Cost of living in Japan

Cost of living in Japan

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Where to live in Japan

Stunning natural beauty, vibrant and dynamic cities, modern technology and delicious food are just a few of the main attractions for expats moving to Japan.

Japan is regarded by many as an expensive country to live in, with Mercer’s 2019 Cost of Living Survey finding Tokyo as the 2nd most expensive city in the world. However, this differs district by district, while more affordable living can be found outside of the capital, in cities such as Osaka and Yokohama. In addition, the cost of living is relative to each individual lifestyle and prices won’t be too dissimilar for expats to those in London. 

The currency used in Japan is the Japanese yen, with 1 British pound approximately equalling 143.5 yen (as of 2nd January 2020). It helps to convert Japanese prices into British pounds in order to gauge a clearer comparison between Japanese and UK living.

(All figures taken from Numbeo.com and exchange rates calculated on 2nd January 2020 at 11.41am).

 

How much does accommodation cost in Japan?

When it comes to property prices and rental costs, the cost of living in Japan can be varied depending on where you choose to settle. Tokyo is famously an expensive city in which to live, with the higher rent comparable to that of London in the UK. Osaka and Yokohama provide more affordable options, as do smaller cities such as Kobe and Nagoya. Below are some examples of the average cost of renting and buying when you move to Japan.

 

Tokyo

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£874.81 (125,574 ¥)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£542.39 (77,857 ¥)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£1,931 (277,115 ¥)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£1,039 (149,077 ¥)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£8.134 (1,167,888 ¥)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£4,477 (642,857 ¥)

 

Osaka

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£508.43 (73,000 ¥)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£360.12 (51,706 ¥)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£975.07 (140,000 ¥)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£758.66 (108,929 ¥)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£4,897 (703,193 ¥)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£3.528 (506,507 ¥)

 

Yokohama

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£724.31 (104,000 ¥)

Monthly rent for 1 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£528.14 (75,833 ¥)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (city centre)

£2,066 (296,667 ¥)

Monthly rent for 3 bedroom apartment (outside centre)

£1,010 (145,000 ¥)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (city centre)

£5,572 (800,000 ¥)

Price per square meter to buy apartment (outside centre)

£2,090 (300,000 ¥)

 

Cost of transport in Japan

Transport is relatively more affordable in Japan than in the UK, with modestly-priced travel passes and a lower cost of petrol. Public transport is hugely popular within cities, serving a large hub of commuters on a daily basis, either by tube, rail or bus. Owning a car is also an option for expats, particularly those who wish to travel around the country, with prices generally lower for new cars than in the UK.

Single bus ticket

£1.46 (210.00 ¥)

Monthly public transport ticket

£69.66 (10,000 ¥)

Petrol (1 litre)

£0.99 (142.20 ¥)

Volkswagen Golf

£17,685 (2,539,000 ¥)

Toyota Corolla

£14,958 (2,147,381 ¥)

 

What is the cost of living in Japan?

The cost of living in Japan can vary depending on the city in which you live, while rural areas may also offer a different range of prices. Below is a guideline of some of the average prices in Japan for several miscellaneous items and services.

Milk (1 litre)

£1.31 (188.11 ¥)

Bread (500g loaf)

£1.34 (192.86 ¥)

Eggs (12pk)

£1.59 (228.82 ¥)

Water (1.5 litre bottle)

£0.86 (123.39 ¥)

Chicken Breast (1kg)

£5.44 (781.07 ¥)

Cappuccino (regular, in a restaurant)

£2.74 (393.17 ¥)

Beer (500ml, in a restaurant/pub)

£2.79 (400.00 ¥)

Cinema ticket

£12.54 (1,800.00 ¥)

Gym membership (monthly)

£61.35 (8,807.66 ¥)

Preschool/Kindergarten (monthly)

£337 (48,370.00 ¥)

Primary School (yearly)

£12,308 (1,766,571.43 ¥)

 

It’s a good idea to educate yourself on the cost of living in Japan before you make the move there, to ensure you know how much money you will need. You will also want to get the best deal when you transfer money overseas to fund your new life. A moneycorp account can provide you with great exchange rates and low transfer fees on your foreign exchange, helping to get the most out of your money.

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