Living costs in Japan and especially in Tokyo are very expensive in the world. However, if you live outside of central Tokyo, who can adjust to a Japanese life style and do not depend too heavily on food and products from your home country, you may be surprised how inexpensive Japan can be.
One of the world’s most expensive land can be found in central Tokyo. Consequently, even tiny apartments in the city center are very expensive.
However, costs of housing are distinctly lower in Tokyo’s suburbs, surrounding prefectures and in other regions and cities of Japan. Sometimes, additional commuting costs are more than the saving on the rent. Most of Japanese companies pay part or all of their employees’ commuting expenses.
If you prefer to live close to city centers, guesthouse for foreigners (gaijin houses) are an inexpensive option to consider. Utilities such as gas, water and especially electricity are expensive, and phone rates are high. It is effective to consider internet phones, callback services and other offers for the expat community, for international calls.
Local supermarkets are relatively inexpensive if you like Japanese food such as seasonal vegetables, seafood, soy bean products and rice. If you visit supermarkets shortly before closing time in the evening, you can purchase remaining perishable product at big discounts.
There are plenty of restaurants where you can have a full meal for between 500and 1000 yen. Noodles (ramen, soba, udon), domburi(beef donburi, tempura donburi,etc.), curry rice, bibimba (Korean style domburi), hamburgers and many more types of dishes are available at such inexpensive restaurants.
You can find easily them around and inside large train stations and in business areas. Although there is no upper price limit when it comes to high class restaurants such as ryoutei, a meal at a more average restaurants costs roughly between 1,000 to 3,000 yen.
Many restaurants offer inexpensive set menus (teishoku) at around 1,000 yen during lunch hours. Lunch boxes (bento), which are sold in convenience stores and department stores, train stations and at temporary stands in business areas are also a good deal.
<Everyday goods and services>
Clothing departments of supermarket chains such as Ito-Yokado or discount clothing stores such as Uniqlo offer inexpensive clothing. It is sometimes difficult that you may find your size if you are over 180 cm tall and a big person. Department stores and boutiques are more expensive.
Japanese hair dressers are famous for their great service and high prices. However, there are also places where you can get a quick haircut for around 1,000 yen.
100 yen shops sell a large range of products including stationery and kitchen goods at 108 yen ( including 8%consumption tax) and can be cost efficient.