The Cost Of Living In Japan

Here are some average prices of goods and services in Japan. All prices are in Japanese Yen and do not include the 5% consumption tax, payable on all commodities and services in Japan. Prices were taken April 1999. Naturally, the prices may vary, depending on the season, for many food products.
If you are coming to Japan to live, I hope that these prices will give you some idea about the cost of living.

Average Grocery Prices


3 beef steaks, average weigh=240g. 1,280 Yen. Pork fillets, average weight=360g. 670 Yen each. Mince meat, average weight=300g. 447 Yen per pack.


Shell fish, average weight=220g. 260 Yen. Salmon fillets, average weight=260g x 4. 480 Yen. Large shrimp. Average weight =180g. 980 Yen approx 8 pieces. Salmon roe, average weight=50g. 398 Yen.


Potatoes, average weight=1kg. 298 Yen. Mushrooms, average weight=150g. 198 Yen. Carrots, average weight=500g. 198 Yen. Onions, average weight=1kg. 268 Yen. Iceberg lettuce, 180 Yen each. Tomatoes (large), average weight=500g. 330 Yen. Cucumbers, for 5 (small size). 225 Yen.


Oranges, average weight=1kg. 450 Yen. Grapefruit, average weight=800g. 398 Yen. Honeydew melon, 748 Yen each. Apples, 450 Yen for two. Kiwi 225 Yen for three.


Milk, 198 Yen for 1 liter. Eggs, 195 Yen for 10. Sliced bread, 138 Yen for 6 slices.


Canned soft drinks, 120 Yen for an standard or small sized can. Can of beer (Japanese), 500ml, approx 250 Yen. Whisky (Japanese) 2200 Yen per bottle. Other foreign beers, approx 350 Yen per can. Other foreign alcoholic beverages vary greatly. French wine, per bottle. Start at around 2,000 Yen (not vinegar) up to whatever you can afford. Cigarettes 250 Yen per pack.


Short journey on Japan Railways (One station)180 Yen. Bus fares are at around 250 Yen. Taxi fares start at around 650 Yen. Express train fares vary considerably. Narita Express from Narita airport to Ueno Station 2,500 Yen.
Prices do vary from city to city, and rural areas.
Bicycles are a good way to get around, if you don't mind risking your life. Bicycles prices start at around 10,000 Yen, for a basic shopping type bike. New cars cost from 2.2 million Yen, up to whatever you want to pay. Gasoline is around 87 Yen per liter. Yearly car check, around 80,000 Yen.

Utilities And Tax:

Electricity, approx 4,000 Yen per month. Depending on the area you live in and the season. Gas, approx 4,000 Yen per month, same conditions as electric costs. Water, approx 2,000 Yen per month, same conditions as electric costs. Telephone charges for a local call from a public phone, 10 Yen per minute.
Basic rate of income tax= 10%, less if you have children. Consumption Tax=5%. Residence Tax, depends on where you live and how much you are earning.


Accommodation costs vary from area to area. Average costs for Tokyo are given, outside of Tokyo costs are generally less.
One room plus bathroom and small kitchen area (1dk). 100,000 Yen per month. In and around central Tokyo. 2 rooms plus bathroom and kitchen area. 150,000 Yen per month. If you want to live in an exclusive area, like Roppongi, then prices will be that much more expensive. If you live in a suburb then prices will be a little less. 5 months rent in advance is usually required by all landlords. 1 month advance rental, 2 months key money (present from you to the landlord), you will not get this money back. 2 months deposit, to cover damage, etc. You will not see much of this money either. Landlords are notorious for finding fault where none can be found by a normal person.
Gaijin houses, cost around 30,000 Yen per month for a room the size of a closet (4 tatami mat). No furnishings provided, but can usually be rented from the house. Beware most Gaijin Houses are extremely dirty, and from time to time are raided by the police, looking for illegal aliens, drugs and whatever.
Hotel rooms cost around 20,000 Yen per night, for a good hotel (New Otani in Tokyo). Business class hotels cost around 14,000 Yen per night.

General notes:

Like most countries, it is a good idea to shop around to find the best prices. Akihabara (Electric Town) in Tokyo is famous for the large variety of shops selling electrical products. The prices here though, are not always the cheapest to be found. If you are buying an appliance to use in Japan, then you would be advised to look in the discount shops, to be found in most areas of Tokyo and Japan. If you want to buy something to take back to your home country, then Akihabara will be the best place to shop.
Clothing is now sold to fit most sizes of people. Some department stores have departments, selling extra large sizes. Isetan in Shinjuku, has a special department that can even provide clothes for a Sumo wrestler


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