Monday, November 01, 2010

The Cost of Living While Working in Japan - What Can You Expect?

The Cost of Living While Working in Japan - What Can You Expect?

The Cost of Living While Working in Japan - What Can You Expect?

By Adam Claydon-Platt

(Photo of drying onions by Ian Griffin)

Working in Japan can be an exciting adventure where you live out some of the most memorable moments of your young life, but how do you know if you have enough money saved up to live comfortably while you are there? How much money you need ultimately depends on the type of lifestyle you are accustomed to, how you plan to live while you are there, and of course how long you are going to be working in the country.

To give you a rough estimate of what the cost of living in Japan may be, let's consider some of the more common expenses that people who vacation and work in the country typically have to pay. There of course may be some other things not listed here that you will want to spend money on yourself, but these basics should have you covered.


Eating is a universal need, and is something you will need to concern yourself with every day that you live and work in Japan. The expenses in this area vary from person to person, but you will generally save a lot of money if you cook most of your meals at home for yourself, as many of the restaurants can be pricey.

For a single person cooking meals at home every day, you should expect to spend around 50,000 yen every month you are in the country. This will go up quickly if you eat out with others occasionally, or if you decide to eat your lunch somewhere near your work.

If you enjoy dining out while in Japan you can expect to pay around 3,000 yen for an average meal out. Fine dining restaurants that serve the best will be considerably higher, so that might be an extra expense that you save for if it interests you.


What makes working in Japan so exciting is the ability to leave your ordinary life behind for a given period of time and live in a new environment. This of course has its downfalls, such as relying upon public transportation, since your vehicle will be back at home, and Japan's streets are too crowded to even think about purchasing a car.

Commuting to and from work, you can expect to pay approx. 20,000 yen for each month you are in the country. This can be reduced drastically if you live close to your work and can walk or ride your bicycle back and forth. It can also be considerably higher if you are going out shopping, dining, or mingling with others on a consistent basis.


Of course, you are going to want to explore Japan and experience the entertainment industry while there, and the prices are not unreasonable. A day of sightseeing and touring may cost around 5,000 yen while a single beer runs around 500 yen.

If you enjoy shopping and want to purchase Japanese fashion, items for your home, and gifts for your loved ones, the prices will vary depending on where you shop and what items you are purchasing. Contrary to what you may think, not all stores in Japan are expensive - in fact many are quite cheap compared to other countries.

Living Expenses

Finally, you will need to plan for your basic living expenses while in Japan, just as you would back home. Most visitors working in the country pay around 70,000 yen per month for their living space, with an extra 10,000 yen each month being due for utility bills. The housing amount can be lower or higher depending on where you live, if you live alone, and how much space you need to have.

I hope this article has been informative in teaching you of the potential costs of living and working in Japan.

If you're looking for Work in Japan, try something different, and work in a Japanese Resort this year! Resort jobs allow you to experience the culture, learn about the Japanese workplace, and have the time of your life!

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