Q&A: Student living in Japan on a budget

Question:

An unnamed person writes in – I’m writing because I have a question that you might be able to answer. I’m planning to apply for a Masters Degree scholarship at a University. If accepted the scholarship would cover full tuition, medical and accident insurance obtained through the University, a monthly stipend (around 157,000 Yen) including subsistence and housing allowance for one person, book allowance, other miscellaneous expenses and economy class airfare for one person covering the trip from the scholars place of residence and the return journey at the end of the study program.

Since the scholarship covers almost everything, my question is would 157,000 Yen be enough for my expenses on food, leisure and transportation? I also plan to save my monthly stipend to bring back home. Thanks!

Answer:

Hi there. I’m not sure how expensive the city is where you’ll live, but I’m assuming that you’ll be fine on 157,000 per month + all the added perks. You should be able to spend wisely, do fun things, and save money. You can get meals from 500-1000 yen each if you eat out, and if you eat at home you’ll save a lot of money. For two people, including all living expenses, I think a person can easily spend about 350,000 yen a month for everything. So if you remove those extra expenses that you’ll be getting for free, you could end up spending 100,000-150,000 (or less if you’re frugal!). There are some good travel guides about how to get the most bang for your Yen. It’s all about how you budget. And remember, there are many fun things that cost little money like going to the part, hiking, etc, and it helps to pack some comforting items before you head over this way!

Living on a Japenese Yen Budget
Living on a Japenese Yen Budget
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2 thoughts on “Q&A: Student living in Japan on a budget

  1. hi, i just wanted to ask this student if the scholarship he’s talking about is the MEXT monbugakusho scholarship.
    because i recieved this scholarship and i’ll go to japan in march. the thing is, i’m not sure that the scholarship will cover all the perks, i think that you should take care of that yourself (i’m talking mainly about the accomodations and the personal allowance) , i’m already trying to save money and buy the essentials from my country.
    so if you think i’m wrong please let me know, cos it will be a huge relief.
    P.S: i’m gonna live in Tokyo

  2. I am currently a Monbukagakusho scholarship recipient. As long as I know, MEXT does not cover accommodation, book nor medical expenses. However, the university might subsidize totally or part of them. Ask the international center of your Japanese university. In my university, students pay 30,000~70,000¥ per month for accommodation with utilities included and about 10,000¥ yearly for an insurance that covers nearly 90% of medical expenses. Food can be easily done with 1,500¥ a day without needing to cook at home. On the other hand, fun is very expensive, as well as traveling in/from Japan. Take care of your money and you’ll be able to save a few tens of thousand yen every month.

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