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Tokyo ranked 3rd most expensive city in world for expats

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HK won't hold that title for long.

Go Ashgabat!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Seems to me that this is one "top of the list" kind of things that ANY city in the world would want to avoid!

Being the most expensive is hardly a badge of honor! Just makes people think twice (or more) about living there!

Not to mention that "cost" does not equate to "quality of living"! For all the good things about Tokyo that people talk about, it is not the most convenient place in the world to live.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Did they check the prices at the 100 yen shops?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Not worth it either.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

When they estimate the cost of living they don't include city tax, pension and health insurance. These three mandatory payments add up to around 35% of one's salary. Add to this the 7-10% income tax and nearly 50% of your salary is smoked before you even get it. Then, look at the rental prices and their extra fees of three months rent in advance that is never seen again from a very short list of rentals that are available to foreigners. And, don't forget about an extra month's rent when you renew your lease, for nothing! It's easy to see that Tokyo is expensive to live. However, a large percentage of the expense is made up from rip-offs and money for nothing!

23 ( +25 / -2 )

Keep in mind that "expat" in this context merely means those who are here on company's expense, live in azabu juban, have meals at michelin-graded restaurants everyday, and don't interact with the locals.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

very short list of rentals that are available to foreigners

(reads newspaper) Well, there it is, the dumbest thing I'll read all day.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Seems to me that this is one "top of the list" kind of things that ANY city in the world would want to avoid!

I agree Yubaru, but I think for some in the expat club, it is a kind of badge of honor, and of course they are not paying for most things so they don't really care.

I remember a colleague of mine whose wife worked on a base as a teacher and he would always tell people that his rent was a quarter of a million yen a month. Even though as a DODS teacher it was all paid for by their housing allowance. Also Y250 000 is not a lot of money for rent, but it sounded good.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Loc Tite -

very short list of rentals that are available to foreigners

(reads newspaper) Well, there it is, the dumbest thing I'll read all day

Well, there it is! The most naive thing I’ve read all day. Obviously, this person has never tried to rent an apartment in Tokyo or any other city in Japan.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Obviously, this person has never tried to rent an apartment in Tokyo or any other city in Japan.

Only about ten properties in twenty years....

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

I know expats who happily pocket most of their "housing allowance" because they are happy to rent an ordinary apartment as Japanese would. Yes, Japan is expensive if you want to live in a Western style home and eat Western style foods all the time. But it's far cheaper than many places otherwise, taxes, insurance and fees for residents aside.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Ashgabat ? No thank you.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Tokyo is expensive because of the taxes on salary and businesses and housing. But housing is made expensive mainly for expats by a few very dubieus real estate Companies such as Ken. With ridiculous rents, deposits which indeed are very rarely ever returned and the new scam of forcing you to use a “ guarantor” company” also 100% owned by Ken. In any other country that would be illegal. The guarantor fee Replaces for them the old key money.

For the rest life in Tokyo is cheaper than in most main global cities. In any case those of us having lived in many countries will agree London Le by far the most expensive city to live in.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

And, don't forget about an extra month's rent when you renew your lease, for nothing!

I’ve never had to pay that.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Doesn't that mean the cost of living the same lifestyle as in New York or in the USA? If you live like a native it will be just as cheep as for a native.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

the rankings are so easily skewed by fx fluctuations it’s not even worth paying attention to. Go visit any country which has had real inflation over the last decade (ie USA) and you’ll go back home thankful how affordable it is to live over here.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Why do white people call themselves "expats" when they migrate to another country, and all the other races are called "immigrants"?

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Loc Tite -

Obviously, this person has never tried to rent an apartment in Tokyo or any other city in Japan.

Only about ten properties in twenty years....

All with your Japanese wife, no doubt. Try and rent one by yourself as a foreigner. There’ll be 20-30 properties in your area and price range, but only two or three will accept foreigners - if you are lucky!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Go visit any country which has had real inflation over the last decade (ie USA) and you’ll go back home thankful how affordable it is to live over here.

But are salaries in Japan as high as they are in the US? I’m not American, so I don’t know. But these cost of living indexes include average salaries and purchasing power. So what appears to be affordable or expensive to a foreign visitor, may be very different for locals. Japan has low inflation, but salaries are also stagnant. My own salary has increased a mere 3.2% in nearly 10 years with my company (and I received a small promotion). My wife’s salary is the same after 4 years with her company.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But are salaries in Japan as high as they are in the US? 

Maybe not, but surveys show that my part of the world, Vancouver, is "the least affordable place on Earth." Others include San Francisco, Sydney, etc. (Hong Kong is technically No. 1, but the stats are skewed b/c a significant portion of residents live in subsidized housing.)

Tokyo is perhaps the most affordable global capital of all.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why do white people call themselves "expats" when they migrate to another country, and all the other races are called "immigrants"?

