Tokyo: 5th most expensive city in the world for expats

Hello everyone,

The cost of living is a key factor to consider when moving abroad. Here is what you need to know about Tokyo.

Mercer International firm released on Wednesday June 22 the results of its annual survey on the cost of living in the world. This year, Tokyo rank 5th among the most expensive cities in the world for expatriates, preceded by Hong Kong, Luanda, Zurich and Singapore. Note that Tokyo climbs up six places compared to last year.

The survey takes into account the price comparison of over 200 products and services, namely, housing, transportation, clothing, food, household goods and entertainment in 375 cities worldwide.

Tokyo's ranking is explained by the strengthening of the Japanese yen while the Chinese yuan is weakening against the US dollar.

Find more information here:

Feel free to share your views about the cost of living in Tokyo.

Thank you in advance for your contribution.

Hi Veedushi,

Tokyo has always been near the top of the rankings for most expensive city in the world for a long time.

Accommodation is the biggest expense when living in Tokyo, and pretty much in any major city in Japan. Apartments are generally pretty small and rents high. Many commuters choose to live in nearby Yokohama which is about a 40 minutes train journey to Tokyo Main Station. Yokohama is both more affordable, less stressful, and also a beautiful and interesting city suitable for families as well as singles to live.

When living in Tokyo one needs to familiarize oneself with the various lines of the train system which is quite complicated and requires often a lot of walking but is a lot cheaper. Taking taxi's is very convenient and fast, but with the minimum charge beginning at around US$8, you can quickly get through quite a bit of money.

Eating out in Tokyo can be expensive. However, you can always find delicious tempura places or Japanese Curry restaurants where you can get a set meal for anywhere between ¥600 - ¥1200. There are a lot of Italian style restaurants in Tokyo and I always find these reasonably prices. Many people prefer to buy fresh fruit and vegetables from supermarkets, but in Japan the standard is very high and these items quite expensive.

One of the most noticeable things about Tokyo, and most of Japan is that there are minimarts just about everywhere. No matter where you live you can find a 7-Eleven, Family Mart, Lawsons and several others. Here people but breakfast on the way to work or lunch or dinner. They sell a huge amount of drinks, cakes, sushi, pasta meals, fruits, salads, sandwiches etc, all delivered throughout the day fresh and affordable.

For clothing, yes it can be expensive, but there are huge stores like Uniqlo who sell clothes at affordable prices for adults and kids. Their clothes are both fashionable and affordable and at the big branch in Ginza they stock extra large sizes for men.

In England they have the Pound shop where everything for sale costs a pound. In Japan they have ¥100 shops which is even cheaper. And the choice of items for sale is very much better than found in Pound shops.

Japan is home to many of the most popular car brands in the world. Buying a new car is a big expense whichever part of the world you live. But in Japan the cost of secondhand cars can be very cheap. Just google "secondhand cars Tokyo" and check out the results.

So while in general Tokyo may be a very expensive city in terms of accommodation and transportation, you actually do not need to spend a fortune living there.


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