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Cost of Living in Tokyo

Cost of Living in Tokyo

Old Nov 12th 2007, 9:23 pm
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Default Cost of Living in Tokyo

Hi,

I would be very grateful if someone could fill me in on what I need to earn to cover the following:

1. Reasonable 3 bed flat in ex-pat area close to city, etc (if you can comment on places and rents close to western supermarkets and nursery that would be a bonus). I wouldn't want to move to Tokyo and have to commute an hour each way...

2. Reasonable standard of living in Tokyo, ie eating out at a nice restaurant twice a month, weekends skiing and other holidays - nothing too flash but simliar to a professional lifestyle in London.

i'm thinking USD 125,000 - 150,000?? plus

I'm finding it really hard to get this kind of advice.

Any help greatly appreciated.
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Old Nov 13th 2007, 2:20 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living in Tokyo

Originally Posted by Maynard27 View Post
Hi,

I would be very grateful if someone could fill me in on what I need to earn to cover the following:

1. Reasonable 3 bed flat in ex-pat area close to city, etc (if you can comment on places and rents close to western supermarkets and nursery that would be a bonus). I wouldn't want to move to Tokyo and have to commute an hour each way...

2. Reasonable standard of living in Tokyo, ie eating out at a nice restaurant twice a month, weekends skiing and other holidays - nothing too flash but simliar to a professional lifestyle in London.

i'm thinking USD 125,000 - 150,000?? plus

I'm finding it really hard to get this kind of advice.

Any help greatly appreciated.
If it's any help, I was told this past May by a Japanese hairdresser who lives in London that Tokyo has a lower cost of living than London.
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Old Nov 13th 2007, 2:26 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living in Tokyo

Originally Posted by Maynard27 View Post
Hi,

I would be very grateful if someone could fill me in on what I need to earn to cover the following:

1. Reasonable 3 bed flat in ex-pat area close to city, etc (if you can comment on places and rents close to western supermarkets and nursery that would be a bonus). I wouldn't want to move to Tokyo and have to commute an hour each way...

2. Reasonable standard of living in Tokyo, ie eating out at a nice restaurant twice a month, weekends skiing and other holidays - nothing too flash but simliar to a professional lifestyle in London.

i'm thinking USD 125,000 - 150,000?? plus

I'm finding it really hard to get this kind of advice.

Any help greatly appreciated.
I just did an internet search and found these hits-

http://www.housingjapan.net/tokyo_guide/

http://www.escapeartist.com/japan/japan3.htm

I'm sure you could get a general idea about salaries for your industry and experience if you search on the internet.

It's certainly not unusual for Japanese to commute at least 1 hour into Tokyo for work. If it's any consolation, the Japanese public transport system is amongst the most efficient in the world (and arguably the cleanest).

When I was there last year, my Mum's friend's granddaughter commutes over 2 hours one way just to school and she was 16. This is not that unusual for students in Japan.
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Old Nov 14th 2007, 8:07 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living in Tokyo

Originally Posted by Maynard27 View Post
1. Reasonable 3 bed flat in ex-pat area close to city, etc (if you can comment on places and rents close to western supermarkets and nursery that would be a bonus). I wouldn't want to move to Tokyo and have to commute an hour each way...

2. Reasonable standard of living in Tokyo, ie eating out at a nice restaurant twice a month, weekends skiing and other holidays - nothing too flash but simliar to a professional lifestyle in London.

i'm thinking USD 125,000 - 150,000?? plus.

A 3 bedroom apartment in the centre of Tokyo in the ex-pat areas (Azabu, Aoyama, Omotesando, etc) would probably take up your entire budget of $150,000.

The general standard of living isn't so bad, but weekend skiing would be expensive....(and almost unheard of!)

I'd say that you'd need $200,000 or more for the above lifestyle...

On the other hand, if you are prepared to live outside the gaijin (non-Japanese) ghettos you can slash the rental budget by over 50% and still have a good lifestyle.

