What Is the Monthly Average Cost of Living in Japan in 2019?

We've put together a breakdown of living costs in Japan so you don't have to.

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Whether you’re living alone for the first time ever, or have been living on your own for a while already in your country, it is a different situation in Japan. Budgeting and knowing how much of your salary goes where is very important. As a guide, here is the breakdown of how much an average Japanese male who lives in Kyoto spends in a month:

Source: Kyoto Sohyo (Kyoto Labor Union)

Take note that this is simply an average, and people live different according to their needs and wants. 

Rent - ¥41,667/month

Although there are different types of housing in Japan, rent will most likely take the biggest chunk out of your salary. While there are other factors that affect rent (such as location, etc.), there are other compensating factors to take into consideration as well. Such as the commute time, for example. 

Food - ¥44,441/month

The monthly food expenses largely depend on how much you eat out or buy food from outside. For example, buying a
karaage bento (fried chicken bento) box will set you back ¥474, and a bowl of ramen on average costs ¥547. A bowl of gyudon (beef rice bowl) costs an average of ¥374. Either way, it is most definitely cheaper—not to mention healthier—to prepare your own food and enjoy a ¥970 tendon (tempura rice bowl) from time to time. 

*All food prices indicated are based on the May 2019 data sourced from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. 

Utilities - ¥7,419/month

While this is the average monthly utility bill (electricity, gas, and water), this varies greatly during the summer months and winter months, when people use air conditioning and heaters more. 

Furniture and Household Goods - ¥3,836/month

General cleaning and laundry supplies, and other house care items depend on the seasons as well. 

Clothing and Footwear - ¥5,921/month

Same with the above, this depends on the seasons, with winter months requiring more layers of clothing or the rainy months requiring more sturdy footwear. Then again, even though this is indicated as a “monthly” expense, does one need to buy brand new clothing and shoes every month? 

Medical Expenses - ¥1,137/month

Although it can’t be helped getting sick, Japan’s health insurance takes 70% (in general) of the cost away. 

Transportation/Communication/Internet - ¥18,612/month

Even though this may seem like a large amount, take note that most of the time, companies in Japan reimburse their employees’ commuting expenses. For those who are taking the bus or train, there is the commuter pass or
teikiken; and for those who need to drive to work, there is a set method in calculating the monthly gasoline costs (also reimbursed by the company). 


*Take note that this is simply the average cost for transportation/communication/internet and is not the set amount. 

Entertainment & Leisure - ¥27,510/month 

There are many things to do for fun in Japan, especially when you live here! A movie ticket, for example, would cost an average of ¥1,800 and soccer game tickets cost an average of ¥5,000. Joining the gym would have a monthly membership fee averaging ¥7,989.  If you want to enjoy a small trip every now and then or a major trip to visit your family, then this is one factor to take note of.

*All prices (movie ticket, soccer game ticket, etc.) indicated are based on the May 2019 data sourced from the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare.

Taxes & Pension - ¥49,595/month

Being a resident of Japan also requires you to pay the necessary taxes and pension, which—if you are an employee of a Japanese company—is almost always automatically deducted from your salary. 

Miscellaneous Expenses - ¥23,434/month

Whether it’s for having fun with friends, going on dates, or simply treating yourself, it is always nice to have a life-work balance. On the other hand, this can also go into extra savings! 

Savings - ¥17,800/month

With 7.4% of their monthly salary going to savings, it may not seem like a lot, but take note that most other factors are optional. There are others who are able to save a lot more, but there are also some who don’t save anything at all.

In the end, it really depends on what you prioritize! 

 (12 June 2019)

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