Is Japan’s highly priced lifestyle worth it for expat professionals?

Is Japan’s highly priced lifestyle worth it for expat professionals?

Is Japan’s highly priced lifestyle worth it for expat professionals?

If Japan’s always been your destination of choice, checking your actual cost of living before you go is the best idea.

There are three reasons for Japan’s consistent ratings as an expensive expat location – Tokyo itself, the Japanese culture and its geographic location. Taking its location first, the archipelago lies 124 miles from its main suppliers in mainland Asia, resulting in many everyday necessities having to be imported and duty paid. For example, the majority of dairy products arrive from overseas and are priced as a result at up to three times more expensive than in the USA or Europe.

Secondly, it’s down to Japanese culture and its high regard for high quality, no matter whether it’s on household goods, vehicles or the home itself. Everything from foodstuffs through electronics to clothes must be top-grade, with the same standard applying to services in the hospitality and food sectors. As in any other first-world country, quality is costly and the hierarchical nature of Japanese society inflates the cost even more.

Tokyo itself is the third reason why the country as whole is considered expensive even for expats on generous salaries and perks. Obviously, it’s Japan’s largest and most populous city with demand exceeding supply, especially in the quality housing market. Unfortunately, Tokyo’s excessive prices also influence costs in the rest of the major cities. Taking averages, rent, food and living expenses in general for newly-arrived expats will total around $2,200 a month.

As regards Osaka and Kyoto, both popular expatriate locations, living costs are slightly cheaper, especially so in Kyoto. For expat families, public schooling is free, but most choose private education because of the language difficulties should English not be an option. Lovers of fine wines are sadly out of luck - not because there aren’t any but because the cost is prohibitive to all but the wealthy. The port city of Yokohama is another choice for expats, with living costs on the whole slightly lower than in the other major cities.

Related Stories:

Latest News: