Cost of Living in Kobe: Average, Monthly Costs For International Students

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cost of living in kobe

Are you planning to study in Japan in 2024? If so, you might want to consider Kobe as your destination. Kobe is a historic port city in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan, located on the north shore of Osaka Bay. It is part of the Keihanshin metropolitan area, along with Osaka and Kyoto, and has a population of about 1.5 million people. Apart from its delicious mouthwatering cuisines, it’s also known for its cosmopolitan culture, beautiful scenery, and education sector. In this blog, we will explore the average and monthly cost of living in Kobe for international students in 2024 and some of the reasons why Kobe is a great choice for international students.

Why Study in Kobe?

Here are some reasons for international students to choose Kobe as their study-abroad destination this year:

  • Diverse and welcoming environment: With its long history of opening up to the world, Kobe has a diverse atmosphere with a large foreign community and many international events and festivals. The Japanese city is also known for its friendly and hospitable people, who are eager to interact with foreigners and share their culture.
  • High-quality education: Kobe is home to several prestigious universities, such as Kobe University, Kobe Institute of Computing, and Kobe City University of Foreign Studies. It also has several language schools and vocational colleges, where you can learn Japanese or other skills.
  • Convenient location: Strategically located in the Kansai region, Kobe makes access to other major cities and attractions in Japan easy. You can reach Osaka in 30 minutes, Kyoto in 70 minutes, and Tokyo in 160 minutes by Shinkansen (bullet train). It also has an airport, which connects to domestic and international destinations.
  • Beautiful scenery: Kobe is blessed with a stunning natural environment, surrounded by the Rokko Mountains and the Inland Sea. You can enjoy hiking, skiing, hot springs, and other outdoor activities in the nearby areas. Kobe also has a scenic waterfront, with landmarks such as the Kobe Port Tower, the Kobe Maritime Museum, and the Meriken Park.

Cost of Living in Kobe

The cost of living in Kobe is high, but still lower than in Tokyo or Osaka. A single person needs about $2,250 per month. The following table shows the average monthly cost of living in Kobe 

Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre$499
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre$340
Rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre$1,050
Rent for a three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre$680
Food (groceries for two people)$400
Food (eating out at a mid-range restaurant for two people)$40
Entertainment (cinema tickets for two people)$25
Entertainment (monthly gym membership)$50
Utilities (electricity, gas, water, internet)$200
Transportation (monthly pass for subway and bus)$60
Transportation (one-way ticket for subway or bus)$2
Transportation (taxi fare per kilometre)$3

The following sections will cover each of these living costs in more detail.


The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre is $499, while the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre is $340. The average monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre is $1,050, while the average monthly rent for a three-bedroom apartment outside the city centre is $680. The following table shows the monthly rent for different types of student accommodations in Kobe:

Dormitory (single room with shared facilities)$300 – $500
Shared House (single room with shared facilities)$400 – $600
Private Apartment (one-bedroom with private facilities)$500 – $800


This cost of living in Kobe depends on whether you cook at home or eat out, and what kind of food you prefer. The average monthly cost of food (groceries for two people) in Kobe is $400. The following table shows the average cost of some grocery items in Kobe:

1 litre of milk$1.50
12 eggs$2.50
1 kg of chicken breast$8
1 kg of apples$4
1 kg of bananas$2
1 kg of rice$5
1 loaf of bread$2
1.5 litre of water$1

The average cost of food (eating out at a mid-range restaurant for two people) in Kobe is $40. The following table shows the average cost of some restaurant meals in Kobe:

Curry rice$6


Generally, entertainment in Kobe is not very expensive, compared to other major cities in Japan. The average cost of entertainment (cinema tickets for two people) in Kobe is $25. The following table shows the average cost of some entertainment activities in Kobe:

Museum admission$5 – $10
Park admissionFree – $5
Temple admissionFree – $5
Festival admissionFree – $10
Nightclub admission$10 – $20
Shopping mallFree – $100
Sports event$10 – $50
Cultural event$10 – $50
Monthly gym membership$50

Utilities and Bills

This cost of living in Kobe depends on the size, type, and location of your accommodation, as well as your usage and consumption. The average cost of utilities and bills (electricity, gas, water, internet) in Kobe is $200. The following table shows the average cost of some utilities and bills in Kobe:

Electricity$50 – $100
Gas$30 – $50
Water$20 – $40
Internet$30 – $50
Phone$10 – $30


The average cost of transportation (monthly pass for subway and bus) in Kobe is $60. The following table shows the average cost of some modes of transportation in Kobe: 

Subway$1 – $3
Bus$2 – $4
Train$2 – $10
Taxi$6 – $20
Bike$10 – $50 (rental)

Average Tuition Fees in Kobe

Numerous universities in Kobe welcome both international and domestic students and offer excellent educational opportunities at varying tuition fees. The tuition fee ranges for universities in Kobe are listed below, based on student type and degree.