KEN corporation do most of the expensive gaijin rentals and a look at their website should give you a good idea. I've used them in the past and it's been very smooth, albeit pricey.
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Old Nov 20th 2007, 6:45 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living in Tokyo

thanks for your comments everyone!
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Old Nov 25th 2007, 11:59 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living in Tokyo

There is a lot of mythology about the cost of living in Tokyo. I visited Tokyo for the first time as a tourist in 1993. I stayed one month and the cost, less air fares, was 4000 pounds sterling. I then went to LIVE in Tokyo in 1996 and stayed for one year in order to learn Japanese. This time 4000 pounds was sufficient to live reasonably well for three months. (And this was at a time when Tokyo was undisputed most expensive city in world - now it's only about 4th and cheaper than London) . The point is that when you visit as a tourist, you live like a tourist and spend as a tourist. When you actually LIVE in a place you find out the cheap places to live, eat, etc etc. It's quite true that you could spend $10 dollars for a cup of coffee on the Tokyo Ginza in 1996. That's because it was the most expensive real estate street in the world. But walk thirty seconds to the street immediately behind the Ginza and the cost was $5. Walk a full five minutes and you could enjoy exactly the same cup of coffee in a nice restaurant for only $2. My tip - don't try to replicate your western lifestyle in Japan. Enjoy the Japanese experience. I stayed in an old traditional Japanese house - the Japanese don't want them any more - they want modern western-style apartments. It was old, rickety and utterly utterly charming. It was one of the most enjoyable and spiritually rewarding years of my life. Forget the weekend Piste too you old poser! Go on the 'piste' with some Japanese locals and you'll have the time of your life whether you can understand the lingo or not. Good luck.

An aging gaijin warrior
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Originally Posted by Maynard27 View Post
Hi,

I would be very grateful if someone could fill me in on what I need to earn to cover the following:

1. Reasonable 3 bed flat in ex-pat area close to city, etc (if you can comment on places and rents close to western supermarkets and nursery that would be a bonus). I wouldn't want to move to Tokyo and have to commute an hour each way...

2. Reasonable standard of living in Tokyo, ie eating out at a nice restaurant twice a month, weekends skiing and other holidays - nothing too flash but simliar to a professional lifestyle in London.

i'm thinking USD 125,000 - 150,000?? plus

I'm finding it really hard to get this kind of advice.

Any help greatly appreciated.
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Old Nov 28th 2007, 3:39 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living in Tokyo

Originally Posted by JMRF View Post
There is a lot of mythology about the cost of living in Tokyo. I visited Tokyo for the first time as a tourist in 1993. I stayed one month and the cost, less air fares, was 4000 pounds sterling. I then went to LIVE in Tokyo in 1996 and stayed for one year in order to learn Japanese. This time 4000 pounds was sufficient to live reasonably well for three months. (And this was at a time when Tokyo was undisputed most expensive city in world - now it's only about 4th and cheaper than London) . The point is that when you visit as a tourist, you live like a tourist and spend as a tourist. When you actually LIVE in a place you find out the cheap places to live, eat, etc etc. It's quite true that you could spend $10 dollars for a cup of coffee on the Tokyo Ginza in 1996. That's because it was the most expensive real estate street in the world. But walk thirty seconds to the street immediately behind the Ginza and the cost was $5. Walk a full five minutes and you could enjoy exactly the same cup of coffee in a nice restaurant for only $2. My tip - don't try to replicate your western lifestyle in Japan. Enjoy the Japanese experience. I stayed in an old traditional Japanese house - the Japanese don't want them any more - they want modern western-style apartments. It was old, rickety and utterly utterly charming. It was one of the most enjoyable and spiritually rewarding years of my life. Forget the weekend Piste too you old poser! Go on the 'piste' with some Japanese locals and you'll have the time of your life whether you can understand the lingo or not. Good luck.

An aging gaijin warrior
JMRF
Good post from JMRF. However, when I visit Japan, I definitely go local so I don't seek out Western foods. I eat just like the locals, even if I don't know what it is.

IMHO, if one has the opportunity to live abroad, it's kind of stupid to replicate one's previous lifestyle in a foreign country when one has the opportunity to truly experience another country and culture. Of course, feel free to splurge on home comforts (food, drink, activities) once in a while.
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Old Mar 12th 2008, 3:35 am
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Default Re: Cost of Living in Tokyo

Any more info required?

