Cost of Living in Japan

Cost of living in Japan

It’s possible to have a fantastic time residing and working in Japan. Some people bring that knowledge home with them, while others use it to make a fresh start.

Several people on the brink wonder, “Can I afford to live in Japan, what is the average cost of living in Japan in dollars?” Despite Japan’s notoriety for being an expensive country, the answer is “Yes, and rather comfortably!”

The most important thing to remember is that, while Japan can be somewhat pricey for vacationers, it becomes much more affordable as a resident.

We’ll look at the average incomes, projected taxes, and other expenditures as well as accommodation, clothing, and utilities, today.


As a result, we can get a sense of how much money you’ll require to live and work in Japan. Each individual is unique, and also some individuals love to spend more often than others.

Continue reading to find out if working and living in Japan is a nice choice for you.

Can I live in Japan as a foreigner?

As a foreigner, residing in Japan may be a simple and fascinating journey, as long as you’re willing to brush up on your Japanese language skills and social ethics before heading off to the country of the rising sun.

If you plan to live in the city, public transit would make everything even more pleasant for you. Even though you intend to reside in the country, retailers are quite close by.

Courtesy, along with politeness and also being considerate, is crucial to the Japanese, and the hospitality here is unrivaled. The language barrier may be a source of anxiety for foreigners considering relocating here.

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Is living in Japan cheaper than in America? 

For several travelers, this is indeed a common question. You’ll know where you’ll receive the best bang for your buck if you figure out which country is somewhat more affordable. The cost of living in Japan per month largely depends on your way of living.


But we can estimate the average cost of living in Japan in dollars per week. Every week in Japan costs roughly $954 per person, whereas a week in the United States costs roughly $1,558 per person.

These distinctions become so much more apparent if you intend to stay in the country for an extended period of time. Traveling to Japan or the United States for ten days, two weeks, or even a month can add significantly to your vacation budget.

When evaluating the cost of living in Japan vs US, it is important to keep in mind that Japan has a slightly higher cost of living than the United States. It should be highlighted that accommodation in Japan is less expensive than in the United States ($129 vs. $202).

Below is a detailed comparison of the cost of living in Japan vs US.

Cost of living indexJapanUS
Basic meal with drink at an inexpensive restaurant$7.42¥840$14.25
Monthly public transit pass$103.43¥11,713$63.05
Accommodation (Typical double occupancy room) $129¥14,204$202
Middle school for 1 child, two semesters$12,146.82¥1,375,640$15,195.09
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax)$2,839.76¥312,032$3,554.24
Utilities (Monthly)$202.00¥22,196$165.21

Can I live in Japan permanently?

You can stay in Japan permanently if you have a permanent resident visa. You don’t have to renew your visa because it isn’t linked to your employment or partner. You’ll also have an easier time getting a loan from a Japanese bank.


As a single individual, you must have resided in Japan for 10 years or longer, with 5 of all those years spent on a work visa or other residential visa.

You’ll also have to show that you can maintain yourself without government assistance, that you’ve been paying your taxes, and that you’ve had no serious legal issues. 

Eventually, if the Japanese government determines that you have made significant societal, economical, intellectual, or humanitarian contributions to Japan after five years, you may be eligible for PR.

Cost of Living in Japan Ultimate Guide

How expensive is it to live in Japan? 

Japan has continuously been recognized as having one of the world’s highest average living costs. Daily expenditures can easily hit 280,000 to 300,000 JPY ($2,500 to $2,700).

These have made expatriates ask the question “What is the cost of living in Japan and Why is it so expensive?” The answer may be broken down into three categories: the country’s geographic location, Japanese culture, and Tokyo.


The cost of living in Japan is extremely expensive. Expatriates can enjoy a decent living in this city, although they will not save much money.

Generally, the nation’s economy is very solid, and it is noted for its ultra-modern, cutting-edge amenities. And besides, this is the place where melons are grown in square jars, causing the fruits to take on a rectangular, foldable form.

Most Affordable cities in Japan 


Fukuoka, on the island of Kyushu, is one of the most populous cities in Japan. It is the most populous city not just in the country, but also on the island. Throughout its lengthy history, the city has seen a large number of residents relocating to other nations.


Those who enjoy the outdoors will feel right at home here. The city is surrounded on all three sides by mountains. The fourth one is located on Hakata Bay, providing views of both the mountains and the sea.

The huge array of low-cost activities available in Fukuoka makes it one of Japan’s most affordable cities. There are numerous sanctuaries and shrines throughout the city, and that’s not all.

You can eat at one of the many eateries before taking a stroll along with one of the several beaches or playgrounds.

Expenditure detailsUSD($) YEN(¥) 
Health $68¥7,546
Market (Food) $5.68¥626
Transportation $101¥11,186
Utility (Monthly) $128 ¥14,071
Sport and Leisure $70.55¥7,771.43
Childcare (Annual) $20,242.14¥2,229,500
Clothing and shoes $72 ¥7,938
Rent per month$854¥94,192
Buy Apartment price$603.09¥66,425.12
Salaries and financing $2,504.62¥275,894.38


Kyoto, a nearby city, is only about 50 kilometers northeast of Osaka. The high-speed trains take just 13 minutes to travel between the two cities. Kyoto is ideal for those seeking a less frantic lifestyle, despite the fact that it is still a huge city with a population of over 1.5 million people.


