Tokyo is a city famous for its rich culture, technology, shopping, nightlife, and expat living. Tokyo is massive - large enough to be considered a prefecture as well as a city. Tokyo is a city where East-meets-West, while Japanese culture is still present, there are so many western elements in Tokyo. Some may think of living in Tokyo like living in the future. Considering everything Tokyo has to offer expats and travellers, living in Tokyo for one month is extremely reasonable.
Here’s what to expect to pay when living in Tokyo…
The cost of housing in Tokyo
Accommodation in Tokyo can be extremely cheap. If you work for a Japanese company, then more likely than not, they will pay a percentage of your rent - in some cases, as much as 85% of your rent could be paid by your job. With or without this bonus, it’s still pretty cheap to live in Tokyo. Prices vary depending upon location, room size, amenities, and whether you choose a furnished or unfurnished room or apartment.
Here is what you can expect to pay for accommodation in Tokyo...
- Guesthouses & Hostels: $420 - $1000 per month
- Guesthouses and Hostels are many times the same thing - or at least the same price range. Most charge on a per-night basis, but are available for long term stays.
- Apartments: $300 - $1400 per month
- Apartments can be extremely inexpensive; depending upon which part of the city you will be staying in.
- Hotels: $35 - $500 per night
- Hotels are abundant, fun, beautiful and even themed in Tokyo. Basic run-of-the-mill hotels are the cheapest option, and charge about $35 per night. Elegant or themed hotels will charge more, and there are even hotels that charge by the hour, for those in the need.
How much does food cost in Tokyo?
There are many types of food to enjoy in Tokyo, from traditional Japanese, American, Italian, basically anything you could want as in any other major city. An average meal at a local hole-in-the-wall restaurant will cost about $6, while a high-class Italian restaurant will cost about $30 for one meal. An average fast food combo meal will cost about $5.50.
Lunchbox services are available, and anyone can call to order a full bento box (home made meal in a lunchbox) for about $8, depending on the company.
The cheapest and most delicious route is to buy groceries and cook at home. Groceries for one person cost about $150 per month.
How much does transportation cost in Tokyo?
There are many ways to get around in Tokyo. Most people prefer to walk or ride their bicycle if the distance is short enough. Metro passes for one-month cost anywhere from $150 - $200. One gallon of gasoline costs about $5.05, and a residential parking space is about $300 per month. Carpooling is also a popular transportation method among businesses and coworkers in Tokyo. A one-way five-mile trip in a taxi costs about $21.
Healthcare in Tokyo
Health insurance is extremely cheap in Tokyo, and easily available to those working abroad, through their employer. Health insurance rings up at only $7 per month, on average. Many companies have preventative health programs as well, often for free to their employees, and make a point to express the necessity of maintaining mental health as well. A basic visit to a doctor could cost anywhere from $32 to $80 for a checkup. A visit to a specialist can cost anywhere from $100 to $300, depending upon the requirement. Tokyo’s healthcare is up to par, if not slightly better than western healthcare systems.
The average cost of entertainment in Tokyo
There’s so much to do in Tokyo! From visiting a public bath to cycling up the local mountain, from visiting temples to clubbing. For one person, monthly entertainment costs about $75 up to an infinite amount.
Here are a few specifics:
- Dinner for 2 at a local pub - $40
- 2 tickets to a movie theater - $30
- 2 tickets to a local theatrical performance - $170
- 1 mixed drink at an expensive club - $8
- 1 cappuccino at an expensive cafe - $3.40
- 1 beer at a local bar - $4.40
Study abroad in Tokyo: The cost of education
There are many opportunities to study abroad in Japan, especially in Tokyo. Most schools offer programs that package the price of study and accommodation together, which can be expensive. There are several grants and scholarships that can ease the pain of overpriced study abroad programs. A semester can cost around $22,850. An academic year can cost about $43,400 while a full year will cost about $46,000.
Short-term study abroad programs are available at $995 per 2 weeks and $1495 for 1 month.
Prices vary, depending on the program and school affiliated. Courses usually have a minimum stay of 2 weeks and minimum age of 15.
What to expect as an expat in Tokyo
Tokyo is rated one of the best places to live, by several famous travel and expat companies. People in Tokyo are extremely hospitable and there is so much to do, expats will never get bored. If you plan to work abroad or even teach abroad, Tokyo is the perfect place for you!