I live in Japan, Tokyo in an ex-pat area and have been here almost 5 years.
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Old Mar 12th 2008, 3:48 pm
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Default Re: Cost of Living in Tokyo

Originally Posted by Maynard27 View Post
Hi,

I would be very grateful if someone could fill me in on what I need to earn to cover the following:

1. Reasonable 3 bed flat in ex-pat area close to city, etc (if you can comment on places and rents close to western supermarkets and nursery that would be a bonus). I wouldn't want to move to Tokyo and have to commute an hour each way...

2. Reasonable standard of living in Tokyo, ie eating out at a nice restaurant twice a month, weekends skiing and other holidays - nothing too flash but simliar to a professional lifestyle in London.

i'm thinking USD 125,000 - 150,000?? plus

I'm finding it really hard to get this kind of advice.

Any help greatly appreciated.
Difficult as there is so much variation. OK, a 3-bed flat in a nice ex-pat area is going to cost you 600,000 yen per month and up. It varies a great deal. I live in a convenient location that is not particularly "ex-pat" in nature although it is very central. For a large 3-bed flat plus box room it's 650,000 per month. If you go to neighbourhoods like Hiroo where ex-pats want to congregate it can be more.

International education is expensive. Count on, say, 5000 pounds (not yen) per year even for kindergarten. I have no experience beyond that.

Commutes are generally much shorter and less hassle than in London if you live in one of the standard ex-pat areas. Trains, the subway and even the bus very good and reliable unless someone commits suicide, which slows things down a bit. Taxis poor compared to black cabs: some drivers competent and experienced, others just useless. English spoken only rarely.

Cars are cheaper to buy (just an impression) but maintenance is more expensive, especially the shaken checkup every two years which makes the MOT look like a bargain. Parking is expensive. If there isn't a parking space attached to your flat (or if you want one at work - not advised) you can expect to pay around 50,000 yen per month for one.

Eating out is cheaper than in London and with a wider range, from 1,500 yen per meal all the way up to 100,000 yen plus. London has improved out of all recognition over the past 20 years but is now very much biased to the high end, at least that's the impression I get from visits. In Tokyo there is a solid layer of eateries doing lunches in the 800 yen to 2,000 yen range. On the other hand a good sandwich is hard to come by.

Foodstuffs tend to be very expensive in my opinion. Look at the prices per gram (where they're brave enough to put it) for meat and especially fruit and vegetables and your eyes will pop out. Tremendous over-use of packaging and wrapping presumably pushes up already high prices caused by inefficient farming.

Organic food is still rare and difficult to find. Only tiny proportion of shelf space even at the most expensive and fashionable supermarkets frequented by foreigners. Any small town Tesco in the UK is an order of magnitude better in terms of choice and range.

Fish is not necessarily cheap but it's widely available and usually good quality, though you need to be as careful as you would be buying anything else.

Utilities (gas, electric, water) seem expensive to me but this is just an gut feeling. Remember that in the UK you sometimes pay by quarter but in Japan it's monthly. Internet access not cheap (5000 yen per month?) but an order of magnitude faster than most UK with Bflets at 100mbit/sec.

Domestic travel is expensive. It's often cheaper to fly to SE Asia than it is to fly somewhere like Hokkaido or Kyushu - so many do. Plus hotels and ryokan are seldom good value and the latter in particular tend to be very inflexible (haven't yet realised that the customer is PAYING). Bullet trains uniformly excellent but not necessarily cheap. In the UK I bought a 1st class one-way ticket from Paddington to west wales for 41 quid - dirt cheap because I booked it ahead of time. That sort of demand-sensitive pricing doesn't seem to happen with Japanese railways but of course the bullet trains are more reliable than intercity in the UK. Return ticket to Kyoto by bullet train is about 27,000 yen.

I would say you could get by with 100,000 US if you were not spendthrift, but you would probably want to be careful in your choice of flat. 1 million yen per month take home (remember tax rate is about 40%) is enough to be comfortable on.
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