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What is the average cost of living in Japan?

14 Comments

Japan once had a reputation for having a high cost of living. Previous surveys such as the one by global consulting firm Mercer, have shown that Tokyo has dropped ten spots. Currently, Tokyo holds 19th place, well behind Hong Kong (1), Singapore (2) and Shanghai (12) for the most expensive cities to live in.

Despite the lower ranking, the question remains for people who want to move here: “Can I afford to live in Japan?” The answer is still “yes!” Here’s what you need to factor in to understand how much it costs to live in Japan.

Calculating the Cost of Living in Japan

The cost of living measures the balance between how much money you need to spend to live your daily life and how much you earn. It goes without saying that the higher the cost of living, the less money you have left. Our calculation is based on local data, so you can work out what it costs to live in Japan, not just on the glossy surface of its capital.

Average Expenditure of a Japanese Household

The latest data on food spending from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in 2023 shows that the average national food and drink expenses for a household of two were ¥72,399 a month. That included ¥5,614 for cereals such as rice, bread and noodles, ¥12,504 for meat and fish and ¥12,191 for fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Utilities, including electricity, gas and water, cost ¥21,169 on average per month for two. Although we can’t do without these services, we can always conserve our usage and trim our expenditures. Check out our tips on saving money in Japan article for ways to do that.

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Transport and communications services are estimated at ¥36,472 a month. Other monthly figures include ¥11,187 for furniture and household products, ¥7,190 for clothing and footwear, ¥15,641 for health care supplies and equipment and ¥54,074 for miscellaneous spending such as beauty services and entertainment.

All these expenditures add up to a total of ¥218,132 for two people. Or ¥109,066 for one person if we half that and round up. To that, we need to add the sizeable sums of rent, taxes and social insurance.

Rent in Japan

One of our biggest living costs is rent. Tokyo is home to Japan’s most expensive properties, as all realms of real estate: offices, shops and housing all compete for space in the metropolis. Data from Japanese real estate leasing company at Home tells us that the average monthly rent for a one-room, or studio apartment in Tokyo is ¥94,694. It drops significantly once you look in Osaka, at ¥58,859, and further still in one of Japan’s most rural areas, Hokkaido, where it’s just ¥34,081. The average of these three figures is ¥62,544.

Taxes, Pensions and Health insurance

Click here to read more.

© GaijinPot

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

14 Comments
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What is the average cost of living in Japan?

Whatever the number, it will increase more and more.

-11 ( +11 / -22 )

the average monthly rent for a one-room, or studio apartment in Tokyo is ¥94,694. 

That seems rather low — too low. Perhaps that includes a lot of undesirable accommodations inside “metro Tokyo,” which would extend beyond the 23 wards.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Perhaps that includes a lot of undesirable accommodations inside “metro Tokyo,” which would extend beyond the 23 wards.

Yes, information about Tokyo may, in fact, include all of Tokyo, not just the parts you personally prefer. Groundbreaking.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

That seems rather low — too low. Perhaps that includes a lot of undesirable accommodations inside “metro Tokyo,” which would extend beyond the 23 wards.

After reviewing the data source, I see that the Tokyo rent is for an under-30-square-meter place inside Tokyo’s 23 wards. Surprising.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Those numbers are for bare minimum, not the average. Meaning you can live in an 1 room sharehouse, eat from 100¥ stores and use a 3rd hand bicycle to go to work.

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

3,808 a month on liquor for 2 people? Are the drinking The Brew?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Our monthly food bill is 50% more than in the article. We don't buy expensive items. Our Utilities are also 50% more. We don't buy alcohol.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

We don't buy alcohol.

I would argue that the couple being cited don't buy alcohol either.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Eating out at 9,483 is odd, must be only eating at Matsuya.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Had a very nice lunch today from a department store in central Tokyo for 1,000 yen. That would just about cover the cost of the tip in the US and the food wouldn't be as good.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

“Based on the average annual salary, these taxes add up to 40% of income. Broadly speaking then, that’s around 40% of your earnings taken care of.”

This says that if your income is average, ¥300,000 per month, you get to keep just over half of this and with living expenses at ¥160,000 that doesn't leave a lot over!

I was chatting to a Chinese guy a few weeks ago. He lives in Hong Kong and runs a bar there. Out of interest, I asked him what he took home every month. He said, ¥600,000. I then asked him how much of this he kept after taxes, etc., and he said most of it.

What is going on, Japan?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Nonsense Japan is way more expensive than they state !!

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

¥3,446 on fruit? I suppose that could be about 50 bananas each for a month.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Japan can be as economical as you want, you just have to know how to look for the economy, and not make so much drama with the cost of living.

If you want something more expensive, then start producing more money...

Plain and simple..

LOL

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

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