Japan is infamous for its high cost of living, especially in big cities such as Osaka and Tokyo. It's best to budget according to 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. It's important to estimate whether an expat's expected income will cover all the necessary costs as well as disposable income, and negotiate their employment contract accordingly.


Cost of transport in Osaka

While taking public transport is efficient and pretty affordable, 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 said, expats moving to Osaka will be relieved to see significantly lower rental costs than in Tokyo. The cost of utilities is expensive and will also have to be accounted for.


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 June 2021.

Accommodation (monthly)

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

JPY 130,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

JPY 250,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

JPY 55,000

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

JPY 90,000

Groceries

Dozen eggs

JPY 240

Milk (1 litre)

JPY 200

Loaf of white bread

JPY 190

Rice (1kg)

JPY 595

Chicken breasts (1kg)

JPY 820

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

JPY 500

Utilities (monthly)

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

JYP 30

Internet (average per month)

JYP 4,300

Utilities (average per month for standard household)

JYP 19,000

Eating out and entertainment

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

JYP 5,000

Big Mac Meal

JYP 650

Cappuccino

JYP 360

Coca-Cola (330ml)

JYP 130

Local beer (500ml)

JYP 480

Transport

Taxi rate per km

JYP 400

City-centre public transport

JYP 205

Petrol (per litre)

JYP 140