ~2,000

    • 8fold4noble says:

      I noticed you listed approximately 50,000 yen for food each month for you and your wife. Is this an error or no? That’s approximately $500 a month for food.

      • Susie says:

        50,000 sounds good to me, for two people. We spend about 80,000Y per month (two adults, including packed lunches, eating in season, local produce). We are very remote though, so that affects things. And there are no conbinis (yes, really!) or restaurants here – everything therefore has to be cooked from scratch.

        Gas – 10,000 summer, 15,000 winter – this one breaks my heart every month. We experimented with only washing pots in cold water this month so hoping it’ll be lower. Clearly can’t do that in the winter. I have no idea why this is so ridiculously expensive.

        Electric – 7,000 summer, 11,000 winter – we don’t scrimp on aircon or heating, so I don’t mind paying this, it’s worth it!

        Mobile – 7,000 x 2 – I think this, although standard, is shocking. My home country offers loyalty discounts for contract renewal and free upgrades – here you have to pay for the upgrades and the contract would have gone up by 2,000Y each per month! So, we have 4 year old phones now…

        Internet – 7,000

        Water – 3,500

        Commuting – 10,000 for me, other half bought a cheap bike, worked out great in the long run.

        No TV, cable or car – can’t afford it!

  • Anthony Joh says:

    Thanks for posting everyone! So good to get an estimate of what it costs to live in Japan and Sweden 😉

  • Stephen Tetsu says:

    I live in Mito, about two hours north of Tokyo by train.

    Below is a rough estimate of my monthly costs:
    Apartment: 45,000 (1/2LDK)
    Electricity: 4500 (It’s winter and thus higher)
    Water: (included with my rent)
    Gas: 5000 (Once again, it’s winter)
    Cellphone: 8000
    Internet: 3700
    Transportation: I walk to work so 0
    Food: 35,000 (being really liberal with my guess here. Could be more but probably less)

    My overall gross income is roughly 2.8 million yen a year.

  • kokuyo says:

    I live in Edogawaku, Tokyo (closest station 15 mins walk, ~40 mins to Shinjuku Station, ~20 mins to Tokyo Station

    (Japanese Yen)
    Apartment: 43,000 (1R)
    Electricity: 3000-5000 (highest during winter)
    Water: 3000
    Gas: 2000-6000 (highest during winter)
    Mobile: 8000
    Internet (ADSL): 7000
    Transportation: 8,000
    Food: 30,000 (I don’t cook, I usually buy at the convenience store. the weekly or occasional dine in the restaurant is not included. 3000-5000 per meal, it depends on the restaurant and what I order)
    Dental fee: 2x a year “cleaning” ~ 1500 yen per visit
    Inhabitant tax: 150,000 annually

    GROSS Annual income: 2.8 M

  • Katarina says:

    I would say that all the above mentioned cost are similiar to if you live in Stockholm, Sweden. It doesn´t however say how big the apartment/house is for the mentioned rent. But for instance in central Stockholm you may easily have to pay 10.000 SEK (roughly 148.000 Yen) for a 2 room apartment. If you live in a suburb the cost drops with 1-2000 SEK.
    The food here in Sweden is expensive though and it is expensive to eat at a restaurant (if you don´t choose Subways or similar).

  • Bernie Low says:

    I live in Nishinomiya city in Hyogo prefecture (15 minutes from Osaka/Kobe via express train). For reference, I’m a university student.

    Rent: JPY 52,000 (fully furnished with small kitchen, washer and dryer. It’s an apartment that I rented from/through the uni)
    Water: JPY 1000 – 2000 (depending on how much I use)
    Electricity: JPY 2000 – 4000 (It’s 4000 and higher when I use the air con/heater rather frequently)
    Internet: Included in rent
    Phone: JPY 5200 – 7000 (au; 7000 if I call often. Includes unlimited data)
    Transport: JPY 5990 (3 month train pass to campus), <JYP 5000 for non-campus commuting
    Food: ~JPY 30000 (based on home cooked meals, school cafeteria and conbini)

    Does not include leisure expenditure, health insurance and other misc costs

  • Elizabeth says:

    Living in Sapporo, my rent is JPY 78,500 for a 8.1 x 5 x 5 (tatami mat size) apartment.

    In winter, my bills can be high but that’s mainly driven up by having pets, meaning I leave an electric radiator on while I’m out. This drives the electric bill up to as much as JPY 15,000 and gas can be JPY 6,000 – 8,000. Summer is cheaper!

  • Nevaeh says:

    Just wanted to give a slightly different perspective, that of living in central Tokyo in a tower apartment. Thought it might be useful to those considering a move, especially because my expenses are much higher than those previously mentioned for the capital.

