Living Expenses in Tokyo & The Cost of Studying Here

If you’re thinking about how to go about planning and managing living expenses in Tokyo, this article will help you to plan your trip budget.

We hope that this helps you achieve your goal of studying Japanese in Japan – so without further ado, here is some additional information about the cost of living and studying in Japan.


Average School Fees
Finding Accommodation
Summing up…

Average School Fees

As with most schools, they would typically charge a one-time Enrollment Fee on top of your school fee. Material Fees are separate and are incurred as and when a lesson calls for the use of a particular book.

Don’t worry too much about the Material Fees though, if the school does give handouts, it should have already been included in the school fees.

For Enrollment Fees, the range would typically be at about 10,000 yen to 35,000 yen. As for Material Fees, it can be anywhere from 3,000 yen up to around 5,500 yen for each Book. With that being said, the more books you need for your course of study, the more expensive it would be for you.

Next, let’s take a look at the typical school fees for the various different kinds of courses. For easier comparison, we will look at the prices from a per month basis.
Full-time Courses
For most full-time courses that can span anywhere from 3 months to even 2 years (24 months), their prices are relatively reasonable. This can go as low as from 50,000 yen per month up to 60,000 yen per month.

Do note, however, that most schools tend to offer packages, of which the longer you sign up with them, the less you have to pay per month. As such, it would be good if you can decide in advance how long you’d like to spend studying in Japan!
Short-term Courses
If you are only able to stay in Tokyo on the short-term, fret not as there are still short-term courses available for beginners out there!

These, however, may be a tad bit more expensive than your intensive courses you’d only be staying to study with the school for anywhere between 1 week up to 3 months.

This can range anywhere from around 55,000 yen per month up till 67,000 yen per month.
Flexible/Private Tutoring Courses
As a working adult, you would more often than not need a more flexible schedule if you’d like to learn Japanese. This is what most daytime and evening Flexible/Private Tutoring Courses are aimed at targeting, of which the latter of the two is the more expensive option.

For Flexible Courses, it is usually charged by the number of lessons of which each would span around anywhere from 50 to 90 minutes. Lessons can be priced anywhere from 3,000 yen up to 7,000 yen.

With that, let’s assume that you take 8 to 15 lessons a week (12 Hours in Total). This would add up to around 45,000 yen to 56,000 yen a month.


As for Private Tutoring,it would be the more expensive option among the two at around 2,000 to 6,000 yen per hour. Assuming you study 4 hours a day, 3 times a week, that would add up to around 96,000 yen to 288,000 per month. (12 Hours in Total)

Finding Accommodation

With school fees out of the way, now let’s take a look at finding your very own accommodation in Tokyo. As there are many wide variety of options, sharehouses and apartments are the more popular ones that people tend to choose.

For a sharehouse, it’s basically a shared living space with people from different walks of life. You get a room/bed to yourself whereas the living room, toilets and shower are all shared spaces.

There are mainly two types of rooms of which you can get from a Sharehouse namely a Dormitory Room or a Private Room. Of which, the latter of the two would be the more expensive option. Do note, however, that prices can also vary based on the location you choose.

A Dormitory Room entitles you to a bed within a room of which is also shared with other people. A rivate Room, on the other hand, entitles you to a room with your very own bed.

A Dormitory Room can typically go from anywhere as low as 35,000 yen up to 65,000 yen per month depending on the size of the room as well as location. As for a Private Room, it would go at around 49,000 yen per month up to 95,000 yen per month.

If privacy is an issue, you can also opt for getting an apartment. These tend to be on the upper end of the scale in terms of monthly rental which can range anywhere from 120,000 yen up to 250,000 yen per month.

We will recommend that you get this option should be travelling to Tokyo with your friend.
As mentioned earlier, prices can vary based on the location and room size. With that, you can either choose to live further from Central Tokyo where property is relatively cheaper with more space or live nearer towards Central Tokyo where property sizes are relatively smaller but may cost more.


With these in mind, there are often additional charges such as Contract Fee, Utility Charges and Deposit Fees. As the prices discussed above are inclusive of the Utility Charges, let’s just take a look at the Contract Fee and Deposit Fee.

For Contract Fee, this is usually a one-time non-refundable fee that has to be paid up front and can be at around 30,000 yen or so.

As for the Deposit, it would really depend on the property company but typically 70% to 80% of the value paid up front can be refunded at the time of your return. A good gauge would be at around 15,000 yen or so.


Now, let’s take a look at Transport. As you land in Tokyo, most of the time you’d have to first take a Shinkansen (Bullet Train) to the city area.

A one-way Shinkansen ticket would typically cost around 2,000 yen per person. 

To travel around Tokyo, you’d typically spend around 5,000 yen per month if you live near your school and almost double of that at 10,000 yen per month if you live further away.


Let’s not forget the flight prices. A typical round-trip flight from the States to Tokyo would cost around 112,000 yen inclusive of airline taxes.


Moreover, if you’re planning to stay in Tokyo for more than 3 months, you’d definitely have to get a Student Visa. For a Single Entry Visa, it would cost around 3,000 yen where as a Double/Multiple-Entry Visa would cost around 6,000 yen.

To apply for the Certificate of Eligibility, a prerequisite of the Visa application, takes approximately 2 months to be processed, granted and thereafter delivered to you in your home country.

As for the Visa itself, it would take approximately 1 week before you can receive it upon presenting the required documents. You can take a look at some of the generally required documents for visa application over here.

If you’d like to save the hassle of applying for a Visa, why not try picking up some Japanese in less than 3 months with us! With our very own Intensive Course, all you need is 4 weeks to pick some Japanese up!


With so many food establishments in Tokyo, it can be hard to decide as to whether or not you should dine-out for the day.

Should you be dining out everyday, I would give a rough estimate that you should be able to survive on 2,000 yen a day. This adds up to approximately 56,000 yen per month.

If you are looking to save some money, there are 2 other options for you. One of which is to have only one-coin meals from fast food chains like Matsuya, Sukiya or Yoshinoya. This would put you in at around 1,500 yen a day and 42,000 yen per month.

The other option would be to buy some groceries and cook your own meals. Through this, you would only spend approximately 1,000 yen a day and 28,000 yen per month.

But this does, however, come at the expense of your time due to the time needed in preparing your ingredients.

Nevertheless, dining out is still a relatively feasible option if you’d like to save on some time. If you want to find out more about ordering at a fast food restaurant, you can click over here! Or if you’re running short on time, you can always order a takeaway!

Summing up…

Okay so let’s assume that you are only staying here for one month and you already know when you are heading back so you’ve also booked the return flight in advance.

Up-front Fees: Property Contract + (Deposit – Refundable Deposit) + Enrollment & Material Fee + Shinkansen + Visa + Flight

For Upfront Fees, it would add up to approximately 174,500 yen excluding a Visa which can cost either 3,000 yen or 6,000 yen. This would be equivalent to approximately 1,539 USD.

Monthly Fees: School + Monthly Transport + Food + Rent

As for Monthly Fees, this would add up to approximately 194,000 yen a month which would be approximately 1,710 USD.

However, do note that this is based on the assumption that you rent a private room in a sharehouse near your school and also take on a short-term course.

Want to find out more about the courses we offer here at Coto? Help us by filling out the inquiry form below:

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