UniversitiesAnnual Tuition Fee for BachelorAnnual Tuition Fee for Master’s
Kobe City College of Nursing535,800 Yen
Kobe City University of Foreign Studies535,800 Yen535,800 Yen
Kobe Design University950,000 Yen650,000 Yen
Kobe Gakuin University730,000 Yen – 870,000 Yen396,000 Yen – 540,000 Yen
Kobe Institute of Computing680,000 Yen – 720,000 Yen1,400,000 Yen
Kobe International University539,000 Yen
Kobe Shinwa Women’s University800,000 Yen
Kobe Shoin Women’s University581,000 Yen – 588,000 Yen520,000 Yen
Kobe Tokiwa University480,000 Yen – 600,000 Yen
Kobe University535,800 Yen535,800 Yen
Konan University936,000 Yen – 1,496,000 Yen617,000 Yen – 803,000 Yen
University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences770,000 Yen

Things to Consider Before Moving to Kobe

Before you pack your bags and book your flight to Kobe, there are some things that you should know and prepare for. Here are some tips and advice for international students who want to study and live in Kobe in 2024:

Visa and Immigration

To study in Japan, you will need a student visa, which is valid for up to one year and can be renewed. You will need to apply for the visa at the Japanese embassy or consulate in your home country, after receiving a Certificate of Eligibility from your school in Japan. You will also need to register your residence and obtain a residence card within 14 days of arriving in Japan.

Health Insurance and Medical Care

As a foreign student in Japan, you are required to join the National Health Insurance (NHI) system, which covers 70% of your medical expenses. You will need to pay a monthly premium, depending on your income and location. You will also need to pay a co-payment of 30% for each medical service.

Culture and Language

Japan has a unique and rich culture, which can be both fascinating and challenging for foreigners. You will need to learn and respect the customs, etiquette, and values of the Japanese people, such as bowing, exchanging business cards, removing shoes, and using honorifics. 

You will also need to learn some basic Japanese language skills, such as greetings, numbers, directions, and shopping. You can take Japanese classes at your school or a language school in Kobe.

Climate and Weather

Kobe has a humid subtropical climate, which means that it has four distinct seasons, with hot and humid summers and mild and dry winters. The average temperature in Kobe is 16.6°C, with the highest in August (27.8°C) and the lowest in January (6.4°C). 

Kobe also experiences occasional typhoons, earthquakes, and landslides, so you should be prepared for emergencies and follow the instructions of the authorities.


Q1. Is Kobe cheaper than Tokyo or Osaka for international students?

Ans. Yes, Kobe generally has a lower cost of living compared to Tokyo and Osaka. You can expect to spend 15-25% less on essentials like rent, groceries, and transportation. However, individual expenses can vary with lifestyle choices and preferences.

Q2. Can I realistically live in Kobe on a budget of 100,000 Yen per month?

Ans. While challenging, living on 100,000 Yen per month in Kobe is possible with careful planning and budgeting. Opt for shared accommodation, cook most meals at home, utilize free activities, and take advantage of student discounts wherever available. Be prepared to limit entertainment and travel expenses.

Q3. Are there any additional costs I should consider besides the academic ones in Kobe?

Ans. Yes, some additional costs might factor into your budget depending on your situation. These could include:
Visa fees and health insurance
Study materials and textbooks
Travel within Japan
Personal expenses

Related Reads:

Japan Scholarships for Indian Students 2024: Apply Now!How does the Education System in Japan work?
Cost of Living in Japan for Indian StudentsBest University in Japan for International Students
MEXT Scholarship 2023-24: Know Everything About ItUniversities for Engineering in Japan

We hope that this blog gave you all the information regarding the cost of living in Kobe in 2024 for international students. Stay tuned to Leverage Edu for more updates on studying abroad. Thank you for reading!

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