Tokyo, meaning "east capital" in Japanese, is one of the biggest and most bustling cities in the world filled with a plethora of places to visit and discover. The city has long been an expat magnet; its high salary opportunities elevated quality of life drawing people in. But this high quality of life comes with, what many people find to be, steep living costs. However, not many would disagree that the high price tag associated with living in Tokyo is well worth it.
Remarkably, Tokyo ranks impressively high for its cleanliness and sanitation, despite being the largest metropolitan city in the world.
most liveable city in the world
Note: Electricity is typically the most expensive utility.Transportation
Note: Tokyo has one of the best and most efficient transport systems in the world. Trains come every few minutes and are almost always on time. Even when there is a delay, it usually does not last very long. You would be hard-pressed to find a location in the metropolitan area that cannot be reached by a simple train ride and a short walk.Food & Restaraunts
In Japan it is required by law that anyone over the age of twenty has health insurance. This requirement extends to non-residents in the country for 90 days or more. Japan offers both public and private health insurance, with slight differences in rates depending on your family's income. On average, you can expect to pay between $330-$370 a month for your health insurance.
The basic rate of coverage for health insurance in Japan is a 30/70 split. This means that you would be expected to pay thirty percent of any procedure, prescription or visit, while the health insurance or government would cover the remaining seventy percent. Most insurance plans cover:
It helps to be clued up on the unique characteristics of Japan’s healthcare. The idea of a family doctor is not something that is practiced in Japan. Most people will see a new doctor with each visit, only seeing the same doctor if they have an ongoing issue that requires repeat visits and treatments. Japan also places a great emphasis on preventative medicine, which has resulted in one of the best-rated healthcare systems in the world. Interestingly, ambulance rides are free in Japan, you only pay for the procedures that are performed during the ride.
of Japan’s GDP is spent on public healthcare
doctors per 10,000 people
Japan’s education system has consistently ranked in the top five when compared to countries from all over the world. One of the reasons for this is the strong focus on morals and ethics in the schools.
In Japan, it is required for everyone to attend nine years of school, between the ages of six and fifteen. While it is not required by law, high school is considered a very important part of their school system, with nearly 99% of all students completing high school.
Japan has adopted a year-round schooling system, with students having breaks in spring, winter and summer. Their approach does not use standardized tests or cumulative exams for younger students. Instead, they take smaller tests to test their knowledge and retention. Larger exams and tests only start when students are 10 years old, or in the fifth grade. Unlike other schools, students in Japan normally do not eat their lunches in a cafeteria. Instead, they eat in their classroom, allowing time to build a stronger bond with their teacher and thus enriching the learning environment.
Higher education in Japan starts upon completion of 12 years of schooling (six years of elementary school, three years of middle school/lower secondary school, and three years of high school/upper secondary school). Most university programs are completed over four years. Exceptions include medical, dental, and veterinary undergraduate preprofessional programs, which take six years. The academic year begins in April and ends in March. Despite having a reputation for being an expensive country, Japan’s university tuition fees are fairly affordable, especially in comparison to European and North American countries. For instance, the annual tuition fee for undergraduates at the high-ranking University of Tokyo is ¥535,800 (approximately $3,900). In the United States, students typically pay at least $10,000 a year on tuition.
internationally ranked universities
Tokyo has a humid subtropical climate with the summers being warm and wet and winters being mild. January is usually the coldest and the sunniest month of the year, with temperatures averaging 41°F/5°C. An average high of 88°F/31°C is usually experienced in the summers; August being the hottest month of the year.
Spring is considered the best time in Tokyo; admired for its pleasantly mild temperatures and colourful landscape, awash with the famous Japanese Cherry Blossoms.
Tokyo’s civilised temperatures bring around 197 pleasant sunny days a year, along with mild winters. Tokyo escapes the harsh conditions of the city’s northern counterparts.
average August temperature
average January temperature
sunny days per year, on average
Japan has consistently been rated as one of the safest countries in the world, with less than half the annual murder rate when compared to other similar-sized countries like France and Germany. This trend of minimal violence is more apparent when looking at robbery rates in Japan: 1.8 out of 100,000. This is astoundingly low when compared to countries like France (154.3), Germany (54), and Great Britain (118.7).
Evidence of low crime can be easily found during your stay in Japan. The way of life in this island nation has a lot to do with its safety. There is a high level of respect placed on other people and other people’s belongings. A good example of this can be found in Tokyo, where if you forget an item on the train, you can easily expect to retrieve it later the same day. Speak to an attendant and don’t be surprised to see them retrieve the item for you. Not only is a transportation company holding an item nearly unheard of in many parts of the world, but the idea that it might still be on the train where you left it is something most people might not be able to wrap their heads around.
Tokyo is the foundation on which Japan’s economy thrives. All major Japanese companies and conglomerates call Tokyo their home. The city has become a natural hub for business and social activities; boosted by its high-end technology.
The same goes for foreigners looking for work opportunities in Japan. Tokyo provides foreign job seekers with a host of employment opportunities across almost every sector you can think of, including the tech industry.
Not only is it the biggest economical city in Japan, but it is also the largest urban economy in the world by gross domestic product. The capital’s highly diversified manufacturing base significantly contributes to Japan’s economy. Everything, from the country’s books to its electronic equipment, is produced in Tokyo.
Mercari, SmartNews, Mujin, PayPay, HENNGE, Spider Labs, WOVN, Degica, Autify, Yaraku, Inc., TableCheck – these are just a tiny selection of Tokyo-based tech companies. All of which, by the way, are actively hiring foreign talent right now.
As of 2021, Japan’s capital has an estimated population of 14 million people.
While the country has only one official language – Japanese – most people in Tokyo can speak, or at least understand, English. Thanks to its large expat community, it is not hard to find services, such as health care and real estate companies, in English.
Japanese people are widely known for their hospitality and a deep sense of respect and politeness. It comes as no surprise then that Japan has a whopping 2.83 million foreign residents living in the country, with Tokyo hosting more than one-fifth (70%) of the total number of expats. Living in Tokyo would mean living amongst the largest community of expats in the country; a home away from home.
Consider joining these expat communities:
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