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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 8 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 no longer one of the most expensive cities in the world. In fact, it dropped ten spots on Mercer’s 2023 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 ¥293,333 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 in 2024 according to Suumo, one of Japan’s biggest real estate websites.

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 65,000 71,000 87,000 109, 000 130,000
Arakawa 70,000 80,000 111,000 163,000 176,000
Bunkyo 80,300 87,000 152,000 215,000 279,000
Chiyoda 103,000 104,000 180,000 282,000 484,000
Chuo 97,000 98,400 172,000 246,000 322,000
Edogawa 60,000 70,000 87,000 115,000 145,700
Itabashi 65,000 75,000 99,000 125,000 152,000
Katsushika 56,000 71,000 83,000 111,000 136,000
Kita 68,000 80,000 115,000 159,000 183,000
Koto 81,000 90,000 125,000 189,000 218,000
Meguro 86,000 97,000 155,000 235,000 284,000
Minato 109,000 110,000 205,000 324,000 487,000
Nakano 69,000 84,000 130,000 162,000 190,000
Nerima 63,000 73,000 105,000 122,000 138,000
Ota 70,000 79,000 117,000 148,000 180,000
Setagaya 72,000 86,000 135,000 174,000 234,000
Shibuya 95,000 103,000 186,000 299,000 479,000
Shinagawa 80,000 88,000 150,000 215,000 269,000
Shinjuku 79,000 95,000 158,000 241,000 308,000
Suginami 66,000 80,000 125,000 155,000 196,000
Sumida 80,000 87,000 135,000 173,000 183,000
Taito 81,000 94,000 144,000 194,900 224,000
Toshima 70,000 84,000 130,000 191,000 240,000

Upfront costs of renting a Japanese apartment

Now that you’ve settled on a Tokyo apartment within your price range, make sure you have about quadruple or more of the monthly rent to be able to move in. In Japan, there are several upfront costs aside from the usual security deposit you might be used to back home. Some of these upfront costs are tied to Japanese culture, so it’s important to know what exactly you’ll be paying for.

Maintenance fee or 管理費 (kanri hi) 

Aside from the rent, some buildings require an additional maintenance fee for common areas. This isn’t a set price but keep it in mind as you decide which apartment to rent. It can go up to an additional ¥10,000 of your monthly expenses (not including gas, water or electricity).

Security deposit or 敷金 (shiki kin)

Usually equivalent to one month’s rent. This will be used for repairing any damage found at the end of your stay. Sometimes, it’s used when you prematurely end your apartment contract or can’t pay your rent.

Advance rent or 前家賃 (mae yachin)

This could either be one or two month’s rent. It’s expected to be paid before moving in hence the “mae” (before) in mae yachin.

Key money or 礼金 (reikin)

Key money was once a common practice due to the aftermath of World War II when housing was hard to come by. This fee goes directly to your landlord as a sign of gratitude and goodwill for having them rent out their apartment to you. It’s non-refundable but nowadays it isn’t as common. Still helps to stay prepared though.

Guarantor fee or 保証会社費用 (hoshou gaisha hiyou)

Quite possibly one of the “cheaper” things you’ll have to pay for is the guarantor fee at about half a month’s rent. This fee is paid to an agency that will act as your backer if you can’t pay your rent. In some cases, you can opt to ask a Japanese national to act as your guarantor.

Agency commission or 仲介手数料 (chuukai tesuuryou)

This will cost you around a month’s rent. Going through a real estate agency is one of the best ways to negotiate rent, find “foreigner-friendly” apartments and have paperwork go smoothly. Apartment hunting in Japan through a rental agency makes apartment hunting much less overwhelming.

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 1K is around ¥96,000.

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?

Photo:
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 ¥100,000 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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