With an average monthly rent of $4,847 Tokyo is once again the most expensive city for Expats! Though the economy of Japan remains sunk deep in deflation, Tokyo continues to hold the #1 position as the most expensive city in world for expatriates to live in.
The cause of this can partly to blame on the relative strength of Japanese currency against the U.S. dollar and price movements of products like housing over the last 12 months, using New York as a benchmark. When I moved to Japan back in 2007 I started off at 120 Yen per 1 USD. That’s a 20% increase on my U.S. income! These day’s it’s a struggle to see 1 USD match 80 Yen. If you calculate the beginning of my move until now, I’ve lost 40% of my U.S. based income spending power when I convert it to Yen, but if you look at it in a positive light, it’s really only a 20% drop of income.
Japan has been an expensive place to live for a long period of time and this year is the 12th year that Tokyo was ranked as one of the most expensive cities since 1994. Though it hasn’t been number one, it has been ranked among the top three every year except for 2007, when it slipped to fourth.
Costs for even smaller items in the city can pinch your wallet. To give you an idea just how expensive things are in Tokyo, a cost of one cup of coffee in Tokyo is equivalent to two cups of coffee in New York so it runs you about $8.29, a daily newspaper will cost you $6, and a liter of milk can cost you $3. Even for watching movie, the city is considered the most expensive place with an average admission of $22.97 which is $3 more expensive than in Sydney, the next most expensive city to watch a film.
As a whole, the deciding factor in the regional rankings is the currencies. While Europe lost ground, Asia is dominating. Hong Kong and Singapore kept their places among top 10, while Australian countries have made a big jumped where Sydney moved up to 11th having 14th last year, Melbourne at 15th from 21st last year, Perth at 19th from 30th last year, and Brisbane at 24th from being 31st last year.
In the end it all boils down to where you want to live. Japan can be expensive depending on where you live, but finding really good deals and a change in lifestyle helps offset the cost.