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Cost of Living in Japan

The cost of living in Japan is a bit high, it ranks as the 7th most expensive country to live in in the world. There is quite the myth that it is the most expensive. This myth ranks right up there along with the others on this incredibly long list of misconceptions about Japan like: 

  • I'll get rich teaching English in Japan.
  • Japan is so expensive that I'll go broke just on a 2 week vacation.
  • No one can speak English in Japan.
  • I  probably can't afford a meal out and if so it'll be rice.
  • Literally anyone can get a job teaching in Japan.
  • Samurai still exist.
  • Japanese women are totally subservient.
  • The cost of living is the highest in the world.

And the list goes on. So let's begin by ripping down the myths and building up some facts about the cost of living in Japan. The chart information below is from Numbeo. Note that this cost of living in Japan indicator is comprised of quite a few other indicators meaning that it is a conglomeration of a rent index, groceries, restaurant prices and a local purchasing power index.

Long time readers of our site expect a chart or some thing so because we dear not disappoint, here we go...

Cost of Living in Japan Chart -The Top 20



Cost of Living

















Us Virgin Islands
























New Zealand


Hong Kong





United States

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Cost of Living in Japan Video & A Whole Lot More

Here is a nice video that goes into a whole lot more about the costs of living in Japan. Well beyond just facts and figures on costs the video approaches the topic from the perspective of a tourist more than from the perspective of an English teacher trying to make ends meet in daily living. They touch on things such as:

  • The price of a simple meal out  at popular chain restaurants.
  • All you can eat and drink deals in the big cities.
  • The expensive of a train ticket vs. using over-night buses. 
  • Simple lodgings like a hostel, hotel, capsule hotel, business hotel
  • A can of beer or sake at a 7/11 type store. What does it cost?
  • A short tour of modern convenience stores.

 (What is not mentioned in this video is that  buying at a supermarket like Daiei, Itoyokado, Yamaya, Gyomu Supa, Marunaka or Maruhachi is significantly cheaper. This includes all other food items as well. Although many YT videos will say convenience store food is cheap it isn't.) 

And another thing not mentioned is this video is that there is a  modern trend building in what has become deluxe drug stores. They are even cheaper than supermarkets. Don't think of them as just a typical pharmacy you might find in your native country. They sell booze, snacks, dog food, fruit and vegetable juices, milk, toiletries like shampoo, bar soap, protein bars, baby food, diapers, hair conditioner deodorant etc.  And you can also get point cards where you can accrue points for each purchase made and get some free stuff on the side.

It's worth checking our page on Japanese apartments so you can get an idea of what living in an apartment, or mansion as they're known here, is like along with the costs of renting. Note that living in a studio apartment (1K) is cheapest and if you are planning on having an apartment in Tokyo it will be more expensive.

Naturally, dating and getting married in Japan attract their own expenses, and a budget should be set aside for those things if you plan on living here long term and want to ensure you have enough to cover the wide range of things that provide for life beyond the simple cost of living in Japan.

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