Cost of Living in Tokyo: A Guide

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Tokyo is one of the world’s top industrial cities. Tokyo is home to the corporate headquarters of several companies. In addition, the city is well-known for its work prospects, tradition, and culture, which welcome students and expats from all over the world for study and employment. According to the ‘Mercer Cost of Living Survey 2021, Tokyo is the world’s fourth most expensive city for foreigners to reside in. Tokyo’s grocery prices are 41.51% higher than those in London. However, Tokyo is less expensive than major cities such as New York and California. This post will look at the cost of living in Tokyo.


Must Read: Cost of Living in Japan for Indian Students | Living Expenses

Why Choose Tokyo to Study Abroad?

Tokyo is Japan’s industrial, commercial, educational, and cultural center. It is the world’s sixth-largest financial center. The diversity of its universities, as well as its position as Japan’s economic and educational capital, make it an ideal location for your study abroad adventure. Before we read the cost of living in Tokyo, read the top reasons why you should study abroad in Tokyo.

  • Tuition fees are substantially lower in Japan than in many other nations like the USA or the UK.
  • Scholarships offered by the Japanese government, colleges, corporations, and other organizations such as the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) help students with their living expenses.
  • Japanese engineering, design, and technological expertise are well known.
  • Japan is a world leader in a variety of sectors, including engineering, robotics, and biological sciences, as well as astronautics and oceanography. Furthermore, several colleges have played key roles in various sectors of the humanities.
  • A combination of tradition and cutting-edge technology; old and new; East and West; natural and artificial. Moreover, Japanese people are recognized for their hard work and the value of discipline.
  • It is a safe place to live and study because of its low crime rates.

Must Read: Navigating Uncertainties: Tips for Studying Abroad with Confidence

Cost of Living in Tokyo

Now that you have ample reasons to consider Tokyo as your study-abroad destination, here is the breakdown of the cost of living in Tokyo. Read to find the monthly expenses based on different categories.

Here is an overview of the cost of living in Tokyo. 

ParticularsAverage Expense 
Taxes and utility bills 13%
Travel and commute7-9%
Household and groceries3%

Read to find the monthly expenses based on different categories.


Below is the breakdown of the transportation expenses:

TransportationAverage Price
One-way Ticket (Local Transport)JPY 150
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)JPY 5,200
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)JPY 500
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)JPY 420
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)JPY 3,388
Gasoline (1 liter)JPY 160
Volkswagen Golf 1.4 90 KW Trendline (Or Equivalent New Car)JPY 2,350,000
Toyota Corolla Sedan 1.6l 97kW Comfort (Or Equivalent New Car)JPY 2,113,333


Below is the breakdown of the food expenses:

RestaurantsAverage Price
Meal, Inexpensive RestaurantJPY 1,000
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-courseJPY 6,000
McMeal at McDonalds (or Equivalent Combo Meal)JPY 750
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)JPY 395
Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)JPY 650
Cappuccino (regular)JPY 473
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)JPY 159
Water (0.33 liter bottle)JPY 114
Source: Numbeo
MarketsAverage Price
Milk (regular), (1 litre)JPY 208
Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)JPY 218
Rice (white), (1kg)JPY 413
Eggs (regular) (12)JPY 306
Local Cheese (1kg)JPY 1,688
Chicken Fillets (1kg)JPY 995
Beef Round (1kg) (or Equivalent Back Leg Red Meat)JPY 2,471
Apples (1kg)JPY 839
Banana (1kg)JPY 377
Oranges (1kg)JPY 778
Tomato (1kg)JPY 670
Potato (1kg)JPY 508
Onion (1kg)JPY 447
Lettuce (1 head)JPY 180
Water (1.5 liter bottle)JPY 118
Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)JPY 1,000

Utility Bills/Expenses

Below is the breakdown of the utility bill expenses:

Utilities (Monthly)Average Price
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 ApartmentJPY 23,366
Mobile Phone Monthly Plan with Calls and 10GB+ DataJPY 3,556
Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL)JPY 4,376


Below is the breakdown of the entertainment expenses:

Sports And LeisureAverage Price
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 AdultJPY 7,336.45
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend)JPY 2,213.81
Cinema, International Release, 1 SeatJPY 1,900.00
Clothing And ShoesAverage Price
1 Pair of Jeans (Levis 501 Or Similar)JPY 4,697.88
1 Summer Dress in a Chain Store (Zara, H&M, …)JPY 3,655.67
1 Pair of Nike Running Shoes (Mid-Range)JPY 7,345.29
1 Pair of Men Leather Business ShoesJPY 9,420.40
Source: Numbeo 2023

Accommodation/ Housing

Below is the breakdown of the accommodation expenses:

Rent Per MonthAverage Price
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City CentreJPY 138,750
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of CentreJPY 82,599
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City CentreJPY 328,088
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of CentreJPY 166,070
Buy Apartment PriceAverage Price
The price per Square Meter to Buy an Apartment in the City CentreJPY 1,007,979
Price per Square Meter to Buy an Apartment Outside of CentreJPY 594,273
Source: Numbeo 2023

Average Tuition Fees Tokyo

The table below depicts the average admission and tuition fees for the first year. You may also be required to pay test costs, teaching materials, and practical training fees, among other things.

Admission, tuition, and other costs vary by school. Tuition prices may also vary based on where you live, so please verify the website and application rules of the institution you intend to apply to ahead of time.

