No doubt the cost of living in Tokyo is one of the highest in the world. It even ranks as #1 in Asia for Highest Cost of Living Index (2019) according to this site.
Here is an estimated breakdown of my current expenses so you’ll get the feel of how much you are expected to prepare every month. I live alone but I have friends who visit and stay sometimes.
|A) Monthly Rent and Utilities||Cost in Yen|
|Apartment Rent |
2DK layout; 35sqm
|Electricity (in winter time)||5,000|
|Gas (in winter time)||3,000|
Sim Only Contract
FLET’S Hikari fiber; 1Gbps
|Total per month||108,200|
|B) Meal Expenses (Work days)||Cost in Yen|
|Total in 21 days||44,100|
|C) Meal Expenses (Non Working days)||Cost in Yen|
|Total in 9 days||14,400|
Total Monthly Expenses = A + B + C.
= A) 108,200 + B) 44,100 + C) 14,400
= 166,700 yen (or ~80,000 pesos) per month
Remember the estimate above doesn’t include recreational expenses like travel, dining and drinking out with friends, and buying furnitures and other stuff.
Note: In Japan, drinking parties with colleagues could happen a lot more often than you expect. You can refuse to join but joining helps to “build” team spirit.
Living in Tokyo
I’ve been living in Tokyo (in Suginami and Setagaya) for about 4 years now (and another 2 years in Yokohama). It definitely costs a lot more to live here in Tokyo specially when you compare it to living in Metro Manila. Before I moved here in Japan (Mid 2013), I remember I could live with a monthly budget of 30,000 pesos.
I live in a residential area of Tokyo but I work in Central Tokyo (Nihonbashi). Lunch in Central Tokyo on work days are expensive but I work as a Senior Software Engineer on a great international company so it’s not really a concern for me right now. That’s also a reason I have some leeway on the size of my apartment even though I live alone.
My apartment is 2DK which means I have 2 bedrooms, a dining+kitchen (DK) room, and a separate area for bathroom and laundry. It is 7 minutes from the nearest station.
Reducing the estimate above is very possible. For example, instead of renting a 2DK apartment, you can also rent a smaller studio type one (e.g.1K or 1R) which costs from 50,000 yen to 70,000 yen. Even cheaper if you are willing to walk more from the station. You can also go for a sharehouse which is also cheaper than having your own apartment. A sharehouse is like dormitory. You rent your private bedroom but the living is shared. You may or may not have your own private bathroom.
You can also cut expenses by preparing and cooking your own food. Buy ingredients in supermarkets and prepare your lunch and dinner ahead of time. I’m not sure how much you will save from this but I guess it will be about 20-30% on your food expenses.
Living in Tokyo is financially hard specially for us Filipinos since most of the time we have families who we need to support back in the Philippines. I’m single but I send money to my parents every month.
There you go. You now have an idea on how expensive living in Tokyo is. If you have questions, feel free to comment or send me a message.