Cost of Living in Japan
Considered as an economic giant worldwide, Japan’s cost of living is considerably higher than most other countries. Adjusting to the local way of life is one way to ensure you live comfortably without spending a fortune.
Owning a home in Japan is costly and this why the majority of expats choose to rent. Tokyo is famous for its high cost of living; you can find some of the world's most expensive land in this metropolitan city- even a tiny apartment can be very costly. A condominium can cost around 1000 Euro including utilities.
If you are keen on saving while living in the city center, you can opt to live in Gaijin house (or a foreigner house), an inexpensive type of accommodation. This is only available for expats or foreigners staying for more than a month. Gaijin housing also offers contracts on a weekly basis. Living in guesthouses can be a great opportunity for expats to experience typical Japanese life. Most of the Gaijin houses are located in Tokyo.
Shared or private apartments are also available in the city. Shared apartment are less expensive, however, six to eight people usually share the kitchen and bathroom. Private apartments usually cost approximately 100,000 Yen per month and shared apartments can range to between 40,000 and 100,000 Yen per person monthly.
Due to Japan's extreme weather, the most expensive utility bill is for electricity (air conditioning and heating). It is advisable to reserve 10% of your monthly earnings for utility bills.
Naturally, local food is relatively inexpensive. There is a vast variety of economical restaurants offering native cuisine like sushi, noodles and rice dishes. It will cost you around 1,000 Yen for a decent meal.
An average restaurant meal can range from 1,000 to 3,000 Yen per person. Expect to pay double this for more for high end dining. The Japanese are also known for set menus and lunch boxes, or bento that is affordable and readily available in commercial establishments nationwide. Drinking tap water is not a problem in Japan, but if you're hesitant, bottled water is available.
In Tokyo, an order of one serving of Sushi (Nigiri) is 1,349 Yen, a Curry Rice (one serving) 743 Yen and a bowl of Ramen is 586 Yen. If you opt to stay home and order in, a regular pizza is 2,079 Yen. Note that these are approximate amounts.
Local supermarket chains are littered across Japan where local products such as seasonal vegetables, seafood, soya bean products and rice are sold cheap. If you visit supermarkets just before closing time in the evening, you can enjoy large discounts on perishable goods.
The downtown flea market is where some expats shop for quality clothes. Of course, department stores, boutiques and malls offer a wider range of choices, but prices are steep. High-end designer labels, both foreign and local, are mostly found in Tokyo.
Telephone cards are available at any kiosk or newspaper stand. You can buy a card of 10 Yen coins or 100 Yen coins. For international calls, Internet phones and callback services provide a cheaper of way of staying in touch with family and friends.
Japan's modern transportation (trains, buses and airplanes) is undeniably the world's finest. Due to insurance and parking fees, it is expensive to own a car in Japan. Gasoline consumption costs 100 Yen per liter.
The best buys are electronic goods, such as TVs, stereo sets, cameras and computers at stores like Yamada Denki, Yodobashi Camera, Sakuraya and Bic Camera, and in shopping areas like Akihabara in Tokyo.
It is important to know that when you purchase goods, you are subject to 5% consumption tax. The total amount on the price tag is already inclusive of the total cost of the item and the sales tax.
All residents (permanent or temporary) are subject to tax, national insurance and pension contributions. As a temporary resident, you can claim a refund once you return to your home country.
Expat Services in Japan
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