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A reader moving to Japan asks how much a month it would cost to live here comfortably. How much does it cost you?

42 Comments

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If you are single, 300,000 yen. Way more if you have a family.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Depends on where you live. Tokyo will cost you probably between 100.000 and 200.000 more if you want to live comfortably. But since many people mean Tokyo when they say Japan, it's not quite clear. In the countryside under normal conditions you can live just fine by yourself for around 200.000 - 250.000. Even if you have a family you should be fine under 300.000 even though this would question the comfortable part. You might want to inform yourself about "hidden" costs. There are some taxes and some fees you have to pay in Japan that aren't immediately obvious to most newcomers. Also expect things to be generally more expensive than you're used to but that can also depend on where you are from. If you lived in Europe, Japan will feel like the most expensive country in the world. (which it probably is or at least close to the top)

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Living a fairly good life in Yokohama, including eating out fairly often, costs around Y250,00. A little more some months.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When I lived in the countryside, ¥3.6 million/year was a comfortable salary for a single person, and anything over ¥5 million was living quite well. With a family, I'd say to live comfortably in the countryside, you'd want at least ¥4.5 million.

In Tokyo, I'd probably add at least a million to these values. If you are making ¥4.5+ million/year in Tokyo, you can live fairly comfortably as a single person, and anything over ¥6 million is pretty solid. With a family, I'd say to be comfortable, you need at least ¥6 million. It's always going to be a little tight with less than that.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Depends what you consider "comfortable". If you go on regular trips, go out a lot, want to live decently, you'd probably need to be looking at a salary of 6~7 million+ for Tokyo. It's definitely possible to survive in Tokyo on 4 million, but your quality of life would fall significantly.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Not enough information. Are they single? Fresh out of university? Married with kids? Are they expecting to live in the heart of Tokyo or the suburbs of Niigata?

If they are moving here to work as an Eikaiwa teacher, then I would suggest that they are 20 years too late to make it worth their while. If they have landed a proper job, where they can take home at least 300,000, then they may have a chance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

About a million a month.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

With a family, to lead a comfortable life, you need to aim for a salary of minimum 6 million a year. Fortunately I'm well above that so things are good. If you are single, well, get a job paying at least 5 million I would say. What I don't understand is how these English teachers live here. I know they're doing their best, but Japan is so expensive and we are taxed to death!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

In Tokyo - 300,000 if you're single, minimum 500,000 yen if you have one or more kids. I have a wife (not working) and 2 young kids. My salary of 550,000 yen is enough, but I'd like to make over 600,000 yen to "live comfortably."

3 ( +3 / -0 )

We saved ¥1.5m a year by moving from a nice-ish area of Tokyo to a pretty drab area ( with a nicer flat ) just outside its border. I split the rent with my partner. If I were single in a smaller apartment in the same area, I'd say I could live ok off ¥250,000 a month.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Based on first world standards, living comfortably would be at least one overseas holiday a year (a given to Europeans), a decent place to live, and to be able to afford a newish car (one per adult in the countryside) if you want one. Maybe some savings (shock horror!) too. By those standards, I don't think that many people in Japan actually do live comfortably. Fewer than you'd think from per capita GDP alone.

I have three kids under 11 and many families with kids of similar ages look like they are being supported by money from the kids' grandparents.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

if you are like many short timers and don't pay into the pension system or citizen tax you can make less and have much more disposable income, but after the first year they will start charging you citizen tax (shiminzei). many are shocked out of their fruit of the looms getting into a high spending pattern the first year then getting that little packet of tax vouchers from the city their second year that eats up ALL the disposable income.

Longer term for a single guy 250,000/month should do you fine unless you are a drug addict, or heavy gambler, or have really high tastes. With a family I would double that, and remember as a man the wife will take your entire paycheck as is local custom. Ghosh bless the working man/woman.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Many, many people young and older earn the minimum wage of around 120,000 to 150,000 per month. This is poverty. Japan has the lowest minimum wage of OECD countries surveyed. You will need to have a job that pays 250,000 to 300,000 yen to live decently in this country. Out of that you will be paying citizen tax, pension and health insurance.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

WHERE in Japan does this person want to live and what kind of lifestyle do they want?

In Okinawa, we spend about 120,000 yen per month for basic living costs, apartment, groceries, utilities, etc.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Ooh, Bertie, you scavenger you, ha ha, well, while I respect your thriftiness, I believe I have you beat, being as how I spend under 100,000 yen for that stuff in Tokyo. Don't ask me how I do it, lol

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I spend under 100,000 yen for that stuff in Tokyo. Don't ask me how I do it, lol

Yes it's possible, I'm the same! That includes beer =)

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wrembreck, is that real beer? Try Suntory's new autumn 3rd category beer "Aki no Shunaji " it's drinkable, lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Serrano, I'm half German half Australian, I know beer =)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Single in rural Kansai - 115.000 per month for food, apartment, utilities. Health insurance is based on age, income and location. Income tax is based on income.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Let's see my place between 2 Universities is 51man and 10 min walk to the station for a 1k which is enough for a single person.

