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How much does it cost to live in Tokyo?

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How much does it cost to live in Tokyo?

Tokyo is often called one of the most expensive cities in the world. So how much does it cost to live here?

Carmen

Carmen

Published on 29 Nov 2020, 12:00

Whether you’re contemplating a move to Japan, or you’re already here, here is a look at what your salary breakdown might look like. Hopefully, this will give you a better idea of how much things cost and how much money you can save.

Now, there is a whole range of salaries out there depending on the industry, your skills, and age. I've chosen to look at a monthly income of 250,000 yen. This is a typical amount for someone in the early stages of their career.

If your gross salary is 250,000, your net pay will actually be around 200,000 yen after taxes and deductions. What can this 200,000 get you?

Let’s break it down!

Please note that we’re looking at someone living on their own in Tokyo. Things will look very different if you have a partner to split expenses with or living in another part of the country!

Housing (50,000-70,000 yen per month)

As a general rule, housing should not exceed 30% of your salary.

In this case, that would be 60,000 yen. However, if you’re living in Tokyo, you might be hard-pressed to find suitable accommodation in that range.

How much does it cost to live in Tokyo?

On this salary, I would say paying 50,000-70,000 yen for rent is fair. For this amount, you can find a decent room at a share house or a one-room apartment. It just depends on where your priorities lie!

Food (20,000-40,000 yen per month)

As someone who cooks almost every day, I can confidently say you can eat well for 20,000 yen a month. However, if you’re someone who grabs coffees every morning, wants to go out for lunch, and enjoy dinners out, then you’re looking at around 30,000-40,0000 yen at minimum.

Utilities (16,000 yen per month)

Water, electricity, and gas should cost you roughly 2,000 yen each for a total of 6,000 yen per month. Other essentials include your phone and the internet. You can expect to pay 5,000 yen for each of these services.

How much does it cost to live in Tokyo?

My tip for saving money in this area is skipping the data plan. I pay 1,000 yen a month for my phone plan, which does not include any data. Most train stations, restaurants, and public areas these days offer free Wi-Fi. Plus, don't we all spend too much on our phones anyway?

Transportation (0-10,000 yen per month)

The range starts at zero because most companies in Japan reimburse you for transportation costs to and from the office.

But obviously, life is about more than work! 10,000 yen should be more than enough to cover train costs for weekend excursions and even the odd taxi ride after a hard night out.

How much does it cost to live in Tokyo?

After subtracting all the necessities above from 200,000 yen, you’ll have about 100,000 yen left for disposable income and saving if you’re thrifty. If you’re spending a bit more on rent and going out, you’ll be left with around 60,000 yen.

Both are respectable amounts, of course, depending on your financial goals, there are definitely ways to save even more!

See below for a more summarized breakdown

Starting Amount: 250,000 (gross salary)

1. Frugal Version

- 50,000 yen (taxes, health insurance, pension, etc.)


- 50,000 yen (rent)

- 20,000 yen (food)


- 16,000 yen (expenses)


- 5,000 (transportation)

Total Leftover: 109,000 yen

Frugal Version
Frugal Version

2. Spendthrift Version

- 50,000 yen (taxes, health insurance, pension, etc.)


- 70,000 yen (rent)

- 40,000 yen (food)


- 16,000 yen (expenses)


- 10,000 (transportation)

Total Leftover: 64,000 yen

How much does it cost to live in Tokyo?

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