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Cost of Living in Tokyo, Japan

Surprised that everything in Tokyo costs much more than in, for instance, Osaka? Don’t be! The living cost of Tokyo is high and it only makes sense that some things are more expensive here.

However, it’s not nearly as expensive as many people think, when you take into consideration the good value you get for that money, when it comes to the quality of the products.

Of course, there are super expensive things, but other things are reasonably priced and you could still live there for a decent amount of money if you try.

Restaurants

RESTAURANTS

The food, if you want to eat outside, is relatively expensive, but worth the price given the quality and variety. Tokyo also has excellent food, and you can try meals like Takoyaki, Okonomiyaki, Kushikatsu which are really famous and gorgeous dishes and you can find them in some non expensive restaurants, too. The best advice is to ask the locals.

Markets

MARKETS

Fruit is very expensive everywhere in Japan, but apart from that, you can actually find good deals on meat at markets, as well as some cheap original Japanese veggies. Japanese supermarkets offer cheap, fresh and versatile products and if you plan on cooking all month, it will cost around 400$ monthly.

Transportation

TRANSPORTATION

Train transportation is obviously an expensive thing in Japan, something that draws more money than other means of transport. However, their system is very organized and worth every penny. However, the prices of all types of public transportation are at least 30% higher because this is Tokyo – the single most important Japanese city.

Utilities

UTILITIES (MONTHLY)

If you live in a larger apartment of about 85m2, the basic utilities like gas, electricity, heating and cooling will cost you almost 200$ which is actually pretty steep. The price of the bills goes up during winters and summers (heating and cooling affect your wallet greatly). Still, this isn’t very high if you live and work in Tokyo.

Sports and leisure

SPORTS & LEISURE

Though we know sports is a luxurious pleasure in Japan, it is actually even more expensive in Tokyo! A membership in a gym or a fitness club will cost you a whopping 90$! The same goes for having some fun visiting cinema or theaters during your free time: just one cinema ticket costs as much as 17$.

Clothing and shoes

CLOTHING & SHOES

As everything else, clothing and shoes are a bit more expensive in Tokyo then in other cities in Japan. You can expect an exciting city brimming with fancy shopping malls – among other things. Though they are more expensive than in, say, Osaka, the prices of clothes aren’t as high as you might expect.

Rent per month

RENT PER MONTH

Rent still takes up most of the expenditure, and this is painfully obvious in Tokyo. Now, if you’re looking to rent an apartment in the city center, you won’t find one below 1000$ and if you want one outside of the city center, it will cost you over 600$. It would be smart to leave half of your (Japanese) salary for rent, and the other half for everything else.

Cost of Living Averages Table for Tokyo

Average Restaurant Prices
Meal (Inexpensive Restaurant) $ 9.21
Domestic Beer (0.5 Liter) $ 3.69
Water (0.33 Liter) $ 0.96
Average Market Prices
Milk (1 Liter) $ 1.68
Loaf Bread (500g) $ 1.71
Eggs (12) $ 2.07
Average Transport Prices
One Way Ticket $ 1.84
Monthly Pass $ 92.14
Gasoline $ 1.33
Average Utilities Prices
Basic (Water, Electricity, Garbage, Heating, Cooling) $ 193.00
1 min. of Prepaid Mobile Tariff Local $ 0.42
Internet (Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) $ 42.60
Average Leisure Prices
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult $ 89.29
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour) $ 27.01
Cinema, 1 Seat, International Release $ 16.59
Average Clothing Prices
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Comparable) $ 59.32
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, etc...) $ 41.57
1 Pair of Adidas Walking Shoes (Mid-Range) $ 74.57
Average Rent Prices
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Center $ 1075.46
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Center $ 678.77
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Center $ 2509.14

How Does the Average Person Spend Their Money in Tokyo?

An average person from Tokyo spends most of their money on food, which makes sense – this is the most common situation for the entire world.

It especially makes sense because food and, specifically fruit, will cost you a lung in supermarkets.

The next piece of expenditure is the rent. The rent in Tokyo really isn’t that shockingly high, like it is in Ireland, for example, but it is still considered expensive.

Since transportation is about 30% more expensive in Tokyo then in the rest of Japan, it only makes sense that it is the next expense on the table.

9%
35.5%
10.5%
7.4%
7.7%
2%
28%
Restaurants
Markets
Transportation
Utilities (Monthly)
Sports & Leisure
Clothing & Shoes
Rent Per Month

Tokyo: Average Salary, Minimum Wage & Mortgages

Life in Tokyo is definitely expensive and at a high standard, but so are the citizens’ paychecks and minimum wages.

A minimum wage in Japan amounts to 1400$ which is more than Japan’s average and definitely enough for an average citizen of Tokyo to make ends meet.

In turn, the average monthly net salary is almost 3000$, and that is plenty enough of money to just relax, live comfortably and have enough money for everything you need.

Tokyo has, arguably, the strongest economy and the highest standard of all other cities in Japan.

Average Salary$ 2955.59
Minimum Wage$ 1412.8
Mortgage Interest Rate1.33%

Cost of Living by City in Japan

*Click the name of the city for more information.

City Cost of Living Index
Osaka 74.53
Tokyo 84.78

2 Comments

  1. Hannah Whitehead

    One of my friends is obsessed with Japanese culture, so much so that he moved to Tokyo 3 years ago. He works in IT and earns just over the average, lives in a shared apartment so rent is cheaper and rides a bike everywhere he can. Needless to say, he’s doing great for himself in Tokyo, really great prospects for people there. Can’t wait to visit!

    Reply
  2. Yuki

    I’m a Japanese woman living in London, seriously considering a move to Tokyo to connect with my heritage. How is it finding a job there and obtaining citizenship? I speak fluent English and Japanese so perhaps I can find work in translation or teaching English in schools. Any help is appreciated! Thank you.

    Reply

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