💵Cost of Living in Japan: A Guide

13 minute read
Cost of Living in Japan

Hi! I’m Astronaut Alex 👨‍🚀🚀, and today, we’re talking about the cost of living in Japan. Do you know about the living expenses in Japan? Well, it can be expensive to study abroad but with the right knowledge of managing the expenses, you will be able to stay comfortably.

With a uniquely designed education system, Japan is home to some of the internationally acclaimed universities in Asia. With scores of international students choosing the Land of the Rising Sun to pursue higher education, Japan has emerged as a sought-after study destination with an inclusive culture and rich historical heritage. When you think of studying in Japan, the most popular universities to consider include the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, Osaka University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Tohoku University, to name a few.

But while planning your higher education journey in Japan, it is also essential to consider the varied types of costs and expenses. Read this blog to know all about the cost of studying in Japan, from tuition fees to living costs, and visa expenses, among others.

Hope you have a gist of living in Japan. This is just the beginning! Join me as I take you on a journey on the breakup of the cost of living in Japan. Let’s go!🚀

Must Read: Top 4 Japan Scholarships for Indian Students You Never Knew Existed!

💰Cost of Living in Japan

The second most crucial factor when you are planning to study abroad is living costs. These include accommodation, food, travel, recreational and other miscellaneous expenses. These costs of Living in Japan are extremely variable as they can vary according to the city, individual preferences, lifestyle and other factors. Check out the following sections to learn about the average accommodation costs as well as food, utility and travel expenses you can expect while studying in Japan.

🏠Housing & Accommodation Costs in Japan

For accommodation costs, you can either choose on-campus or off-campus accommodation. If you are opting for dormitory accommodation by the university, then you can expect to pay around 12000 YEN/month (8300 INR) for a single room while off-campus accommodation for major cities like Tokyo can be around 60000 YEN/month (42000 INR).

✅Cleaning Services in Japan

Cleaning services for accommodations are often included in the housing portion of the cost of living. Typically, this service is provided by using domestic help, which is rather common in Japan. The rates vary depending on the kind of cleaning, but a full-time domestic helper may expect to make around 98,882.29 Japanese Yen each month.

🍎Groceries Cost in Japan

Another unavoidable factor to consider while estimating the cost of Living in Japan is the expenses related to food, utility and travel. The average food costs can range from 800 to 1000 YEN and can vary depending on your preferences. For travel and transportation costs, the average expenses can be somewhere around 10000YEN/month (INR 7000) and you can also get a JR Rail Pass for 21 days which will be 60000 YEN (INR 42000) and you can avail of unlimited travel on all national trains in Japan including bullet trains and buses. The utility costs can be estimated at around 18,000 YEN per month [12,140 INR]

🚰Utility Cost in Japan

The typical monthly utility bill for one person is roughly 10,000 yen, with electricity costing around 5000 yen, gas costing 3000 yen, and water costing 2000 yen. Most homes feature gas water heaters and cooktops, while some newer homes may have induction cooktops instead.

💻Mobile Bill/Wi-Fi Cost in Japan

Those with a valid residency card and a Japanese bank account have easy access to mobile phones. Traditional subscription plans start at roughly 6000 yen per month, while bargain operators provide options starting at around 2000 yen per month. Residents who want an internet connection at home can consider acquiring a pocket wifi device (monthly rates start at 2500 yen) or having a broadband or fibre optic internet subscription (monthly fees from 4000 yen). Otherwise, there are paid wifi hotspots and manga cafés that provide internet access.

✅Healthcare & Insurance in Japan

Residents of Japan can choose between two forms of health insurance. Employee Health Insurance (kenkô hoken) or the country’s National Health Insurance (kokumin kenkô hoken) are required by law for all people residing in the country, including residents and ex-pats on long-term visas. This enrollment can, however, be avoided due to an agreement with specific nations. 1) Whether or not you work for a Japanese employer, and 2) whether or not the Japanese firm offers this health insurance benefit are the decisive criteria in which insurance you will enrol.

  • Health Card

To apply, go to your local City Office or Ward Office’s Residential Affairs Division. The premium is calculated using your age and prior year’s earnings.

  • The Essential Benefit Plan

There’s also a plan in place for low-wage employees and unemployed people. The Essential Benefits Plan (EBP) is the bare minimum of health insurance coverage required of all Japanese residents. It provides essential services at an affordable price.

Note: The aforementioned costs are only indicative expenses on an average basis. Actual costs can vary due to different factors.