I would not say white people in general call themselves that, I would say it's more the native English speaking countries.

I don't like it either.

I am a Pole and don't call myself expat.

Its funny how even English teachers call themselves expat. Or YouTubers.

Makes me laugh and cringe at the same time.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Good grief, it is cheaper to live here than British Columbia Canada.

Yes, if you live in Shinjuku or any other Beverly Hills area of Tokyo you are going to pay through your nose for food and housing. If you live in the outer areas of Tokyo like Adachi-ku the rents are about half, food is cheaper and you get the bonus of not having to own a car which you have to maintain, insurance and gas. My rent is a little high, but my food is super cheap 5 carrots 80 to 100 yen all year round, fresh onions and bananas same and eggs and the list goes on. When I saw the cost of fresh vegetables the last time I went to Canada my stomach just dropped and I don't think I could afford to eat them daily like I do here.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

If you want to complain about the high cost of living, why not live somewhere else?? I have lived in and visited Japan on business for almost 40 years and there is a myth about how expensive Japan is to live in. That is because Japan wants people to think that it only has high class luxury living and expensive food which is garbage. Sure if you go to the posh neighborhoods and restaurants you will spend a fortune but the smaller neighborhoods and mom and pop restaurants offer a lot at reasonable prices and great food. I recently visited my in-laws in Shizuoka city and only paid US$ 84 per night for a 4 star hotel Associa next to Shizuoka Eki. The hotel is immaculate, well staffed, has English speaking staff although I speak enough Nihongo to get the job done. In the surrounding neighborhoods there is ample food and drinking establishments where I can have a meal and a few brews for US$20, try that in the USA and your sleeping in a motel 6 and eating frozen then deep fried fast food, yuk. You can find apartments for US1000/month in Tokyo that are not ghetto dwellings in the suburbs. Yes renting an apartment can be a challenge since foreigners are still considered a risk but if you have business contacts to vouch for your ability to pay or act as a sponsor then it is no problem. My rent was taken on the 1st of each month from my bank account through direct deposit so where is the issue, they got the money before I did. As far as being an expat or calling yourself an expat, that is a cute idea and typically used by (colonial type countrymen or women) foreigners overseas to make themselves sound more important than they really are.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

These stories are always the same. Yes, if your goal is to have a US lifestyle, eat US food, have US entertainment, yes, it is more expensive to do that in other countries than in the US. But if you are going to do that, why leave the US?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Farmboy very good point. Because as I said in a previous post, I’m looking to move to Japan. And it certainly not to live like I’m still in the US, I can tell you that much.

I visited Japan in December, and combined with 20 years of knowledge and stories from people who’ve been there, I just fell in love with it. I’m really hoping that I can move there in the next two years, so this coronavirus situation will probably push it ahead a little bit more. But still, it will be well worth the wait!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Well done JT for putting "for expats" in the title, as this is almost always omitted in every media outlet when this survey comes out as it does annually, and is a fundamental difference and crucial point. Which a few comments here still seem to have missed,,,, it's not for natives but people dispatched abroad by a company, with certain accommodation and living conditions which mean you don't/won't live in Adachi-ku, and shop at Daiso.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Pay so much and get so little in Tokyo plus the absolutely miserable commute. My uncle made the right choice to work in Europe for many years and he has a new Mercedes to drive to work and just built a huge house.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

When they estimate the cost of living they don't include city tax, pension and health insurance.

Because the "corporate expats" concerned by the survey, they don't care. It's their company that pays that for them.

But are salaries in Japan as high as they are in the US?

For "corporate expats", they are the same everywhere.

Why do white people call themselves "expats" ?

Why do people "not white" call themselves "expats" ? Maybe because that's what they are, technically.

A migrant is someone aiming to settle in the new country, often bringing in a family and eventually acquiring the nationality. An expat is there for a while, or longer but as a part-time resident (like the retired expats in Portugal/Thailand...). OK, sometimes, you don't know, you're in between the 2 situations. In Japan, they make it easy : all foreigners are considered as an expat.

I am a Pole and don't call myself expat.

You're what ? A tourist ? An explorator ? A spy ?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Not at all an accurate picture of the cost of living for a permanent resident living on this economy. We have a much harder time making ends meet on a tenth of the salary and benefits. Most of these guys live in places that rent for multiples of what we make a month.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@justasking

Why do white people call themselves "expats" 

Um, because non-white people are also called "expats"? While visiting Hong Kong, my hotel was in an area popular among "Korean expats," according to my guidebook. In Bangkok, Thaniya Plaza is popular among Japanese expats, as any Bangkok denizen will tell you.

