A reader moving to Japan asks how much a month it would cost to live here comfortably. How much does it cost you?

  • 0

    Husain Alamri

    Putting rent aside, 180,000 yen per month.

  • 0

    some14some

    for living here 'comfortably' there is no limit, however for reasonable lifestyle (considering deflation factor) single person (20's) will require Y150,000~180,000 per month.

  • 2

    GW

    depends on if one really wants to suck it up or not now dont it, otherwise yr looking at a range of oh Y150,000 to Y1,000,000 per month, not really helpful but there you have it!

  • 4

    zichi

    That really depends on where you want to live. Kobe City is cheaper than Osaka and much cheaper than Tokyo. Depends whether you are single or a family unit. Whether you intend to work or not. Short term or long term. The standard that you would normally live at and whether you are willing to live at a lower standard for the sake of the experience. Living out in the countryside or on one of the many small islands is much cheaper. Male or female. Meat eater or vegetarian. The list gets quite long.

    Take the figure of what it costs now and times by two if from North America or Europe. From other countries times the figure by three or four times.

  • 0

    borscht

    As Zichi states, it depends on everything. It especially depends on what you mean by 'comfortably.'

    Considering Eikaiwas are paying minimum wage (240,000?), then I suspect one can live in Japan for less than 240,000. You can always find a cheap apartment (Want a bathroom? That's extra.) in Tokyo or Osaka. A much larger apartment, with bathroom, can be found in the hinterlands.

    The rule of thumb at my workplace, for foreigners coming to Japan to work, is bring $5,000 for all the fees and crapola of getting into an apartment and the first month of expenses.

    • Moderator

      Readers, please note that the question also asks how much it costs you per month to live comfortably.

  • 2

    japan_cynic

    About half of one of my and my wife's salaries :-) Though winter in an uninsulated house in Kanto is not exactly "comfortable". But that's a different issue.

  • 0

    It"S ME

    Problem is that the question is mood as too many factors are involved.

    I live happily on less than 210.000/month(2 people) and that covers a 2DK apartment, internet, eating out, etc, etc.

    It is all subjective and depends on the person preferences, I like many others can get by with little, other demand certain luxuries, etc that we won't consider.

    What I make beyond those monthly expenditures is not part of the topic.

  • 1

    cleo

    With the kids gone, just the two of us and the critters, 320,000 to 350,000 per month on average, not counting the mortgage or savings, holidays, luxuries, extras etc. Assuming that two live for double the price of one, I suppose that would work out at around a minimum of 150,000 per person plus rent. But that's with us eating food bought cheaply at farmer's markets and cooked at home - if you're in the city and mostly eating out, you'd need possibly quite a bit more. Also more to go out & have fun, see the sights if you're a newbie, etc. All depends on what a person considers 'comfortable', I suppose.

    Note that with starting salaries for new graduates at around 200,000 yen, many young people are stuck living with parents because they reckon they can't afford to pay rent.

  • 1

    edojin

    "Comfortably" is the key word here. What is comfortable to me is uncomfortable for others. I've had friends who live in, I guess you would say "palaces" ... compared to what I live in. And they always said they were not comfortable living there, degrading the place in all kinds of words.

    Zichi probably summed it up best in his comments above. Depends on where you live is what the price factor will be.

    As for the main question above, living in the heart of Tokyo in a small three-room apartment, my total monthly payout comes to about 300,000 yen a month. That includes rent, utilities, food, health insurance, visits to the doctor, NHK fees, public transportation, etc. It does not include my pocket money (which is about zilch ... so no night life, movies, etc.) and clothing (which I rarely buy here because I can't find my size here). My wife and I live on a tight budget, but we get by ... and do consider ourselves rather comfortable.