🚗Commuting & Transportation Costs in Japan

Commuters can buy one-month or multi-month rail commuter passes that allow them unrestricted travel between their home and office/school. Many Japanese corporations cover all or part of their workers’ railway fares. While there is a range of additional train travel discounts available in Japan, many rail passes, such as the Japan Rail Pass, are not accessible to Japanese citizens. The JR Tokyo Wide Pass and the JR Seishun 18 Kippu, among others, are discounted train passes accessible to foreigners residing in Japan.

Cycling is an extremely cost-effective mode of transportation, particularly if you live in a city. Nearly all railway stations and commercial malls include bicycle parking. Local buses supplement rail and subway networks in major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka and are the primary mode of public transportation in cities with sparse train networks and the suburbs. Taxis may be found near railway terminals in practically every city, and they may be the only method to get about once trains and buses stop running around midnight. When travelling in parties of three or four persons, they can also be a cost-effective choice across shorter distances.

  • Car Ownership

Due to mandated bi-annual inspections (shaken), mandatory insurance, an automotive tax, and the charge for a parking place owning a car in Japan is relatively expensive (in large cities). The automobiles themselves, on the other hand, are reasonably priced, with smaller new cars starting at roughly 1.3 million yen. Tolls are charged for using expressways.

  • Public Transportation

If you’re not travelling on day trips, you shouldn’t spend more than 1000 to 1500 Yen each day on transportation inside Tokyo or Japan’s major cities. If you visit the city and travel more than that, you’re probably attempting to see too much in one day.

💸Leisure/Entertainment Costs in Japan

In most cities, movie theatres (ticket costs vary from 1000 to 2000 yen), karaoke bars (hourly rates start at 200 yen), and gaming centres are available for amusement. Theatrical productions and live concerts are conducted throughout the year. Live concerts by well-known local and international artists are more common in major cities like Tokyo and Osaka. Depending on the seat, tickets start at roughly 6000 yen.

📖Cost of Studying in Japan

The most fundamental heads that are to be considered are elements like tuition fees, visa requirements, living costs, travel, etc. while talking about the cost of studying in Japan. Some of the core elements that you have to incur while studying in Japan are mentioned below in detail.

🏫Public School

Because public schools do not charge tuition for compulsory education, these programmes help pay for things like food, transportation, supplies, and field excursions. The High School Enrollment Support Fund System provides tuition subsidies to households earning less than the yearly income requirement for upper secondary pupils.

🏫International/Private Schools

When comparing schooling alternatives in Japan, international schools are by far the most expensive. Tuition ranges from 1.5 to 2.3 million JPY (13,700–21,000 USD) each year, with additional expenses for uniforms, school supplies, and other items. Remember to account for the registration cost.

🎓Higher Education

Tuition costs in Japan are quite low, especially when compared to those in the United States. In the United States, “in-state” students pay at least $10,000 a year in tuition, while “out-of-state” and foreign students pay significantly more. Japanese public institutions charge 535,800 yen ($6,500) in tuition.

💸Tuition Fees

The most vital element in estimating the cost of studying in Japan is the tuition fee which can vary as per your chosen program and university. To help you consider the tuition fees for the different universities in Japan, we have divided them into the following: 

  • National Universities (Akita University, Fukushima University, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Nagasaki University, etc.)
  • Public Universities (The University of Tokyo, Kyushu University, Tokyo University of the Arts, etc.)
  • Private Liberal Arts Universities (Waseda University, Sophia University, etc.)
  • Private Science Universities

When compared to European and American countries, Japan is relatively affordable but the program fee can make a sizeable difference between these universities in Japan. Check out the following table to see the average cost of studying at these universities in Japan:

Type of UniversityAverage Costs for the first year (YEN)INR (Approximately)
National Universities537,8003,70,762
Public Universities537,8003,70,762
Private Liberal Arts Universities7,46,2005,14,440
Private Science Universities10,49,0007,23,200

🎓Undergraduate and Postgraduate Fees

Public and national universities offer more affordable programs as compared to private universities. When it comes to the type of courses, the average tuition fee for UG courses can be estimated at around 12,40,000 YEN to 28,30,000 YEN (roughly 8,50,000- 20,00,000 INR). For postgraduate courses and master’s degrees, you can expect to pay around 12,50,000 YEN – 44,00,000 YEN (roughly 9,00,000- 31,00,000 INR) per year.

🎓Doctoral Degree Fees

For pursuing a doctoral degree in Japan, the cost of studying can be somewhere close to the tuition fee of postgraduate programs but you can avail of varied PhD scholarships to minimise the same. In line with this, if you choose an English language course, the estimated cost is around 19,000 YEN – 1,20,000 YEN (roughly 13,000- 85,000 INR). Apart from this, universities may require additional funding in terms of tuition fees or operating costs and enrollment fees will also be charged at the time of application which can range from 2,80,000-3,90,000 YEN (roughly 1,93,300-2,69,000 INR). 

