28 Nov How Much You Need to Live Comfortably in Tokyo [Infographic]
Just accepted a job in Tokyo and have no idea how far your wage will stretch? Or perhaps you have a lifestyle in mind and are wondering how much you need to earn to achieve it?
If you’re new to Japan, it can be difficult to figure out how much money you need to live comfortably. Check out our infographic on the Cost of Living in Tokyo for an easy to understand breakdown.
Here’s some bonus information and spending tips!
Wages in Japan
As in all countries, wages vary dramatically depending on company, industry, education, and experience level. We recommend researching your particular industry to gain an understanding of expected salary.
Generally speaking, new graduates joining Japanese companies can expect to earn approximately ¥250,000 per month before tax. Although livable, as can be seen in the infographic, this wage doesn’t leave much wriggle room. As a person reaches mid-career they are likely to be earning around ¥500,000 per month. This allows them to live very comfortably and put more money towards savings. Finally, if you are earning at the executive level of ¥1,000,000 per month or above, you can enjoy quite a luxurious lifestyle in Tokyo.
Tax and other deductions
Approximately 20% of your monthly wage will be automatically deducted to pay for income tax, health insurance, pension, and employment insurance. The exact amount varies depending on your income, with lower wages paying less than 20% and higher wages paying slightly more. You can use this website to calculate your deductions and take-home income.
You are most likely to be approved for a property if the rent is a third of your wage (before tax), or less. Depending on the landlord or property manager, it can be possible combine your wages with your partner and rent a more expensive apartment. However, if you stop living together, the person who signed the contract must continue to cover the rent.
In this infographic, we have calculated the size of apartment each type of person can rent in Shibuya Ward, which has an average price of ¥3,855 per square meter (or ¥358/ft²). For more information on apartment sizes in Japan, you can read this article.
At Apts.jp, our listings start at ¥100,000 per month and are most suited to clients approaching mid-career and above (earning above ¥300,000 per month).
The cost of your electricity, gas, and water depends on a number of factors such as your appliances, the size or your apartment, and your lifestyle. In the infographic, we’ve calculated utilities assuming a basic phone and internet plan. If you want the latest smartphone or the biggest data plan, you’ll need to take funds from your personal spending.
Food and Dining
Food, glorious food! Tokyo is the place to be for incredible cuisine ranging from tasty street eats to gourmet Michelin Star restaurants. If there’s one place in your budget you’re likely to spend more than intended, it’s going to be on food.
Not only can temptation get the better of you with the thousands of eateries across Tokyo, but in a country of compact apartments and near non-existent home party culture, you will find a lot of your socializing will be in restaurants and bars. If you’re hoping to save money in this area, meal prepping is highly recommended. If you simply must eat out, lunch menus in Japan are considerably more affordable than dinner.
On the other hand, if you have more room in your budget, many expats enlist the services of domestic helpers or personal chefs to prepare healthy home meals without the hassle of shopping and cooking.
We haven’t included transport on this infographic as most people working full time in Tokyo receive a Commuter Pass (定期券 teiki-ken) from their employer. A commuter pass covers your travel from the station closest to your house, to the station closest to your office. You can stop at any station along your route for no extra fee, and it even works on weekends! This means you only need to pay for personal transport expenses outside of your regular route.
We hope you found this useful! Visit our blog for even more articles about life in Tokyo and how to find an apartment in Japan.
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