  • 0

    timeon

    when I was living alone, single room apartment downtown Tokyo (100,000 rent), adding all the costs, some trips and weekend fun, 300,000 a month was ok. now I'm married, the rent only is 240,000, completely different story

  • -3

    JapanGal

    I live simple. Once I get rid of the mansion, I will rent for ¥40,000 , and utilities with Internet the same as now. Winter: Gas ¥5,000. Electric ¥ 9,000. Water every two months ¥4000. Gas & Electric in the summer half. Food is very cheap too as are clothes and eating out.

  • 0

    bicultural

    For a single male, 300,000 yen a month is enough to live a fairly comfortable life in Tokyo. You might even be able to save a bit of money if you try. For a couple, at least 400,000.

  • 0

    DentShop

    Electric in the summer half

    No air-con. Wow you are tough!

  • -1

    japan_cynic

    Our winter heating bill is more than summer air-con (100% electric in each case). Not double, but it could be if we wanted the house comfortable rather than just wearing several extra layers!

  • 1

    Laguna

    I've two kids in private school, so even though I live in a provincial town and own my house, I've found it takes about 600,000 to be comfortable. I went through a bad stretch two years ago when my income dropped to about 350,000 monthly and had to draw down on my savings. Kids are expensive everywhere but particularly in Japan.

  • 3

    tmarie

    Good lord some of you must be rolling in money! Take out rent I would say 100,000 is fine by me. We save a lot, don't need aircon, fancy useless bags, lunch sets... I worked at an eikaiwa YEARS ago for 250,000 a month and managed to save a huge chunk of that. Some people go through money like toilet paper and I don't have any clue as to what they spend it on.

  • 0

    Laguna

    ...I guess I should also mention that I am self-employed, so I shoulder all costs for health insurance, which is a bite at almost 60,000 monthly - but still, I'm thankful for the Japanese national health insurance program. It would cost me three times as much in the States.

  • -6

    Foxie

    I agree with tmarie. 100,000 is more than enough for 2.

  • 0

    cleo

    Foxie, you forgot to add the little smiley to show that you're joking. :-)

  • 2

    mrkobayashi

    Agree with bicultural. I am married with one daughter and I need to make at least 350,000 just to break even.

  • 0

    Foxie

    cleo, here is my yearly average breakdown per month spending: food and household goods:40,000. Utilities:30,000. Shaken, house insurance, property tax, car tax and insurance, health insurance: 20,000 - that still leaves me with an extra 10,000 of which I could use about 5,000 for gasoline and sushi. All the rest of my salary could be used for gadgets if I wanted to but, you know, the disco age is long gone.

  • 2

    cleo

    Foxie, food and utilities, OK. Household goods would be separate, though. I reckon shaken, house insurance, property tax, car tax and insurance, health insurance for two cost me in the region of 45,000 per month last year. You haven't added in life insurance, pension premiums, clothing, NHK, phone and internet, income tax and local tax, or clothing. People in rented accommodation wouldn't need to pay property tax, but they would need to budget for the two- or three-yearly 'renewal fee'.

    The question isn't what's the least you can survive on, but how much it costs to live comfortably.

  • 1

    Actionman

    Someone brought up the minimum of 240,000 for eikaiwa teachers... well the government took that minimum away so that tells you something. I think 300,000 a month is enough for 2 people to live comfortably OUTSIDE of Tokyo. The rent is the biggest fixed cost. Take care of that, and you can get by pretty well on not that much.

  • 0

    Akula

    400,000 a month for myself, wife and kid. 125,000 of that is rent here in Tokyo.

  • -1

    shirokuma2011

    I rent in Taito-ku, basic expenses run about 350,000/month, including rent of 185,000; utilities run about 40,000 (including TV, internet, mobile, etc.). I generally don't eat out or go drinking ,etc. more than a couple of times a month, but self-employment can be expensive in other ways.

