Cost of Living in Japan

April 12 , 2021 by: Amanda Goh

Japan has one of the highest cost of living in the world. In Japan, you can spend up to 300,000 JPY (2,700 USD) a month.

If you are considering moving to Japan, you should take note of their cost of living.

One of the reasons why Japan has the highest cost of living is due to them prioritising high-quality goods and services. This means that their food, clothes and even service are expected to be of the highest grade. Thus, their desire for these items comes with high costs.

Another reason as to why Japan has a high cost of living is as their everyday goods are mainly imported into the country. Due to import costs, their products tend to be more expensive on average as compared to other countries.

Japanese ally. Photo by Evgeny Chebotarov on Pexels

Housing and Utilities

Tokyo is known to be one of the most expensive cities in Japan and having some of the world’s most expensive land. However, depending on where you reside, rent can vary from cheap to pricey.

If you want to reside in Tokyo but are on a budget, you can consider moving to the outskirts where housing costs are lower.

Overall, Japan’s average monthly rent for a one-room apartment is around 50,000-70,000 yen. As mentioned, this price depends on where you decide to reside in Japan. Note that this price does not include the price of utilities, which could add up to 10,000 yen a month for one person.

Japanese room on Pixabay


While housing may be expensive, public transport in Japan is relatively affordable. Transportation in Japan is known to be fast and efficient, costing about 170 yes (1.5 USD) for a single ticket.

In Japan, the most common way to commute is by buses and trains. You are also travel between cities with buses and trains although you also have the choice of flights.

Cars in Japan, especially Japan brands, are inexpensive as compared to other countries. Japanese cars such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan are affordable, especially in Japan itself.

Coca Cola trolleybuss, Sapporo Japan, photo by Tycho Atsma on Unsplash


As mentioned, most food products in Japan are imported. Thus, they may be pricier than in other countries. however, you can find more affordable products if you stick to local products such as seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Pre-cooked food can also be purchased at discounted prices in grocery stores before their closing time.

Eating out in Japan can be both cheap and expensive, depending on your lifestyle preferences. An average restaurant can cost between 1000 yen to 3000 yen. In Japan, you will be able to find a variety of different foods and cuisines too.

Japanese Sushi by Kevin Petit on Pixabay


Japan is also known for their top-quality healthcare system. Public healthcare in Japan covers up to 70% of medical costs. However, it is still encouraged to get private health insurance in case of emergency. This insurance can also help to supplement the leftover 30% of the full medical cost.

Photo on Pexels

Final Thoughts

Overall, although the cost of living in Japan may be one of the highest in the world, you are still able to live on a budget. This means finding housing in the outskirts of the city to avoid their high costs and to opt for cheaper and local brands.

In Japan, there are also many budget friendly stores such as 100 yen stores that can help to save some money on certain products. These stores are great if you are on a tight budget and considering moving to Japan.

Of course, your cost of living will depend on your lifestyle and needs and can change as you adapt to the environment in Japan.

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