Cost of living in Japan- Fees & Rent – Updated Jan 2023

Japan or The Land of the Rising Sun, is an island nation within East Asia and one of the region’s biggest economies. Studying in Japan is a great decision since the students will live in one of the world’s most developed, populated, and urbanized nations. Japan is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for international students, and the cost of living in Japan is also quite reasonable. The compulsory school system in the country has primary school education for six years and lower secondary school for three years. There are also three years of upper secondary school. There are several kinds of higher educational institutions including public, private, local, and national institutions. They award bachelor’s and master’s degrees to students. 

Basic Information

Before you move on to the cost of living in Japan for international students, you should get some more information on the country in general. Here are some facts to help you out: 

  • Japan is a mountainous and coastal country with beautiful islands. 
  • Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in the country on Honshu island. 
  • The reasonable cost of living in Japan for Indian students and other internationals is evident since 300,000+ have already chosen to study here. 
  • Japan is a member of the UN, G7, and OECD, among international organizations. 
  • It is known for its military, economic, technological, scientific, and educational prowess. 
  • Japan has one of the highest life expectancy figures in the world. 
  • Japan is also home to several highly-ranked institutions in Asia and the entire world. 
  • The capital of Japan is Tokyo while the academic year is from April to March. 
  • The currency of Japan is the Japanese Yen (¥), while +81 is its calling code. 

Types of cities

The cost of living in Japan for a family or individual student will depend on the city or area you are living in. Students will find several cities in Japan with low cost of living while there are several major urban cities, including Tokyo, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Osaka, Sapporo, Nagoya, Fukuoka, Kobe, Chiba, Hiroshima, Kitakyushu, Saitama, Kyoto, Sendai, and more. Major coastal cities include Shizuoka, Shimoda, Kamaishi, Kamogawa, and Tokyo, to name a few. 

Universities in the country (Top 10)

Here is a list of top universities in Japan as per the 2022 QS World Rankings: 

University Name World Ranking
The University of Tokyo 23
Kyoto University 33
Tokyo Institute of Technology 56
Osaka University 75
Tohoku University 82
Nagoya University 118
Kyushu University 137
Hokkaido University 145
Keio University 201
Waseda University 203

Cost of attendance 

The average cost of living in Japan is hugely dependent upon the cost of attendance at leading universities here. You can expect the cost of studying in Japan to hover around ¥817,800 at National Universities to ¥1146819 for private liberal arts universities. Public universities may charge anywhere around ¥931,235 while private science universities may charge ¥1,501,233. These figures will give you an approximate idea, if you were wondering- what is the minimum cost of living in Japan. You should also add national health insurance and application costs into this figure, along with your rent and other basic costs. Enrollment/application fees usually hover between ¥2,80,000-3,90,000. 


Expect costs of around ¥12,40,000-28,30,000 for undergraduate programs and approximately ¥12,50,000-44,00,000 for master’s courses. You can also expect fees of roughly ¥19,000-1,20,000 for doctoral programs or PhDs. 


The average rental cost may vary between ¥57-83,000. One-room apartment rentals may cost you ¥50-70,000. This does not include electricity and other utilities. Off-campus accommodation in leading cities such as Tokyo may cost you around ¥60,000 monthly. You may also expect around ¥12000 each month for single rooms in university dormitories. 


Costs for utilities is usually around ¥10,000 for a single person, where electricity costs are around ¥5,000 while gas takes you ¥3,000. You should also budget ¥2,000 for water. Add ¥6,000 each month for mobile phone/Wi-Fi costs as well. 


Expect to pay anywhere around ¥3,000 per month for your books and other study resources. 


This should cost you approximately ¥10,000. 


Is Japan expensive for international students?

Japan is comparatively inexpensive for international students, if you consider other global nations. It takes around ¥817,800-1,501,233 to study at leading universities in the country. Costs of living are also not as expensive as in many other countries.

How expensive is it to live in Japan as a student?

The average monthly rental is around ¥12,000-60,000 per month for a single person, depending on whether you live in university accommodation or private options. You can budget up to ¥70,000 per month in this category, excluding utilities.

What if I work more than 28 hours in Japan?

It will be regarded as illegal employment with strict punishments of imprisonment up to 3 years or fines up to 3 million yen, if employers allow part-time international students to work for more than 28 hours.

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