  • 0

    Greapper1

    Out in the sticks - 150,000 - 180000 yen a month In the city - 200,000 - 300,000

  • 0

    sakurala

    I would say bring about 300,000 to start. After that, a person could live comfortably on about 250, 000 a month. I am a binge spender so I tend to live on about 20,000 and then try to save the rest for traveling or scuba diving. Here is a general breakdown of what I pay in the countryside...

    house (mortgage and savings for property tax) - 45,000 car - 20,000 bills -30,000 health insurance and pension 36,000 food - 25,000 student loan (sadly it doesn't just go away when one moves) - 25,000 city tax - 15,000

  • -1

    tmarie

    I reckon shaken, house insurance, property tax, car tax and insurance, health insurance for two cost me in the region of 45,000 per month last year. You haven't added in life insurance, pension premiums, clothing, NHK, phone and internet, income tax and local tax, or clothing. People in rented accommodation wouldn't need to pay property tax, but they would need to budget for the two- or three-yearly 'renewal fee'.

    You see "comfortable" as something very different. Many people on here (and those in cities) don't need a car so cut the shaken, car tax and car insurance. No house? Cut house insurance and property tax. Pension? Covered by work or you can pay your own for about 20,000 depending on your pay and pension. Life insurance? Again, not needed. Clothing? Do you go shopping every month? I go shopping maybe two-three times a year and buy things on sale. NHK? Ha! Nope. Not paying. Phone/internet can be done rather cheaply now. I also don't pay a "renewal" fee - and no key money. Like others have said, it depends on your standards of comfortable. You don't need to be snide that some of us view things differently than you do.

    With a commuter pass from work, a bike and shopping on sale and not buying stupid things, 100000 is more than enough. Like I said, I've done it - and manage to save.

  • 0

    cleo

    tmarie, it was Foxie who wanted to calculate in the car and house; I kept them in to show how the same items can cost different people different amounts. I agree with you that people living in the cities especially are much more comfortable without the hassle of a car, and of course if you rent you won't be paying house insurance or property tax.

    Pension? Covered by work

    You do realise that the company takes it out of your earnings, which means you need to earn that much to start with? Not actually seeing the money in cash doesn't mean you aren't paying it. And people who are self-employed have to pay it all themselves anyway. Either way, it would not be covered by the ¥5000 Foxie says she has left over after buying petrol and sushi.

    Life insurance? Again, not needed.

    A matter of opinion. If you have a family dependant on your earnings, then most people feel more comfortable with a life policy to fall back on when the unthinkable happens.

    Clothing? Do you go shopping every month? I go shopping maybe two-three times a year and buy things on sale.

    I also shop a few times a year and buy stuff on sale. Averaged out over the year, it's still not covered by Foxie's ¥5,000 that has already disappeared and then some after paying her pension premiums.

    NHK? Ha! Nope. Not paying.

    Easy to live cheap if you don't pay your way....most people wouldn't consider having no telly was 'comfortable'. If you don't need one, fine.

    Phone/internet can be done rather cheaply now.

    Yes, they can. But to repeat, Foxie is already well over her ¥5000 budget.

    I also don't pay a "renewal" fee - and no key money.

    Then you're lucky (or jammy). Most renters do.

    You don't need to be snide that some of us view things differently than you do.

    And you don't need to assume that a person is being 'snide' just because they view things differently from you, or point out things you may have missed.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Indeed, it was Foxie but you made the snide comment after my post, correct? You have a habit of this - making a snide comment and then trying to pretend it wasn't meant to be one.

    I don't have my pension taken out at work, I have paid mine in cash, do it once a year as it is cheaper. Just because you do something one way doesn't mean that is the only way to do it. I am well aware of who pays what - I am PT so I pay it myself.

    And not paying NHK isn't "paying my way". Laughable. Oh and plenty of people don't have TVs. That computer you're using now can do so many wonderful things like allow you to watch TV programs on it. For free!

    A matter of opinion. Which is exactly my point...

    Oh should I add a ;) ?

  • 0

    cleo

    tmarie - I really have no idea what 'snide comment' you're talking about, I made no comment at all after any of your posts on this thread until you addressed me directly. So no, not correct. If you're referring to the 'smiley' comment, I really did think she was joking. ¥100,000 a month for 2 people? No way. And the breakdown she provided showed that in fact she had not factored in lots of unavoidable costs.