A lot of anti-white hate on this board these days, and naturally, it's based on misinformation, fake news, lies, etc.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@Yubaru

Not to mention that "cost" does not equate to "quality of living"! For all the good things about Tokyo that people talk about, it is not the most convenient place in the world to live.

Almost all my adult Japanese eikawa students say they love Tokyo because it's the most convenient city in the world. I don't agree but that's part of the mix. I've always lived in Kanagawa.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Pay so much and get so little in Tokyo plus the absolutely miserable commute. My uncle made the right choice to work in Europe for many years and he has a new Mercedes to drive to work and just built a huge house.

Europe? A bit vague, isn’t it? Which country? Which city? City centre? Suburb? Semi-rural?

Try building a huge house in the London area.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Rubbish

. I rented a single room condo (Kanagawa, Zama Station), wood flooring, central heat / air / gas / water / WELL BELOW what you would pay for an apartment here in NE Florida.

Of course if you MUST have “Space”, then by all means, spend your entire monthly salary.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I actually find it easier to save money in Japan because things are actually quite cheaper. For example, you don't need a car to live in most Japanese cities so no gas, parking, or insurance costs etc. You don't have to leave a huge tip when you go out to a restaurant or bar and health insurance is more affordable compared to the corrupt US system. Alcohol is cheap in Japan if thats your vice, and healthy food is also affordable if you can cook your own meals. I do agree though, up front Japan looks expensive with the key money and deposits and renewal fees, but you can get around that if you're patient and learn Japanese. These days they're desperate for tenants so you can negotiate a better deal. I think if you're an expat and you want to live a certain comfortable western lifestyle, then yes, maybe Tokyo or Japan isn't for you.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Rubbish . I rented.....

You personal anecdote does not disprove the general truth that most expats are finding Tokyo to be a very expensive place to live. Could they live cheaper in Tokyo? Sure. They could live cheaper anywhere by living in a tent in some forgotten corner of a city I am sure. But that's not the point. Tokyo was ranked third via a survey of actual costs of some number of random people. That's how these things work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Disillusioned. Local tax (city, ward, etc.) is 10% and pension / health about 16% = 26%, not 35%.

National tax varies according to income.

These sort of surveys are a bit misleading because they refer to expats in the sense of (usually) well paid expats with company housing, tax equalization, kids' schooling, home leave, club membership, etc. (I know because I was one of those expats for many years). I am no longer on an expat package, having started my own business a few years ago.

Personally, we find the overall cost of living in Tokyo lower that the equivalent style of living in San Francisco.

Take dining out, for example. In SF we typically spend 30-50% more for a very similar experience. The cost per dish has risen a lot in SF where $30-$35 for a main course is fairly common. $15+ for a cocktail, wine is generally 3x retail price, and the expected tip these days is 20% - or more.

Japan, first of all, no tipping. Cocktails - not as common, but when available around $10. Wine similarly priced. Quality - depends on where we eat in SF - same in Japan, but in Japan the better places are usually smaller owner-chef operated.

Housing - sure $5,000 - $10,000 rents are what many expats pay because they want to be in the heart of the city, or close to their kids' school, or have a house that is as big as, or nearly as big as, what they lived in (especially if they are coming from the US). I've had many younger, singles or couples, tell me that renting an apartment in Tokyo is actually cheaper than renting in SF (I know a number of tech related people, so using SF as the example). A 1-bedroom, 650-800 sq. ft. apartment in SF will go for a minimum of $3200. Similar can be had in Tokyo for $2000 or less. Sure, there are pricier places if one insists on living in the "gaijin ghettos" areas os Ebisu, Hiroo, Azabu, etc.

Many of the other comments have mentioned similar things, of course, so this may be repetitive, but it's worth repeating to avoid the fallacy that "Japan is SOOOO expensive.!"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tokyo is a different planet from the rest of japan.

In Kansai local Restaurant ¥2400 for 2pax.

local people give vegetables for free.

tokyo will bankrupt itself because they don’t care about other people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is exactly one of the reasons Companies from Hong Kong will NOT relocate to Tokyo (or even anywhere else within Japan). Added to that the high Corporate and Personal Income Taxes and you've got a lot reasons to go elsewhere.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is so expensive for families, not for single.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

These stories are always the same. Yes, if your goal is to have a US lifestyle, eat US food, have US entertainment, yes, it is more expensive to do that in other countries than in the US. But if you are going to do that, why leave the US?

Oh, come on! McDonald's isn't that expensive in Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The rankings are made by considering a basic set of requirements that such an expat "Family" would require and how much it would cost to have exactly the same within each Country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Opening your window in Tokyo will often give you a prime view of the building’s wall next door-not for this expat...!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The problem in Japan, is that everyone thinks if you work here, you get paid way lots more than anyone else in the World, therefore, they can charge more.... that, used to be the case, maybe 30 years ago, but now... no longer.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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