Note: The aforementioned tuition fees are only average costs. The actual tuition costs completely depend upon the choice of university and program. If you aim to study an affordable degree program, then consider opting for a National or Public university in Japan and find the best scholarships available for your chosen course to lessen the overall cost of studying.

Must Read: Top 4 Japan Scholarships for Indian Students You Never Knew Existed!

💵Student Visa Costs

Japan has a “general visa exemption arrangement” with a total of 68 countries across Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania, the Middle East and Africa. So, the citizens of these countries will only require a valid passport to study at a Japanese university for up to 3 months. When it comes to Indian students planning to study in Japan, a student visa will be essentially required to enter the country. The university or institute in Japan which you have chosen will be your sponsor and will lend assistance in obtaining the student visa.

You will have to apply for a long-term visa as an Indian student planning to study in Japan. The application fee for a Japan Student Visa for Indian nationals as of April 2020 is as follows:

  • Single or Multiple Entry Visa: 550 INR [797.22 YEN]
  • Transit Visa: 50 INR [72.47 YEN]

If you are not an Indian citizen and apply for Japan Student Visa from India, then the visa fee is as follows:

  • Single Entry: 1900 INR [2754 YEN]
  • Multiple Entry: 3850 INR [5850 YEN]
  • Transit Visa: 450 INR [652.27 YEN]

The visa fee will be collected in the currency of the country where the Embassy / Consulate General is located. Students have to keep in mind that the application fee for a student visa is different for all countries, and depends on the nationality of the student and course chosen by the student. You can visit the official website of the Embassy of Japan in India for more information.

Must Read: Japan Student Visa Rejection

Click here to check out our exclusive Cost of Living Calculator for estimating the living costs of different study-abroad destinations!

💰Cost of MBBS in Japan

Japan is often opted by Indian students when it comes to pursuing MBBS abroad owing to advanced medical techniques that are followed in the country. For the students willing to pursue MBBS in Japan, the average cost will be around 535,800 YEN (INR 3,50,000). Along with this, extra fees in terms of application, examination and accommodation charges of almost 90,000- 1,50,000 YEN (INR 60,000- 1,00,000).

Must Read: MBBS in Japan

💰Cost of Masters in Japan

Masters are generally considered a hard toll to take when it comes to the financial aspect. But considering Japan, pursuing a master’s seems like a piece of cake. The country offers a variety of masters in various fields from medical and management to hospitality and fine arts. On average, you will be expected to spend an amount of 250,000- 550,000 YEN (INR 1,60,000- 3,70,000). 

💰Cost of MBA in Japan

The average cost of your chosen MBA will vary from one university to another. Along with the university chosen, your fees for the MBA course will vary as per the specialization you have chosen. Another crucial factor that affects the cost of an MBA in Japan is the duration of the program. The courses which last for a longer duration usually cost more than shorter ones. Generally, the tuition fee for an MBA will be around 450,000- 4,700,000 YEN (INR 3,00,000- 32,00,000). 

💰Cost of Japanese Language Course in Japan

If you have fallen for the Japanese language and are looking forward to learning the insights of it, then, you will easily find solutions for the same. Many academic institutions and universities offer short and long-term language courses for Japanese. The estimated cost for it is around INR 150,000-200,000 YEN (INR 1,00,000- 1,30,000).

💰Scholarships and Financial Aid

While studying in Japan, international students with a student visa are not allowed to work, if and only if they take the permission of the school and the immigration office for a set maximum number of hours per week. To provide financial aid to foreign students, the government of Japan has established scholarships for international students and some of these are as follows:

Research StudentsResearch studies
Undergraduate StudentsUG Bachelor’s Degree
College of Technology StudentsUG Diploma
Specialized Training College StudentsUG Certificate
Japanese Studies StudentsUG Certificate
Young Leaders’ Program StudentsMasters Degree course
Teacher Training StudentsUG Certificate

Apart from these, you can also explore the following scholarships:

  • Japan Study Support Scholarships
  • The Monbukagakusho Honors Scholarship for Privately Financed International Students
  • Student Exchange Support Program (Scholarship for Short-term Study in Japan)
  • ADB-Japan Scholarship Program for Developing Countries in Asia-Pacific
  • UNU-INWEH Scholarships in Integrated Drylands Management for Developing Country Students

💸Average Cost of Living in Japan

We receive a pre-tax monthly income of 345,000 if we split the average yearly wage by twelve. We take 40% of the total, or $138,000, which is approximately equal to the predicted average tax payments from October and add the average Japanese rent of 55,533 and daily costs of 91,560 to get a fair estimate of the average monthly cost of living. That works out to a total of 285,093 yen per month as the average cost of living in Japan. This leaves us with 59,907 from our pay, indicating that you may live comfortably in Japan. Additionally, you may be able to save money.