    However you choose to pay your pension, buy your clothes or whatever, it can still be calculated as a monthly average.

    So seriously, factoring everything in - pension, insurance, taxes, food, clothing, are you seriously suggesting it costs no more than ¥100,000 a month for 2? Because with the state taking well over half that, I just don't see how it's possible without starving.

  • -1

    tmarie

    Foxie, you forgot to add the little smiley to show that you're joking. :-)

    Regardless of how you read it, you're trying to make a point that you think I am wrong...

    How much does it cost you?

    You... Various meanings for that - you as in your family or your singular. My figures are given for ME, singular. And actually, since you want to talk about two people, it would actually be less than the 100000 I stated because I can share the costs of things like food, power....

    Again, just because it isn't something you can do doesn't make it a "joke" or not doable. As stated, it is a personal thing. What you need to be "comfortable" clearly isn't the same for me - and probably not for others. Just as what I deem comfortable isn't for others.

  • 0

    cleo

    tmarie, you are not Foxie. How on earth does a comment aimed at another poster by name make the point that I think you are wrong? I assumed you were talking about ¥100,000 per month for one person. Foxie said ¥100,000 for two. I genuinely assumed she was joking.

    Again, just because it isn't something you can do doesn't make it a "joke" or not doable.

    And again, Foxie's later comment showed that she was not factoring in all kinds of expenditures that would take her well over ¥100,000 for two. So I'm saying yes, two people cannot live comfortably in Japan on ¥100,000 a month. It costs more than that for taxes, public insurance and food. 'Rock-bottom basic' is not the same as comfortable. I've been at rock-bottom basic. I do know the difference.

  • 2

    zichi

    tmarie

    I think if I understand correctly, you and your husband have a financial arrangement not commonly found in most couple situations. You both work, you both earn but you both keep the money you earn but share equally, the domestic costs and bills?

  • -1

    tmarie

    You commented to Fox using my post as an indication of costs and made it clear you didn't agree with MY comfortable range. You called her on it, she posted with figures. We all don't have the same level of comfort nor need when it comes to money. Hence her comments, mine, yours, and everyone else who has posted...

    Zichi, not exactly but close enough. Also, I don't think it is all that uncommon - plenty of people do this. Just not plenty of people in Japan. Would be kind of hard to do with SAHW and the like. Everyone in my family and many of friends back home have similar arrangements. I would also suggest that many unmarried but cohabiting couples have the same sort of agreement.

  • 1

    timeon

    as Cleo, I don't see 200,000 / month / 2 persons too realistic, at least not in Tokyo. our rent alone is 240,000! I have friends who do live with 200,000 /month, but they live in a narrow place far away from work, never eat out, never go anywhere, etc. (and all of that because the wife is too lazy to work...)

  • 2

    zichi

    tmarie

    I was speaking of the situation here in Japan. I know in our own countries is not so uncommon for couples to have separate financial arrangements, especially couples not married but living together. I too did that when I lived in the UK.

  • 0

    tmarie

    That's just it Timeon, it depends on where you live, your hobbies, transportation, want you deem as a "need"... All personal and relative.

  • -1

    cleo

    tmarie, please read the relevant posts again. You said ¥100,000 for you, one person. Foxie said ¥100,000 for two. Picking up on what Foxie said has no connection at all to what you said.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Indeed it is different here - more than happy to admit that! Even said that in my reply.

  • 0

    tmarie

    Cleo, you are correct and I apologize.

    I will now bow down to Foxie if she can do that for two! I am 'thrifty" but not that thrifty.

  • 2

    zichi

    Well the bottom line, more than one million people are "surviving/ existing" below the government set provety line of ¥1.5 million a year. That would be ¥125,000/month.

  • -2

    Serrano

    All depends on if you can get a subsidized place to live, or if you have to buy or rent a place from a fudousan/real estate agent. If it's the latter, in Tokyo, you'd better be making around half a million a month. "Comfortably" means having a garden to have yer barbeques, and a fireplace that Santa can come down with the presents!

