What is the cost of living in Japan? 日本の生活費
Breaking the myth of overpriced Japan
Tokyo has long been at the top of the ranking of the most expensive cities in the world, but what is the real cost of daily living in Japan? Here is some useful information if you plan to travel to Japan for an extended period, or to even live there.
Some points of comparison
According to Numbeo, which collects data on the costs of goods and services around the world, prices are on average 2.23% higher in Japan than in France. On the other hand, rents would be 6.75% lower in Japan. Of course, this varies enormously depending on the city and it would not be relevant to compare the prices of Tokyo with those of medium-sized cities like Nantes or Dijon. Here we will talk about prices at the national level.
With an average monthly salary of 2,120 euros, the Japanese enjoy purchasing power approximately 10% greater than that of the French. But how does this translate into everyday life?
Eat in Japan
Japan is known for its inexpensive restaurants and it's no surprise that their menus are on average 40% cheaper than restaurants in France. Going to a restaurant remains a rare pleasure for a French family with modest incomes, whereas the Japanese go there very regularly. On the other hand, it costs us 17% less to shop at the supermarket in France! Japanese fruits and vegetables are often overpriced, and so are dairy products. On the other hand, meat and fish are cheaper in Japan.
If you are unfamiliar with inexpensive cooking products in Japan, the best practice is to buy ready-made meals at konbini or eat at family restaurant chains. You will be able to enjoy hot meals (and not bad!) For around 5 euros. In any case, you will have to adapt your way of eating because the ingredients of Western cuisine are not as accessible as with us and French cuisine restaurants are known to be the most expensive!
Getting around: the price of transport in Japan
The Japan Rail Pass is THE economical solution if you travel a lot in a short time, but the privatization of transport as well as the system of evolving price according to the distance means that the prices remain on average higher than in France on a long journey.
In Paris, you will pay the same price for a 2-minute trip as for crossing the city on 3 different lines. In the Japanese capital, depending on the lines, the company changes. Therefore, you will have to pay a different fare and even buy a new ticket if you don't have a transport card. As a bonus, monthly / annual passes are only valid on a specific route (mainly home-work / school) and calculated according to the distance. It is therefore not always very profitable to choose a lower rent apartment on the outskirts of large cities, since the cost of the trip can be very expensive.
To travel with the Japanese TGV ( shinkansen ), be aware that prices remain the same all year round for the same journey. Whether you buy it the day before or 4 months before your trip, it will cost you the same. So, no bad surprises! However the tickets are not given (count around 100 € to make Tokyo-Kyoto in 3 hours). But the service and comfort are often impeccable and live up to their reputation.
Even if the price of a parking space is staggering in the city center, traveling by car can be a good alternative since gasoline is about 25% cheaper in Japan.
Rental prices are more or less the same in Japan as in France. Staying in a big city is just as expensive and for the same price as 30m2 in the capital, you can rent a pavilion with a garden in the countryside. The significant rural exodus in Japan has also encouraged the fall in rents in the provinces. To buy on the other hand, the prices explode and it will be necessary to hang on to obtain an apartment in Tokyo.
When it comes to charges like electricity and water, the Japanese pay on average 15% more than we do. In question, the poor insulation of the houses and the climatic conditions in summer which push to the excessive use of the air conditioning. Television, telephone and internet subscriptions are also more expensive in the Land of the Rising Sun.
The extras of everyday life
In general, the Japanese are very consumers and go out a lot , especially in big cities where you quickly feel cramped in your small apartment. Even if going to a restaurant or karaoke is not too expensive and can take up a good part of the day, the sports halls are 80% more expensive and you will have to pay almost € 15 for a screening at the cinema . For shopping addicts, you can indulge yourself by paying for clothes and shoes between 15 and 40% cheaper than in France, provided you find your size!