How much does it cost to live in Japan?

If you are fascinated by life in Japan, you might have considered moving there… Who would not be impressed, with its advancements, progress and new tech being reflected in each and every part the lifestyle? From toilets to train or adopting an environmental-friendly way of life, Japan is one step ahead of the rest of the world. How much does it cost to live in Japan though? Would it be a wise step to move there? Let’s explore the different costs associated with living in Japan.


This might be one of the biggest costs that you will encounter in Japan. Rent can be extremely high in Japan, even for expats. With the cities being overpopulated, rent prices have increased considerably in urban areas. Nonetheless, even small rural regions might have a premium fee if they are tourist hotspots. The bright side is there are no residential taxes for tenants in Japan.

Note: As per Japanese tradition, do not forget to pay your landlord the reikin– which is a sum of money you give your landlord as a gift.


Grocery shopping is easy and affordable in Japan. There are many local supermarkets offering great deals and cheaper local products. You can also choose to purchase groceries in bulk at wholesale supermarkets which will definitely save you some bucks. Make sure to check out the night markets which are popular across the country and set a budget aside for eating out, which is a quintessential part of Japanese culture.


While Japan has one of the best educational systems in the world, it can be a bit tricky for expats because of the language. The system is completely in Japanese, which means that it is inaccessible for children who do not understand and speak the language. However, there is the option of enrolling your child in an international school that follows the American, British or other European’s educational system. One of the most popular institutions is the American School in Japan.

The transportation system

The public Japanese transport system is one of the best in the world. Most people in big cities commute by train, subway or buses. The extensive metropolitan rail networks keep the neighbourhood well connected and quite affordable. Even the price for travelling long distance by train is relatively low.

Medical costs in Japan

Japan has a system of universal healthcare that is funded through taxation. This system is accessible to citizens and long-term residents. However, the condition is that you must have been living in Japan for more than a year. Most expats opt for the public option since it is considerably cheaper. However, if you have a long-term disease needing specialist treatment, then insurance is a good option.

Tax system

Japan operates on a progressive tax system. The amount to be paid varies as from 5% for income earned under $18k to reaching even 45% for income of over $360k. This is applicable to residents and citizens. Non-residents have to pay a flat rate of 20.42% and a surtax of 2.1%.  Expats also have to pay a local residency tax which is around 10% of your income.

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