  • 0

    Serrano

    Forgot to mention I don't live comfortably, yare yare.

  • 0

    Foxie

    Cleo, tmarie - Ok, let's stop the fight. My phone/internet are included in the utilities. I can't receive NHK here in the sticks anymore, so I am not paying for that. I hardly buy new clothes because I have too many as it is. My life insurance is paid in my home country - much cheaper. I don't pay pension here either. I work from home, so my car is used a minimum. Note that health insurance contributions differ a lot from where you live for some unknown reason to me. When I lived in Honshu, they were so high I could not believe it. I grow my own food and buy in bulk. We fish our own fish (because it is his hobby) and we eat a lot of organic food and hardly any junk food. The only thing missing in the calculation is my husband's health insurance and pension, so add that if you want to. I don't know the cost. (I didn't add it in my calculation because it is already subtracted from his salary). Anyway, I could spend a lot more, those were just the averages for last year and I didn't even force myself to live on a budget. I just did some accounting for fun to see how much it would be. The bottomline is that Yen 150,000 for 2 would be more than enough excluding rent.

  • -1

    Blair Herron

    The bottomline is that Yen 150,000 for 2 would be more than enough excluding rent.

    WOW!!!

    Even a single welfare recipient is given 140,000yen/month by the government.

    She/he is free of paying pension (14,660yen/m), the national health insurance (10,000yen/m), and medical cost.

  • 1

    cleo

    Don't worry Foxie, we stopped fighting but the mod removed all the makin' up posts. :-)

    Your utilities are very cheap if they include phone/internet. As you say, health insurance varies widely depending on where you live, and it's not as if you can shop around. A person newly moved to Japan is unlikely to start off growing their own food, so average food costs will be much higher than yours. If your husband is earning the average 4.3 million, his pension and health insurance are likely to be in the region of around ¥20,000~¥30,000 and ¥15,000~¥25000 respectively, adding ¥35,000~¥55,000 per month to your outgoings (more if he earns more, less if he earns less and/or claims you as a tax deduction), so with your bottom line of ¥150,000 for 2 not including rent and with income tax, local tax and his pension and health insurance added in, you're easily around or over the ¥200,000 mark which is roughly the same as tmarie if she's reckoning on ¥100,000 for one. (Remember stuff that's subtracted from the salary is still money you're paying - you have to earn it before they can subtract it!)

    I reckon we're all paying far too much in 'invisible' costs....

    Blair - the national pension was ¥15,020 from April of last year to March of this year, the first time ever the premium had gone down. The premium from April this year will apparently be ¥14,980.

  • 0

    keika1628

    Comfort for myself , wife and a 12 year old boy arrives at 400,000 a month in Saitama . Christmas costs me a fortune as we spend it in London.

  • 0

    sakurala

    I guess it really comes down to where you live and what is seen as necessairy. Per month these are some figures that I have experienced...

    Rent (30,000 in the countryside -90,000 in the city for a small apartment meant for 1)

    Transportation - depends on if you bike or have a commuter pass paid for by your company and how much you go out if you live in the city. If you live in Tokyo and plan to go out and about I would budget about 10,000. If you live in the country, you may want a car so you need to think about gas, insurance, check-ups and such.

    Health care - 2,000 (travel insurance that EIKAIWAS tend to use) - 5,000 (1st year monthly national health care insurance) or 30,000+ (shakaihouken = health and pension)

    CIty taxes - depends on the city and wont have to pay the first year. My city is 160,000/year in 4 payments

    Bills - some apartments include TV, electricity and such and some don't. Phones can be anywhere from 5,000+ a month

    Back home expenses - loans and such.

    Food - you can live on about 500 yen a day if you eat at home and only the verrrry basic. However, a more realistic budget would be about 1,000 a day plus eating out and alchohol if needed.

