Your cost of living in Japan will depend on your city and lifestyle. A typical English teacher’s salary like mine is 250,000 yen, enough to live rather comfortably, even in Tokyo. I seem to be taking home 220,000 after taxes and health insurance in my second year of work.
How much you pay in taxes and health insurance is dependent upon your previous years salary. So as you have no history your first year at work you will pay next to nothing for health insurance. I paid something like 1,300 to 1,700 yen a month for insurance that covers 70% of all medical costs including dental. So you have a lot more spending or saving money your first year in Japan, keep that in mind.
My rent is 67,000 yen for a shoebox sized apartment. I live in Kichijoji, voted the number 1 place to live in Tokyo. I’m a 3 minute walk from the station too. If you shop around you can find a decent apartment at a reasonable price. Check Western Tokyo or the prefectures that border Tokyo for the cheaper prices.
My phone bill is 5,000 yen. It’s a smartphone with docomo. I’m able to use the internet only. I’ve managed to get by without an actual phone number for 2 years now by just using the popular app here called “Line”, I can send messages and make free calls with it to other line users.
My gas bill is around 2,000 to 3,000 yen. Could be cheaper but I spend extra time in the shower to brush my teeth.
My electricity bill stays around 3,000 to 5,000 yen, higher in winter and summer. My stove is electric.
I pay 11,000 a month for the gym. Expensive I know, but it’s a 2 minute walk from my house and I can go anytime it’s open.
If I eat out alone whether it’s ramen, curry rice, or a kebab I pay 600 to 1,000 yen.
If I eat at home it’s usually a 300 yen bag of cereal and 1 liter of milk for 160 yen that I can get 2 meals out of. Spaghetti is cheap just like at home, probably comes out to 200 yen a meal for a big plate size with 100 yen sauce. You can buy 2 chicken breasts for under 500 yen. You can also buy a pretty large steak at SEIYU supermarket for 500 yen.
If you go to the supermarket late at night you can find a lot of already prepared meals 20% or more marked down like sushi, fried chicken, sashimi, noodles, and bentos for 500 yen or less.
For dates I recommend taking girls to parks to if weather permits to save money. If you keep going out to restaurants expect the bill to be anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 yen for 2 people, especially if your drinking.
Tall can of fake beer = 200 yen. Tall can of good beer = 300 yen. Regular sized ice coffee = 220 yen.
A drink at a bar or club = 500 – 1,000 yen.
I would say my average day spent alone I spend anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 yen depending on if I eat in or out and buy a beer or ice coffee. My girlfriend says I spend too much and claims to spend only 1,000 yen a day herself if she’s not shopping or out with friends.
- Rent = 67,000 yen
- Cell phone, gas/electricity bills, monthly gym, Max total = 19,000 yen
- If I spent 3,000 yen a day 30 days a month = 90,000 yen
- Total expense for the month not including shopping = 176,000 yen
So you can see if I’m taking home 220,000 a month I got a bit left over. I haven’t included shopping or train expenses. If you want to do some traveling outside of Tokyo your going to spend quite a bit of money on train fares. If your busy pimpin it with different ladies and going clubbing on the weekends your going to spend a lot.
My first year in Japan I kept a record of all my monthly expenses. My cheapest month I spent 170,000 yen, I hardly went outside and just studied. My most expensive month I spent 320,000 yen, chasing girls, drinking, and went to Osaka and Kyoto for a few days.
So there you are. On your average full-time teaching gig salary you can have a pretty good time. I would try to save when you can so you can enjoy your yearly vacation and things like snowboarding in Japan.