✅Key Tips to Reduce Overall Living Costs in Japan

Overall, the cost of living in Japan is moderate but not cheap, particularly for students from countries with low exchange rates. Here are some helpful hints for lowering your total cost of living in Japan:

  • Students pursuing a graduate degree or a PhD from one of Japan’s prominent institutions might consider living in the relevant institution’s dormitory to save money.
  • Students can utilise public transportation and share trips with other students instead of paying for private transportation. It will undoubtedly assist international students in lowering their living costs in Japan.
  • Certainly, eating at upscale restaurants or cafés regularly may be costly. As a result, you must seek a cost-effective choice. The university cafeteria and street food are both substantially less expensive options. Furthermore, certain bars and restaurants have higher drink/dinner costs. Takeout is a preferable alternative if at all feasible.
  • When Living in Japan, students can usually work part-time for roughly 20 hours per week. Students are hired as interns and freelancers by a variety of workplaces and businesses. As a consequence, you’ll be able to support yourself comfortably and cover your living expenses in Japan.

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Mr. Astronaut👨‍🚀🚀- “ Kiddos, I have answered all your queries with the utmost precision that I was capable of. Now, I will be taking my leave, but if you think that I might have missed something do check out the FAQ section or drop a comment. I always respond!”


Q1. Will living in Japan become cheaper or more costly in the future?

Ans. There’s still a chance that the scheduled increase in the consumption tax from 8% to 10% in October won’t happen. Many dislike the concept since it can reduce consumption even more. With a 0.6 per cent year-over-year increase in June, the latest statistics for the core consumer price index, issued on July 19, indicated the weakest rate of growth in over two years.
However, there are contradicting claims, with some claiming that Shinzo Abe would implement the scheduled tax rise. As a result, the risk of price increases eroding our profitability remains a possibility.

Q2. What about the cost of living in Japan?

Ans. Rent is one of our most significant living expenses. Tokyo is home to Japan’s most costly real estate, with offices, retail, and homes all competing for space in the metropolis. The average monthly rent for a one-room (1R) or studio apartment in Tokyo is 89,500 yen, according to Apamanshop, a Japanese real estate leasing firm.
It lowers to about half in Osaka, at 44,800, and much lower in Hokkaido, one of Japan’s most rural places, at 32,300. The sum of these three numbers is 55,533.

Q3. What is the average household spending in Japan?

Ans. So, how do you spend your cash? While we all have our spending habits, we all have a few things in common, such as food, rent, utilities, health care, and taxes. Calculating this will provide us with a cost of living calculation for Japan.

Hence, we hope that this blog has answered all your queries regarding the cost of Living in Japan. Planning to pursue higher studies in Japan? Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad

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    1. Hi Suman!

      Please reach out to our experts at 1800572000 and get all the details about how to apply to the best universities in Japan for fine arts! All the best.

    2. Hey! This is Siddhi. I’m also hoping to get into University of Tokyo for BFA. Have you already applied to the University? If yes, can I know how to contact you?

  1. I want to apply for a masters degree course in a Japanese university after completing my graduation from India. I want to gain an overall knowledge about the complete basic procedure to apply for a Japanese university and scholarships available

    1. Hi, Oishe!
      To know more about Japanese university and admission process call us at 1800 57 2000!

  2. Dear sir, Presently I am studying in class 12 science faculty from CBSE board India and I will be passing out in March 2022. I would like to pursue my higher education ie. Bachelor degree in animation from Japan University. Hence, it is requested to guide me to study in Japan

  3. What sat score will be sufficient to get admission in engineering undergraduate program in English medium in Japan ?

    1. Hi Suman!

      Please reach out to our experts at 1800572000 and get all the details about how to apply to the best universities in Japan for fine arts! All the best.

    2. Hey! This is Siddhi. I’m also hoping to get into University of Tokyo for BFA. Have you already applied to the University? If yes, can I know how to contact you?

  1. I want to apply for a masters degree course in a Japanese university after completing my graduation from India. I want to gain an overall knowledge about the complete basic procedure to apply for a Japanese university and scholarships available

    1. Hi, Oishe!
      To know more about Japanese university and admission process call us at 1800 57 2000!