Type of SchoolNational
Local Public
(Excludes Medical, Dental, and Ph.D. programs)
(Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical programs)
Graduate SchoolsJPY 820,000JPY 900,000JPY 1,000,000JPY 850,000
Universities (Undergraduate) JPY 820,000JPY 930,000JPY 1,100,000Private
(Excludes Medical, Dental, and Phrma Programs)
Junior CollegesJPY 600,000JPY 960,000

Average Fees in Other Different Types of Colleges in Japan

Colleges of Technology (National)Approx. JPY 320,000
Professional Training CollegesApprox. JPY 900,000
Japanese Language InstitutionsApprox. JPY 680,000

Must Read: Best Restaurants Near the University of Tokyo

Tips for Reducing Expenses in Tokyo

Living in Tokyo can be expensive, however, there are various methods to cut costs:

  • Live Like a Local: While it is often easier said than done, living like a local is the most effective way to reduce spending to a minimum. This may imply that you must give up some of the lifestyle to which you have grown used while overseas.
  • Consider Living Outside of the City Center: The classic real estate adage, “location, location, location,” is undeniably true in Tokyo. Living in the outskirts or surrounding cities can be much less expensive than living in Tokyo’s central business district. While commuting time may be longer, the transportation system is efficient and dependable, which can balance transportation costs.
  • Consider living in a smaller, more affordable apartment: Cheap Tokyo apartments may not be lavish or roomy, but they might be a feasible option for people on a tight budget who are ready to make some space and amenity concessions. Before committing, carefully analyze the location and amenities of a cheap apartment to ensure that it suits your needs and budget.
  • Look for Shared Housing: Renting a room in a shared apartment or house can be a cheap option to live in Tokyo. Sharing living expenditures including rent, utilities, and groceries can result in significant savings.
  • Use Public Transit: Tokyo has a well-developed public transit system that includes trains, buses, and subways. Purchasing a monthly pass may be less expensive than purchasing individual tickets. At the absolute least, avoid taking taxis and walk wherever possible. If you possess a car, avoid expressways with high tolls and find the least expensive parking lots possible, as parking costs can soon mount up.
  • Cook at Home: Eating out in Tokyo can be costly, so cooking at home can save a significant amount of money. Grocery stores and supermarkets provide a variety of low-cost options for food and household necessities.
  • Take Advantage of Free or Reduced-Priced Activities: There are numerous free or reduced-priced activities in Tokyo, such as visiting parks, museums, and shrines. Look for free or reduced-price admission days, coupons, and special deals.
  • Shop at Discounted Stores: Numerous discount stores in Tokyo sell a wide range of things at lower costs than regular stores. Don Quijote, Daiso, and Seria are among these stores.
  • Compare Prices: Before making a purchase, compare prices at several stores and online. This might assist you in finding the finest offers and saving money.

Must Read: Top Hangout Spots Near University of Tokyo

Things to Consider Before Moving to Tokyo

Here are the top 10 things you should consider before moving to Tokyo:

  1. Learn the Japanese language as it will not only help you communicate with locals but accelerate the paperwork process
  2. Get your residence card on arrival as it will further help you open a bank account, get health insurance and more.
  3. Tokyo still functions largely on cash so it is advisable to carry an ample amount of cash with you.
  4. Prepare to make a sizable downpayment on your rental. You should budget for three months, or even six months, upfront. 
  5. You must register your address at your local ward office or kuyakusho within two weeks of your arrival. To do so, bring your passport and recently issued residency card.
  6. You’ll soon discover that your local district has designated days for specific products. Respect the recycling rules and you will be respected!
  7. To use local train, bus, or subway services, purchase a rechargeable PASMO or SUICA card.
  8. The Japanese value a keen interest in understanding etiquette and a willingness to improve. To begin, do not pass food between chopsticks, spear food with them, or serve from a shared plate using the end you put in your mouth.
  9. We know you want to experience traditional sushi when in Tokyo, but keep in mind that there are plenty of other options. Soba (buckwheat noodles), hitsumabushi (grilled eel served with rice and spices), okonomiyaki (savoury pancake), takoyaki (octopus-filled dough balls), and onigiri (triangular rice balls with various contents) are all must-tries.
  10. There will be hundreds (and dozens) of unfamiliar products and culinary concepts, and having a friend with you will make this first trip of grocery shopping go much more smoothly!

Must Read: Top Asian Colleges: Best Universities in Japan


Tokyo is an enticing destination due to its intriguing combination of heritage and innovation. Living in this thriving metropolis might be costly, but recognizing the various costs allows you to make more informed decisions.

You may balance cost and quality by carefully considering accommodation, food, transportation, and entertainment alternatives. Embrace Tokyo’s personality while figuring out how to manage your money and discover the various chances that await you in this bustling city.


What is the average cost of living in Tokyo for a single person?

Without rent, a single person’s monthly costs are expected to be USD 925.4 (JPY 137,660.2). The average cost of living in Tokyo, Japan is 32.0% lower than in the United States. Rent is also 65.0% lower on average than in the United States.

What is the cost of living in Japan per month?

The cost of living is moderate. When compared to other large cities, housing, food, and transportation prices are much lower in Japan. This suggests that you may easily live on a monthly budget of $1,120 – $3,156 (JPY 123,200 – JPY 347,000).

What is the cost of living in Tokyo for an Indian family?

Without rent, a family of four would spend USD 3,064 (JPY 457,650) per month. Without rent, a single person’s monthly costs are expected to be USD 859 (JPY 128,360).

This was all about the cost of living in Tokyo, Japan. If you wish to know more about studying abroad in Japan, or anywhere else in the world, connect with our experts at Leverage Edu and book your 30-minute free consultation at 1800 57 2000.

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