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16 Dec 2019

Cost of living in Japan

Japan has a reputation as having a high cost of living. According to the 2019 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Tokyo ranked 2nd out of 209 cities, right after Hong Kong. Living in Japan, especially in Tokyo, you are likely to spend a large proportion of your monthly expenses on rent.

Cost of living in Japan

Cost of accommodation

Tokyo is the top major city in Japan; most expats love to stay in Tokyo rather than in other cities. Yet, the rent in Tokyo is way more than other cities. A small apartment or studio apartment in Tokyo can cost you US$850. You may also need to keep in mind that living in the center area of Tokyo can be a 40% increase in rent. However, the rent can be much lower in cities other than Tokyo. A similar apartment in Osaka can be half price of that in Tokyo. 

Cost of Food

Although the 10% consumer tax has been imposed, most food is exempt. According to the data from the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, the average national food and drink expenses for a household of two between January and May 2019 was US$600 a month. Depending on where you choose to eat, dining out in a local Japanese restaurant can sometimes be more affordable than cooking by yourself at home. However, having western food may cost a lot.

Cost of Transportation

Commuters can purchase train commuter passes for unlimited travel between places, that can helo save a lot. In fact, some Japanese companies also subsidize the commuting cost. Taxis can also be easily found in almost all the cities near the train station. It is more expensive, but it can be an affordable option for shorter distances if traveling in a group. Owning a car in Japan means a bunch of costs, including mandatory bi-annual inspection fees, mandatory insurance, tax, and parking fee. However, the cars themselves are relatively inexpensive. New cars are most likely to start at under US$9200.

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