Japan is stunning, and if you are a lover of travel then you’ll be disappointed as traveling to other countries can be expensive, too.

Japan is extremely adaptable, making it simple to live in either environment. There are various ways to live on less money if that’s what you choose to do.

Japan offers numerous opportunities to enjoy a lavish lifestyle if that is what you choose.

Life Energy Costs

Japan is known for its expensive living expenses and especially Tokyo that is a regular inclusion in the list of the top ten cities with the highest cost of living. 

Rent typically accounts for the majority of the cost of living in Japan and is then transportation and car ownership. But, living in Japan doesn’t have to be costly, and costs can be controlled dependent on where you’re in the country, by utilizing local goods, and being able to live within your budget. Here is a rough guide that includes estimates of monthly expenses for a single individual living in Japan.

Accommodation And Utilites

Some of the most expensive properties is located in central Tokyo and contributes to the reputation of Tokyo as extremely expensive. However, prices can range from tiny, cheap apartments of approximately 10 square meters up to extravagantly priced luxury homes in the city’s most desirable areas. Outside central Tokyo there are housing costs that are considerably lower, particularly in the suburbs, around prefectures, and in other cities and regions of Japan.

The national average monthly rent that does not include utilities for a studio home (20-40 sq m) is between 50 and 70,000 in yen. The rent for similar-sized apartments located in the center of Tokyo and other popular areas close by typically start at about 100,000 yen. Gaijin homes, on the other hand, are cheap and are a great option to think about for those looking to remain in the city and do not want to live in traditional apartment buildings.


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Mobile phones are available for those who have a valid residence card as well as have a Japanese banking account. Traditional subscription plans start for around 6000 yen a month and discount operators offer lower plans starting at around the 2000-yen mark per month.

People who want internet access at home must look into purchasing an internet-connected device for their pocket (monthly costs starting at 250 yen) or registering for the broadband internet or fibre optic (monthly costs starting at to 4000 yen). In the alternative, wifi hotspots that are paid and manga cafes are other choices for internet access.

Household Goods, Services And Entertainment

Refrigerators, white household goods such as washers, refrigerators, as well as other household appliances in addition to TV sets, stereos, computers and cameras are offered at big chain stores for electronics such as Yamada Denki, Yodobashi Camera and Bic Camera, home centers and second-hand shops such as Off House. Japanese hypermarkets with chains like Aeon as well as Ito Yokado, and interior stores for goods like Nitori and Muji have inexpensive furniture and household products as well as international stores like Ikea provide affordable foreign goods. Online retailers such as Amazon and Rakuten offer a huge range of household items.

100 Yen Stores offer many different items such as kitchenware and stationery priced at 100 yen per item (plus the consumption tax) and are affordable for those who wish to furnish their apartment inexpensively.

The services like haircuts in Japan are an experience by itself, as Japanese hairdressers are known for their excellent service. Prices start at 4000 yen cutting. A haircut usually includes the washing and blow drying and occasionally an easy head massage. However, there are other areas where one can have a short haircut for about 1000 yen.

To entertain, cinemas (ticket costs range between 1000 and 2000 yen) Karaoke establishments (hourly costs start at 200 yen) and game rooms are common in cities. Theatre performances and live performances are staged throughout the year. The major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka are known to host greater numbers of live shows by popular international and local artists. Tickets start at approximately 6000 yen, depending on the seating.

Groceries And Eating Out

Making your own food is cheaper than eating out and if you’re one the people who prefer to know what they’re eating while saving money, this is the ideal combination for you.

Local supermarkets are fairly inexpensive when you adhere to Japanese foods such as seasonal produce and seafood as well as soy bean products. The pre-cooked items can be bought at reduced prices just prior to close time at night. It can be beneficial to look around at the various supermarkets close by to determine typical prices in terms of quality, selection, and discounts on certain days.

The cheapest restaurants, that serve full meals between 500 to 1000 yen. These are those that offer noodles (ramen as well as soba, udon and ramen) Donburi (for example beef donburi) curry rice as well as bimbip (Korean doburi in the style of Korean) hamburgers, and many other types of meals. You can find them within large train stations, as well as in business zones.

A meal at a regular restaurant is priced between 1000 and 3000 yen however there is no maximum cost limit with regard to high-end restaurants like Ryotei. At lunchtime most restaurants provide cheap Teishoku (set menus) for around 1000 yen. Lunchboxes (bento) can be sold at convenience stores and department stores, at train stations as well as at stand-bys in commercial zones are also an excellent value.

Cafes, both artisanal as well as chain coffeehouses, can be found in all cities. The average cup of coffee in the chain of coffeehouses is about 300 yen. However, prices at cafes that are boutique tend to be a bit more expensive.


Cheap clothes are available in the department for clothing of chain hypermarkets, such as Ito Yokado as well as basic stores for clothing like Uniqlo. Boutiques and department stores may have more trendy designs, but they also generally are more expensive. Be aware that Japanese sizes are generally slightly smaller than North American or European sizes as well as tall or large sizes might be hard to locate.

Bookshops that sell English magazines and books are usually found only in more upscale bookshops located in major cities. However, several websites have a huge choice of titles aswell in shipping internationally.


Commuters are able to purchase commuter train passes that allow unlimited travel between their workplace and home for a set period or for multiple months. A lot of Japanese companies cover the majority to or even all their staff members’ train travel costs. There are a variety of discount deals are available for trains in Japan however, residents of Japan can’t use many trains passes, including those offered by the Japan Rail Pass. Discount rail passes for foreigners who reside inside Japan comprise JR Tokyo Wide Pass, JR Tokyo Wide Pass and the JR Seishun 18 Kippu amongst several others. Take a look at our Guide on Japanese train tickets for more information.

It is a efficient way to get around, particularly if you reside in a city. Parking for bikes is readily available close to most railway stations as well as shopping malls. Local buses in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka add to the subway and train systems and are the principal transport option for public transportation in cities that have lesser train networks, as well as in suburban areas.

Taxis are available in all cities close to train stations . They could be the sole method to get around after trains and buses cease to operate at midnight. Taxis can also be an economical alternative for short distances when traveling with small groups, such as three or more.

Car ownership in Japan is expensive because of the compulsory annual inspections (shaken) as well as the obligatory insurance, an automobile tax and the cost for parking (in major cities). However, the cars are reasonably priced and the smallest new models beginning at 1.3 million yen. Expressways are subject to fees.


Cost of living in Japan will vary greatly based on your location along with your lifestyle, and your expected expenses.

However the cost of living in Tokyo and Osaka can be more costly than in rural areas.

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