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How Much Is the Average Rent in Tokyo?

Learn what the cheapest and most expensive areas are for living in Tokyo.

By 6 min read

Everyone wants to live in Tokyo, but not everyone has the budget to afford a high-rise apartment in Shibuya. Not everyone is willing to commute out from the inaka (countryside) either.

To help you get the most out of your rent money, let’s go through the average cost for different neighborhoods in Tokyo and some tips for finding the right place to live—for the right price.

Is Tokyo expensive?

Tokyo is huge. Prices will vary depending on where you want to live.

Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world. It made the number 10 spot on Deutsche Bank’s annual Mapping the World’s Prices report in 2019 and is the third most expensive city for expatriates on Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey.

However, you’ll often hear from people that Tokyo isn’t “that expensive,” which isn’t false, depending on your location and lifestyle. Indeed, the Deutsche Bank report lists the average price for a “typical” Tokyo two-bedroom apartment as US$1,903 (¥203,730).

Following the 30 percent rule, you would need to earn around ¥679,000 per month to afford that “typical apartment” and still live comfortably. Most landlords won’t even rent to you unless you can prove you make three times the cost of rent per month.

Prices drop once apartments get more than ten minutes away from a station.

Most readers are not making that kind of bank. The average salary of someone in their 20s in Tokyo is around ¥280,000 per month.

Plus, Tokyo is a big city. Within it are 23 wards, each large enough to be their own city, 39 smaller municipalities and even a couple of islands. Rent differs greatly between them all. You’ll find that the realistic price of a”typical” apartment is much lower. Especially if you use GaijinPot Housing Service, which offers credit card payments and no guarantor required.

Here is a quick look at the average price for each ward according to Japan’s National Association of Real Estate Transaction Associations.

Note: rent prices are indicated at a per month rate, before utilities and other maintenance costs.

Average cost by ward

Tokyo Wards Average cost per month by Japanese apartment size
1R 1K–1DK 1LDK–2DK 2LDK–3DK 3LDK–4DK
Adachi 55,700 59,000 70,500 97, 500 122,300
Arakawa 62,600 70,100 93,600 120,400 163,600
Bunkyo 73,300 80,600 123,400 202,900 269,100
Chiyoda 98,900 118,800 191,300 326,100 687,300
Chuo 97,400 115,400 180,500 231,800 328,800
Edogawa 56,400 62,800 75,100 110,300 138,700
Itabashi 54,200 64,800 85,100 109,600 136,700
Katsushika 52,600 59,900 69,700 98,500 132,500
Kita 57,800 68,300 94,600 141,000 149,900
Koto 68,300 79,100 97,100 169,200 195,500
Meguro 80,500 86,900 141,800 182,700 310,000
Minato 127,100 128,800 246,000 468,600 866,200
Nakano 59,600 71,300 105,000 136,300 173,000
Nerima 53,800 63,900 83,300 104,000 133,400
Ota 64,300 72,600 101,100 144,000 204,100
Setagaya 69,400 72,000 101,700 161,800 236,700
Shibuya 97,100 103,500 206,000 351,100 529,300
Shinagawa 78,800 86,900 138,600 220,400 272,700
Shinjuku 77,300 89,700 144,000 210,100 268,000
Suginami 59,900 68,600 100,400 139,200 181,300
Sumida 65,400 80,600 95,200 130,700 182,500
Taito 71,100 89,500 121,000 170,900 209,300
Toshima 64,900 74,000 105,400 158,800 235,200

Which ward should I live in?

Which do you prioritize more: budget, space or commute time?

While many of us would prefer a large home to stretch out our legs, some of us would willingly give it up for a 30-minute commute to work even if it costs more than 30 percent of our salary.

If you work in the outer wards, such as Nerima-ku (ward), you can find a lovely home within the ward without spending more than 25 percent of your salary, and you won’t have to commute very far. Then you can travel to the more exciting wards such as Shibuya on your days off.

You may have to spend more than 30 percent of your salary for as little as 25 square meters.

If you want to live and work in the more expensive wards, you may have to spend more than 30 percent of your salary for as little as 25 square meters, depending on the apartment’s age and distance from the nearest station. But if a quick and stress-free commute is more important to you, plus easy access to downtown Tokyo, go for it.

Keep in mind that living further away from a train station will also save you money. Prices drop once apartments get more than 10 minutes away from a station.

Can I afford central Tokyo?

Premium location, premium prices.

Unsurprisingly, central Tokyo has the highest rent prices. Like any other city: if you want to live downtown, you have to pay a premium. It is, after all, the heart of Japanese business, politics and bureaucracy.

Tokyo’s central wards are:

Minato-ku, home to most big-name companies, embassies as well as foreigner-favorite Roponngi, is the most expensive place to live in Tokyo. Chiyoda-ku, where you’ll find the Imperial Palace, is a close second. And if you dream of living close to shopping and entertainment meccas like Shibuya and Ginza in Chuo-ku, you better be prepared to lay down a lot of cash.

Central Tokyo’s border wards are a good middle ground

Todoroki Valley in Setagaya-ku on the Oimachi line.

Meguro-ku lies right alongside Shibuya-ku. Don’t get us wrong, it is still pretty expensive. It has slowly matured into one of Tokyo’s most cultured and trendy wards. Search along the popular Toyoko train line, and you’ll start finding 1DK apartments for around ¥90,000 that will offer you convenient access to Shibuya-ku and Minato-ku through the Hibiya line.

The Oimachi line is another excellent line that runs through Shinagawa-ku and Meguro-ku with convenient transfer to greater Tokyo. Still, it’s close enough to affordable Ota-ku and Setagaya-ku, where the average price of a 1DK is around ¥72,000.

Of course, these are options if your goal is to live close enough to central Tokyo without feeling the pressure.

What are the cheapest wards in Tokyo?

The view of Skytree from Minamisenju in Arakawa-ku.

Generally, the farther out you go, the cheaper the apartments will be. The eastern- and northern-most outer-lying wards are the most budget-friendly wards in Tokyo:

Spending around ¥70,000 can score you a sizeable 1LDK apartment of at least 40m. You’ll feel like an absolute king living in that kind of space compared to what you’ll find closer to central Tokyo. Moreover, they might even be modern, brand new homes. The only way you’re going to find that kind of space for anything near that price in central Tokyo is if the apartment is older than your parents. It all depends on your priorities.

Outside the 23 wards

You could consider living outside the 23 wards if you really want to save some money. If you choose a reliable train line and a large station, there’s not much difference in lifestyle. For example, a train to Shimbashi station from Wako City, which is just over the border in Saitama Prefecture, takes 40 minutes. It’s on both the Yurakucho and Fukutoshin subway lines. You can explore greater Tokyo’s many train lines here.

Ready to move in? Be sure to read what you need to rent an apartment in Japan. Share houses are also an increasingly popular option; with some interesting options like social apartments that offer a luxury living experience for a fraction of the cost. You can read more about finding an apartment in Japan in our Japan 101: Moving In and Moving Out section. Good luck!

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