The cost of living in Japan can be incredibly affordable depending on your location, accommodation type, and your lifestyle. While it’s often higher than the rest of Asia in some parts of the country, you may be surprised by how affordable some living expenses can be.
To better help you understand how much money you might expect to spend while living and studying in Japan, we’ve put together some cost of living examples in this article. Keep in mind these are estimates and averages only.
Cost of living in Japan by location
Where you choose to study will be one of the top contributors to your cost of living in Japan. Living in the nation’s capital, Tokyo, can be exciting if you like the big city life and there are more job prospects if you want to find work. But the flipside is you’ll be paying more for everyday living expenses like rent and groceries.
Conversely, life in a smaller city like Okayama or Kofu will be much quieter, but you’ll avoid the high cost of living found in the larger metropolitan areas.
Let’s take a look at some average monthly costs, broken down by location.
**Note these are rough averages only. Prices are always subject to fluctuation, inflation, and individual factors. These include your lifestyle and spending habits, the area of the city you live in, the size of your accommodation, your accommodation provider, and more.
Costs are listed in Japanese Yen.
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Average cost of food, drinks & entertainment
Like other costs in life, the price of food, drinks and entertainment will differ based on location, and the restaurant/cafe/entertainment venue.
Here are some rough price ranges of what you can expect to pay for popular items.
Convenience store onigiri: 100-200 yen
A 550ml bottle of water: 100-200 yen
Pre-prepared meal bowl from supermarket e.g. soba, udon, pasta, katsudon, etc: 400-600 yen
A bowl of ramen: 800-1500 yen
Kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi: 100-500 yen per dish
Beef bowl from Sukiya (large chain restaurant): 350-1000 yen
Beer at an izakaya: 300-700 yen
A meal at an izakaya (including drinks): 2000-4000 yen per person
Movie ticket: 1800-1900 yen
Night club entry: Free to 4000 yen
Standard tuition fees and costs
The cost of studying at a language school will depend on where you are studying and how long you’re studying for. Generally, the longer you study for, the more cost effective the fees end up being on average.
The total costs typically include:
- The student visa application fee
- School admission fee
- Tuition fee
- Material fees
- Facility fees
These costs always go directly to the school, not to Go! Go! Nihon if you are applying through our services.
Here are average tuition costs for 12 months of study based on location and the fees charged by our partner schools.
Tokyo: 834,423 yen
Yokohama: 782,500 yen
Osaka: 808,500 yen
Nagoya: 761,500 yen
Sapporo: 763,000 yen
Kobe: 855,000 yen
Fukuoka: 784,500 yen
Kyoto: 821,500 yen
Okayama: 838,000 yen
Oita: 761,000 yen
Naha: 861,000 yen
Kofu: 720,000 yen
For specific course costs, please visit our language schools page.
Students can work part-time up to 28 hours a week with a part-time work permit. Wages can vary from employer to employer and there is no national minimum wage amount. Each prefecture decides its own minimum wage based on various local factors.
For example, the 2023 minimum wage in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area is 1072 yen per hour. In Hokkaido, it’s 920 yen per hour and in Okinawa it’s 853 yen per hour.
Visit this website for a full table of minimum wages by prefecture.
We recommend students seriously consider their goals in learning Japanese in Japan when thinking about taking on part-time work. The primary purpose of your student visa is to allow you to study in Japan. You must be able to maintain high attendance and good grades, otherwise you may risk having your visa revoked.
Go! Go! Nihon works with a range of language schools across the spectrum of intensity level, from high intensity (no part-time work recommended), to lower intensity (more time to take on part-time work). Talk to us about your preferences so we can offer the best school for your needs.
Weighing up your options
There are many factors that go into your decision to live and study in Japan, with living costs being just one – but a significant one – of them. Be realistic about your financial situation and study goals when choosing where you want to study, what type of accommodation you want to live in, and the lifestyle you want.
Also keep in mind that in order to satisfy visa application requirements, applicants should have at least 1 million yen per six months of full-time study. This is the absolute minimum and you should always aim to have as much more than that as possible.
Go! Go! Nihon is always here to help, so don’t hesitate to contact us to help get your live and study in Japan journey started.