Refurbished with an aircon, unit bath and IH and I still get 8 man for food, etc Utilities are under 2man. No complaints here.

Area is quiet too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Two kids here, 60k for food, 90k for rent, 15k for bills + phone (I read on my 5 year-old phone, never needed any data plan), 50k for children's classes, overall under 250k monthly. The rest go to various savings.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If you lived in Europe, Japan will feel like the most expensive country in the world. (which it probably is or at least close to the top)

Europe ? From countryside of Poland going to Tokyo or from Genève going to a village in Tohoku ? I'm back in Paris area, and roughly I'd say I pay everything double than in Osaka.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The key part of the question is what does the askee consider living "comfortably"? One person's "comfortable" is another person's "slumming".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I need 500 000 a month to cover costs so anything above that goes towards the 'comfortable' part of the question.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Mistype earlier on my rent is 51.000 and my Utilities don't exceed 20.000, rest of 130.000 goes towards good, travel and hobbies.

You can live cheap here but don't expect the same comfort/luxuries as back home.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is it possible to live comfortably in Tokyo?

Tokyo is far too noisy and crowded, and the same goes for other big cities in Japan. If you want to live comfortably, it is better to live in the countryside, but if you have to commute to Tokyo, you cannot live comfortably. To live comfortably one should be able to have a car to drive and importantly park with ease.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A lot of posts in this thread seem to be talking about how to live cheaply in Japan, or how much you can live on. But the original question was how much to live comfortably.

The original question was on how much necessary to live comfortably.

My thoughts are that to live comfortably, you need enough to cover your living costs at a point where you aren't feeling the need to keep everything as economic as possible. You need to be able to afford a place large enough that you don't feel cramped. You need to have enough left over after your basic living expenses that you can buy things that you want within reason and go out for dinners and/or with friends a few times a month without having to cut from other areas. You should be able to travel at least once a year. And after all that, you need enough to have money left over to save for and/or invest in your future, and your family's future if you have children.

So this is more than what you can get by on, it's what you need in order to be comfortable. See my previous post for what I consider to be the bottom numbers that fit this lifestyle.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There's lots of open country in Japan, apparently. "The Fifty Dollar and Up Underground House Book" comes to mind.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In central Tokyo, for a family of 4, about 6-700,000 per month, not including tax & housing

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

my wife is doing 8 night shifts as a nurse, pays 35000 yen per night shift.... can rent house buy food and pay all bills.. and save money for 3month thailand . living outside the hell ... in a quit area near hachioji... winter time we spend 3month in thailand, cost for this is 100000 yen per month.... rent house and motobike food and pay all bills... life in japan can be heaven if you disconnect yourself from the nonsense system...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It all depends on this person's definition of living comfortably. I don't make a lot of money, but because my hobbies are cheap (reading and watching tv) I never have a problem with money and feel that I'm living comfortably.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Comfort varies according to the individual, imho.

Just find it strange when people pay more for a "comfortable" Apartment when the rent exceeds the average Salary-man's income.

I am not living in a cheap area aka Musashino-shi.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As an absolute minimum I'd say 200k-250k, but given the word "comfortable" I'd double that (preferably even more) if you're talking Tokyo. Maybe a 100k-150k less in the rest of the country.

But the information is pretty scarce. I.e. if you plan to bring your family of 7 over here, well... maybe aim for 1m upwards. ;-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

As an expat you will be paid more than a local hire, I was offered the same package as my japanese colleagues.

Heck the rent of 600-700/month alone would have bought me a big property in the suburbs and still within a 1hr commute.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Live comfortably in Tokyo? Not possible, at any price. Not unless you can afford to reduce the number of people, reduce the amount of concrete, and clean up the air.

Out in the sticks, it's a different story. A single person with no responsibilities could probably do quite well on around ¥250,000 a month, very well on ¥350,000. It depends on what you consider necessary to your comfort.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

¥350,000 after taxes and all salary deductions is enough if you are single. With this, you should be able to save around half per month, and be able to eat healthily, maintain a car etc....

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree, many cheap properties even in the center of town or most popular areas.

Hint: use a local Japanese estate Agent. ;)

Most of the ones advertised here only cater for the expats with a padded wallet..

This is true for JT, Metropolis and more English catering. Sites and publications.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's not that expensive to live alone or as a couple, but the range, as people have noted, is really wide, depending on your location and needs. With some construction skills and language skills, you can even find a dump for almost nothing someplace and fix it up. You're happy, and the owner is happy. If you have kids, however, the amount goes way up.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How do you define "comfortably"?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am fresh out of university - Studied Finance and Investments - Will I be able to locate to Japan and work in my field and live easily?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I am currently working in a Japanese IT company and received payment of 4m per year. I work OT every day so my gross salary increased to about 5m ++ per year. 

I am curious whether did you all include the OT money as well? btw, I am living in Tokyo and with my current salary I can save about 50% of my salary per month(Sadly single).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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