Kyoto was the residence of Japanese emperors for eleven centuries before administration was relocated to Tokyo in 1869, making it a must-see for history enthusiasts With a plethora of Shinto and Buddhist temples, as well as historical monuments such as the Kyoto Imperial Palace, it is perhaps Japan’s cultural hub.

In accordance with the lifestyle there, you’ll find Kyoto to be a cosmopolitan city with a rich history and a wealth of stories and anecdotes, many of which go far beyond the famous foreign attractions It’s a stark juxtaposition to Tokyo, with warmer summertime, colder wintertime, and a bike-friendly design and layout.

Expenditure detailsUSD($) YEN(¥) 
Health $18¥2,000
Market (Food) $5.90¥651
Transportation $109¥11,994
Utility (Monthly) $151¥16,667
Sport and Leisure $83.00¥9,142.86
Childcare (Annual) $12,873¥1,418,000
Clothing and shoes $86¥9,500
Rent per month$951¥104,887
Buy Apartment price$484.95¥53,418.65
Salaries and financing $2,322.53¥255,833.33

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Most Expensive Cities to live in Japan


Osaka is an excellent choice for anybody that wants to reside in a huge, 24-hour Japanese city without paying as much as Tokyo. When it comes to important metropolitan cities, Osaka ranks right among the cheapest locations to reside in Japan, with a monthly rent of around 170,000 yen (roughly $1650).


Osaka is a port city and a significant commercial hub, with big electronics businesses like Panasonic and Sharp based there. Interestingly, in such a large city, it’s easy to get away from the corporate sphere with several cool neighborhoods including Namba, Horie, and Amemura offering great places to live, drink, eat, and explore.

Expenditure detailsUSD($) YEN(¥) 
Health $47¥5,125
Market (Food) $10¥1,121
Transportation $94¥10,249
Utility (Monthly) $159¥17,432
Sport and Leisure $83.65¥9,225
Childcare (Annual) $3,771.29¥1,550,000
Clothing and shoes $77¥8,397
Rent per month$1,039¥113,846
Buy Apartment price$745.03¥82,168.47
Salaries and financing $2,675¥295,039


Tokyo is Japan’s most popular tourist attraction. It’s in the heart of it all, which means it’s expensive in terms of proximity, cuisine, and mobility. Tokyo is without a dispute the most expensive city to live in Japan, if not the globe.


A one-bedroom apartment will set you back over $250,000 per month, while a three-bedroom apartment would set you back around $400,000 per month. The cost of utilities will be roughly $22,000 per month. In sum, a one-bedroom location costs approximately $300,000 every month. 

Expenditure detailsUSD($) YEN(¥) 
Health $44¥4,780
Market (Food) $9 ¥970
Transportation $98¥10,727
Utility (Monthly) $216.74¥23,900
Sport and Leisure $89.23¥9,838.71
Childcare (Annual) $19,596.46¥2,161,000
Clothing and shoes $63¥6,884
Rent per month$1,648¥180,552
Buy Apartment price$1,085.15¥119,664.33
Salaries and financing $3,704.81¥408,543.80


Although Yokohama is one of Japan’s metropolitan areas, it is also far less expensive to live in than Tokyo. A one-bedroom studio apartment in the heart of the city shouldn’t set you back much more than $1300 per month;


if you cast your nets a bit broader, you should be able to locate something in the suburbs for between $700 and $1000 per month. Electricity, food, and leisure are all in the same price range.

Apart from that, Yokohama provides a slew of advantages to its people, such as a quick 30-minute drive into Tokyo and a winery, restaurant, retail, and recreational scene that rivals the metropolis.

Expenditure detailsUSD($) YEN(¥) 
Health $52¥5,680
Market (Food) $6¥689
Transportation $109¥11,987
Utility (Monthly) $197¥21,750
Sport and Leisure $83.54¥9,214.29
Childcare (Annual) $18,165.80¥2,000,000
Clothing and shoes $65 ¥7,200
Rent per month$1,221¥134,622
Buy Apartment price$676.04¥74,437.94
Salaries and financing $3,348.41¥368,750.00

Cost of Living in Japan FAQs

Can you move to Japan without a job?

Relocating to Japan, or just about any civilized nation, could be a real eye-opener for your brief or medium employment and family ambitions since these nations will be able to offer numerous perks such as excellent educational and medical services.

Regrettably, unlike Canada and Australia, in which you can gain automatic permanent resident status without even a job opportunity from the nation, Japan doesn’t currently enable expatriates to migrate without obtaining an employment contract.

How difficult is it to move to Japan?

Many people have found adjusting to Japanese culture more challenging than the actual relocating process. Making friends, learning social standards, and assimilating into the culture are all things that take time.

Related Article: Moving to Japan from the USA.

Can I move to Japan without knowing Japanese? 

Yes! Without a doubt! Several modern technologies enable tourists to explore new places without having to overcome a significant language barrier. Even better, most signages for navigating around big cities (Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and so on) are in both English and Japanese.

There are a few basic tactics and strategies to move around Japan without speaking the language fluently. Without speaking Japanese, you have access to a vast array of software and other resources such as Google Translate,

websites, and internet-based expatriate forums that may likely provide you with solutions or guidance for practically any issue.

You’ll unarguably encounter some difficulties particularly when it comes to more financial obligations like accessing financial services, paying utility bills, and applying for federal programs,

but this has become easier around the year as even more corporations and local governments are collaborating to accommodate foreigners in Japan. 


The cost of living in Japan, especially in Tokyo, is expensive in comparison to many of the other nations. However, you can save a lot of money if you live in a smaller city or outlying town since there are so many wonderful places to visit.

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