Japan is infamous for its high cost of living, especially in big cities such as Osaka and Tokyo. Expats moving to Osaka must budget accordingly and will have to get used to the high cost of things. It can also be tricky, at first, to understand the currency exchange rate between one's home country and the Japanese yen, but expats adapt fairly quickly.

It's useful to budget according to one's income earned in Osaka, rather than continually converting back to one's familiar home currency. Depending on where expats come from, they can be overwhelmed by the difference in costs, but local purchasing power is likely to be much stronger. So, it's important to estimate whether one's expected income will cover all the necessary costs as well as disposable income, and negotiate one's employment contract accordingly.


Cost of transport in Osaka

While taking public transport is efficient and pretty affordable – although, interestingly, the cost of public transport is lower in Tokyo than Osaka – expats should consider the various options of transport and driving in Japan before deciding on their preference. Getting a monthly pass and public transport card lowers the cost significantly. Taxis and ride-hailing services are pricey and not a sustainable way to travel every day, although they are popular and convenient. Bicycles are also common in Osaka and another cost-effective, not to mention healthy, way to travel.


Cost of accommodation in Osaka

Accommodation costs are likely to take up a sizeable portion of expat income. In Osaka, the larger properties with more rooms charge higher rents, even outside the city centre. That being said, expats moving to Osaka will be relieved to see the difference in rental costs as compared to Tokyo, with average expenses around 20 percent lower in Osaka.

The cost of utilities is expensive and must also be budgeted for, depending on the lease agreement.


Cost of food in Osaka

In Osaka, the cost of eating out may work out cheaper than buying groceries, but this depends on the quality of food and the cuisine that expats prefer. While vegetables and fruit might seem rather expensive at first, expats should bear in mind that they are always top quality, super fresh and usually locally grown. Seafood and fish can be found at reasonable prices and many supermarkets offer evening discounts to get rid of that day’s stock.


Cost of living in Osaka chart

Note that prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Osaka in May 2020.

Accommodation (monthly)

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

JPY 110,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

JPY 159,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

JPY 55,000

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

JPY 74,000

Groceries

Dozen eggs

JPY 250

Milk (1 litre)

JPY 197

Loaf of white bread

JPY 198

Rice (1kg)

JPY 542

Chicken breasts (1kg)

JPY 705

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

JPY 500

Utilities (monthly)

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

JYP 31

Internet (average per month)

JYP 4,970

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

JYP 18,300

Eating out and entertainment

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two

JYP 5,000

Big Mac Meal or equivalent

JYP 650

Cappuccino

JYP 430

Coca-Cola (330ml)

JYP 140

Local beer (500ml)

JYP 500

Transport

Taxi rate per km

JYP 670

City centre public transport

JYP 220

Petrol (per litre)

JYP 145

Expat Health Insurance

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