    Dependents - Have to factor in their costs

    Everyone has different necessities but if someone wants to come to Japan, they should try to save a bit of money in the first year before they get dinged with city taxes :P Also, it depends on one's hobbies...gaming in an apartment is far cheaper that traveling around the country.

  • 0

    seesaw1

    About 200,000Yen per month after rent and bills. I'm single and working for a large J Corp. Despite I'm very careful with my money, I have to spend on socialising with my colleagues and friends, tomo-chocos, presents, hair dressers, esthetic salon, sightseeing/onsen trips etc.....that's comfortable living in Japan! If you are planning to live in Japan, you'd better find a good income job to be able to enjoy life and have some savings. Otherwise you'll end up like those NOVA teachers who left Japan penniless....

  • 0

    gogogo

    No one is ever comfortably with whatever they earn. Japanese salaries are pathetic comapired to the rest of the world are paying, no talent is coming to Japan for jobs.

  • 0

    megosaa

    costs me (per month): Y70,000 for rent, utilities & phone; Y3,000-Y8,000 for expenses like food, transport etc. depending on your lifestyle its up to you to budget. so i say a minimum of Y100,000 should cover with some left over if you're smart!

  • 1

    cleo

    Y3,000-Y8,000 for expenses like food, transport etc. depending on your lifestyle its up to you to budget.

    What do you eat, weeds pulled from the wayside verges as you walk home?

  • 2

    zichi

    If you shop and buy carefully, I think you could buy food for ¥1,000 per day per person, but both my wife and I like to enjoy good food and mostly prefer to eat at home because we can make better more healthy meals but we spend more than ¥80,000/month on food shopping.

  • 1

    sakurala

    cleo: You are halarious! I was thinking the same thing... 5,000 maybe was my lowest food budget for a month and that was 1 piece of toast a day and pasta lunch and dinner. But that's not really healthy or sustainable for the long-term. Unless you own a farm, I don't see that as being a realistic budget for food. Transport can be free if you can get everywhere by bike and don't factor in a flat tire or broken chain.

  • 0

    cleo

    As an impoverished student I once did a stint living on small amounts of pasta with Out Sauce and stale bread with the mouldy crusts cut off, but I wouldn't recommend it and it certainly wasn't comfortable living.

  • 0

    Alex Einz

    A lot! Bring loads of cash and spend it on booze

  • -1

    MrDarryl

    After expenses like rent, utilities, transportation, and food your comfort level is up to you, but I agree with having about $1,700 - 2,000 (¥150,000 - 180,000) extra. That would be comfortable to me. I always think that when you start to spend more than 50% of your income on necessities, the more it starts to cut into your comfort level.

  • -1

    tmarie

    Foxie, I agree with the 150000 for two being more than enough - we certainly don't spend that on being "comfortable".

  • 0

    TimeiClic

    Totally depends on what your hobbies are, if you have any debt to pay back and what you do with your money once you get it!

Login to leave a comment

OR
  • 海外営業事務

    海外営業事務
    株式会社セドナエンタープライズ、Tokyo
    Salary: ¥220,000 ~ ¥400,000 / Month Negotiable
  • African Speaking Sales manager

    African Speaking Sales manager
    JPC TRADE CO.,LTD. (株式会社JPC)、Tokyo
    Salary: ¥200,000 ~ ¥450,000 / Month Negotiable Basic Salary + Incentives
  • Recruitment / HR Generalist

    Recruitment / HR Generalist
    Temple University, Japan Campus - テンプル大学ジャパンキャンパス、Tokyo
    Salary: Commensurate with experience plus transportation from/to TUJ
  • Program Assistant

    Program Assistant
    Temple University, Japan Campus - テンプル大学ジャパンキャンパス、Tokyo
    Salary: Commensurate with experience plus transportation from/to TUJ
  • Portuguese Speaking Sales Manager

    Portuguese Speaking Sales Manager
    Autocom Japan (オートコムジャパン株式会社)、Kanagawa
    Salary: ¥270,000 ~ ¥800,000 / Month Commission Based

More in Have Your Say

View all

View all