Cost of Living in Tokyo



People usually think that the cost of living in Tokyo is extremely high, and while this might be true to some extent, if you want to live a luxurious life, the city can be affordable in many ways as well. There are many options available for expats who live in Tokyo depending on your monthly budget.

The most attractive aspect of living in Tokyo  despite the city's high cost of living is the call of the city's skyscrapers and the continuously evolving culture.


In Tokyo, house-hunting can be a little challenging. Rent is not cheap, and space can be an issue, as is the case with most capital cities frequented by expats. Tagged as one of the most expensive cities in the world for expatriates, it is not surprising that Tokyo real estate rivals that of New York. In fact, a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre costs about USD 1,027.37, and a 2-3 bedroom costs around USD 2,269.71.

For those who prefer more spacious housing and less expensive accommodations, the Tokyo suburbs is the place to go, where one can find duplex properties that are best for families. A one-bedroom house outside of the city centre costs about USD 848.03 while a two to three-bedroom house costs somewhere around USD 1,683.16.

It is best for expatriates to find a real estate agent, especially one who caters specifically to your market, as they are fully aware of what most expats need and will be able to better communicate the details in your choice of spoken language.


Another great thing about Tokyo is the accessibility to good food. Even the department stores have food courts that offer great quality and affordable food. A meal for two in a mid-range restaurant costs around USD 60.09.

Budget or convenience stores are another wallet-friendly option and are best for the expatriate who is always on the go. These stores also offer a variety of instant-cook or easy to prepare food, with prices ranging from USD 2.72 to USD 5.45. Fast foods are also widely prevalent in Tokyo if you're looking to simply get a burger and fries.

Grocery items such as a dozen eggs cost about USD 2.52, while potatoes cost around USD 6.72 for a kilo. A kilo of fresh beef fillet or a kilo of pork chops costs about the same. A kilo of chicken is priced at USD 8.96.


Tokyo's train system is one of the safest and most efficient in the world and has a comprehensive route system that will take you just about anywhere in the city. Prepaid cards are available for commuters' convenience, although an initial ‘deposit' of 500 yen or USD 5.45 has to be put on the card.

Others who wish to miss the trains or who travel in groups can also take a taxi, which, while pricey, is definitely convenient. Flag-down rate starts at USD 7.73 (710 yen), and there is a 20% surcharge for travels from 10pm-5am.

Bus lines are a less common option for commuters though as the routes are limited. It does have a fixed fare however of 200 yen or USD 2.18 regardless of the distance travelled.


Electricity generation and distribution in the city is handled by the Tokyo Power Company. They have some customer service centres depending on your location.

Phone services are also widely available; however, mobile phones are preferred over landline connections. Do note that Japan has its system, so it is best to use the Tokyo-based mobile phone services.

DSL or Internet connections are also very accessible and affordable in Tokyo. It is also sometimes bundled with cable or phone connections.

The average expense per month for basic utilities such as electricity, water, gas, and garbage collection is around USD 129.02. Internet DSL connection expense on a monthly basis is around USD 27.23.

Living in Tokyo, as far as costs are concerned, is almost equivalent to that of New York. It does, however, have something else to offer, and that is the unique experience of a uniquely beautiful Asian culture.



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