Rent Cost in Tokyo – The Ultimate Guide

Rent Cost in Tokyo - The Ultimate Guide

Living in Tokyo can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Monthly rent often leaves the biggest hole in your finances, so today let’s take a look at budget living options in Japan.

Average rent

When just looking for average rent prices in Japan you often stumble over numbers of 80,000 or even 100,000 Yen per month. Luckily, there are plenty of cheaper options available.

The reasons that these numbers are higher than they have to be is that they are averages, including larger and family apartments, or that the websites are simply aimed at high-income expats with high standards.

Most people who come to Japan live by themselves. But how much should you expect to pay?

The national average for single or one-room apartments in Japan is 40.000-60.000 Yen.
In central Tokyo, expect to pay 70.000 Yen per month. For this price, you usually get around 15m².

One room apartment.

This isn’t so bad, but considering that you have additional monthly expenses like utilities of 10,000 Yen upwards, internet, etc. you might still be looking for a better deal.

So how can you lower your rent costs? We looked through hundreds of listings to find answers for you.

Typical Rent for Apartments

Apartments at the outskirts of Tokyo

You might be hard-pressed to find budget apartments in the center of Tokyo, but if you go to the outskirts of the city things are a lot easier. Thanks to the efficient train system, if you are willing to commute between 30 to 60 min you can find plenty of good deals.

Rules of thumb:
■ Stay outside of the Yamanote line loop for cheaper rent.
■ Move to Chiba or Saitama prefecture for even better deals.

Look outside the center of Tokyo and you will find standard single apartments for around 60.000 Yen. If you go to the neighboring prefectures you can get more space and should be able to find apartments from around 50.000 Yen. Going to another prefecture might sound far away and impractical, but it is actually only a 30min train ride from the center of Tokyo.

READ ON  Unexpected Move-in costs: what to look out for

Apartment size

When living alone you don’t need all that much space. If 10-15m² are enough for you, you can find some places from 40.000 Yen. Especially if it’s a room that comes with a loft for sleeping, it is not all too cramped.

Loft in single apartment

Older apartments

Everything that was built more than 10 years ago is considered old in Tokyo. In many cases though, the apartments are freshly renovated, nice and clean, and most importantly cheaper.

Just watch out for apartments available for around 35,000 Yen or less. Chances are they come without a shower room and tenants are expected to use close-by public bathhouses or coin showers.

Distance from station

Even in central areas, prices go down for rooms that are some distance away from the next station. If you are fine with walking 10-20min or riding a bike (Tokyo is very bicycle-friendly) you can often find cheaper apartments.

Typical rent for Share Houses

Single rooms in share houses aimed at foreigners often cost around 70.000-80.000 Yen total per month. Room sizes typically range between 7-15m². At first glance, they seem no cheaper than apartments, but savings in other areas and extra facilities often make them worth the money.


  • ■ Low move-in costs
  • ■ Utilities and internet included
  • ■ Already furnished
  • ■ Common areas like kitchen, living rooms, gym, etc.

READ ON  Pro’s and Con’s of Share Houses vs. Apartments

Share houses make moving to Japan budget-friendly and simple. All you need is a suitcase with your personal belongings and some bed sheets.

Single room in share house.

Use search engines

Look for share houses on websites that let you search for available rooms regardless of managing company. That way you can make sure you are not missing out on anything.

Share house location

Same as for apartments, the area matters. Share houses in the center of Tokyo are uncommon but the further you go to the outskirts of Tokyo the cheaper share houses will become, or provide bigger rooms and more facilities.

Budget share houses

It is also possible to find single rooms for around 40.000 Yen. In these cases, rooms are usually 7-8m² and the share houses only have the necessary shared spaces like kitchen and bathrooms. They are new and fully equipped, but by not providing communal spaces like a living room they can offer cheaper rent prices.

Single room in share house.

Shared rooms

Another option are shared rooms. From rooms for two to dormitories and compartments like in capsule hotels, choosing shared living arrangements are budget-friendly and allow you to quickly make new friends.

Now that you know your renting options in Tokyo. All that’s left is to find the one that’s best for you.

※Note that these are average prices, depending on time and availability what you can actually find may vary from the prices mentioned above.

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After traveling around for a while, I found my home in Tokyo. Now working in Shinjuku and discovering something new about Japan every day.