    Rent: 150,000 for rent and administration fees (1LDK mansion on the Yamanote line)
    Water: 4,000 / Gas: 6,000 / Electricity: 7,000-18,000 (depending on the month/usage – that’ll be the ACs, this month we’re over 20,000) / Internet: 3,500 / Phone: 6,000
    Transport: Company pays for regular commute, apart from that about 10,000 including a few taxi rides.
    Gym membership: 10,000
    Food: 50,000 – I usually prepare all my food and take a lunch box to work. If you’re not picky about what you eat (gyudon/soba/ramen/conveni) I feel it’s actually cheaper to eat out for lunch.

    When I lived in Tokorozawa (Saitama) the rent was 80,000 for a brand new apartment, great place if you have no issues with 2+ hours a day on overcrowded transport to commute to Tokyo.

  • Kenneth Lee says:

    I live 1500KM away from Tokyo in Kagoshima. Below is my living cost as uni student for reference

    Rent: 4700 (international student dorm, single room)
    Water+Electricity+Gas: 8000yen ++
    Home internet:100yen
    Phone: 8000(softbank iphone)
    Transportation: almost 0yen (1km from Dorm to Uni. 10minutes by bicycle.
    Food: 15000~25000yen (depend on the season)
    Insurance: 1600yen per month(kokumin hoken)

    Total Monthly Basic Expenses = about 45000yen

    Monthly Income ( Tutor for Uni and Part time at restaurant) & Scholarship
    Scholarship sponsor by local Kagoshima company 40,000yen/month
    Tutor income from Uni: 450,000yen/annual or 37500yen/month
    Part time at restaurant : about 30000+-

    Total monthly income = 107,500yen.

    Monthly income – Monthly Basic Expenses = about 50,000yen left
    Thats how i pay my university school fees 260,000yen annually (after 50% subsidy discount)

    • himal says:

      hello..i find this artixle 3 yrs old.. can you plz let me now present day’s living expenses in kagoshima..

    • Fransisco TS says:

      Wow, university dorm in Kagoshima is sooo cheap :O

      • Kenneth Lee says:

        Yeah. Kagoshima is a great place for foreigner student. the rent is cheap, the town is small (almost anything you need can be access within bicycle travel distance). But it is furthest away from capital city which is deadly.

  • Anthony Joh says:

    A listener emailed me his list of expenses. Thanks so much for sending this!

    Place – Yamanashi
    ¥2,000,000 annual salary

    Rent: ¥60,000 (3LK 55m2)
    Gas: ~ ¥3000
    Water: ~ ¥3500
    Electric:~ ¥4000

    Home Internet: ¥3000
    Mobile Phone: ¥4000
    Transportation: ¥0 (bike/foot)

    Health Insurance ¥8400 (monthly)
    Pension Insurance ¥15000 (monthly)
    Inhabitant Tax ¥150000 (annually)
    Income Tax ¥50000 (annually)

  • Teal says:

    Just for comparison, I can list my expenses in the inaka.

    Rent: ¥23,000
    (this is subsidized, but real prices are not much more- maybe ¥350 per month. People often voluntarily move out of our tiny subsidized apartments and into normal ones)

    Gas: ¥3000 ~ ¥4500

    Water: ¥2500 (ish)

    Electric: ¥3500 (ish)

    Home Internet: ¥5500

    Mobile Phone: ¥7800

    Transportation: ¥35000 (you must have a car here)
    Kerosene: ¥4000 in the winter.

  • Jessica Fuller says:

    I live quite far away from Tokyo; Kurume (about 30 min. from Fukuoka) and here’s what my expenses look like:

    Rent: ¥34,000 (it comes with a TV, microwave, and wash machine)
    Water: ¥2,500
    Electricity: ¥2,500 – ¥4,000 (depends on the weather/season)
    Internet: ¥1,600 monthly (not wireless, provided by my apt.)
    Phone: I have no phone
    Transportation: ¥0 – ¥2,000 (I can usually walk everywhere in my town, and only take a bus when I am needed at another school)
    Cable: ¥6,100 (it came with the apartment and I’m working on canceling it)

  • Fransisco TS says:

    I live outside of Tokyo, which is Chiba city in Chiba Prefecture (about 40 minutes from Tokyo station via express train).
    My monthly expenses are as follow:

    Rent: JPY 19,000 (cheap because I live in my campus’ dormitory. Normal dorm costs you around JPY 50,000)
    Water: JPY 1,000-2,000 per two months
    Electricity: JPY 6,000-8,000
    Gas: none. We’re using electric stove and water boiler.
    Home internet: included in rent fee
    Phone: around JPY 6,100 (Softbank)
    Transportation: around JPY 3,000 (less if I walk to campus often)
    Food: around JPY40,000

    The expenses above do not cover shopping, and travel expenses on weekends or holidays.

  • For Anthony’s part, very well assembled and presented – I hope listeners find it useful!

  • Daniel-Rey Ocampo says:

    So true. This just leaves you with roughly ¥30,000 for food allowance.

    • te says:

      i hope to live in jpan 4 years . for learn politic . can I get work at disco pub . or massage some partime job



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