In this artickle, I am going to share with you about living costs of a college student living alone in Japan. Let’s simulate your living costs for spending your college life in Japan especially about how much the living costs will become excluding monthly rent, how much allowance you should ask your parents to send to you, how frequently you should do a part-time job.

Monthly rent in Japan is very expensive

The nationwide average monthly living costs of foreign students living in Japan is 138,000 yen per month (including tuition). Viewing student’s living costs by region, the region with the cheapest living costs is Shikoku region (四国地方), costing about 104,000 yen and the rigion with the most expensive living costs is Kantou region (関東地方), costing about, 154,000. Studetn’s living costs in Tokyo is 158,000 yen, which is averagely 66 percent more than Shikoku region on a monthly basis. The factor of the above situation is obviously extraordinary expensive rent and frequent transportation expenses.

According to the survey of student life JASSO (Japan Studnt Services Organization). The average living costs of college and university students is about 700,000 yen annually excluding monthly rent. Simply, 700,000 yen devided by 12 months comes to be about 58,000. 58,000 yen (about 540 US dollars) is the average student monthly living costs excluding monthly rent.

However, thiking about entertaiment expenses, book expenses (excluding tuition), other miscellaneous expenses, the living costs to maintain normal student living will come to be 70,000 yen or more per month excluding monthly rent. Depending on the student’s life style, living costs will more or less fluctuate. If you want to have leeway on your campus life, you should estimate the living cost high to some extent. I want to introduce an example of the breakdown of the living cost of a normal Japanese student down below.

College student’s monthly expenses excluding monthly rent

Food expenses 30,000 yen

Utility expenses 7,000 yen

Entertainment expenses 15,000 yen

Mobile and internet access expenses 10,000 yen

Miscellaneous (clothes, daily necessities) expenses 14,000 yen

Total expenses 76,000 yen

Food expenses

Thiking about food expenses costing you 30,000 yen monthly, you can use 1,000 yen a day and automatically, the amount of food expenses you can use per meal is about 330 yen, which means you basically have to prepare every 3 meals a day yourself. Your diet will change depending on how much you spend for food. However, food expenses should be ideally saved from 30 to 40 percent of total expenses.

Utility expenses

In Japan, unless you use appliances with a lot of power consumption and turn on the air-conditioner frequently, utility expenses will cost you within 8,000 yen. If you want to save utility expensies, you always adjust the temp of the airconditioner not to get too warm and not to get too cold and make sure the swtich is off when you are about to leave the room.

Mobile and internet access expenses

You check your mobile contract plan and you just remove unnecessary options from your plan.

Studing abroad to Japan as a self-supporting student is unrealistic

Generally, it is quite hard for a college student to live alone with own fund without being suppoted by parents or scolorship. If including monthly rent in the above living cost, you need at least 130,000 per month.

If you decide to live alone by yourself independently wihtout receiving any supports from anyone, you need to do part-time job every single day to earn your living costs. It is impossible to both do a part-time job and keep up with your studies of your college or university at the same time if a task that you must earn for your living intervene in your life.

If you do a part-time job on a regular basis, you never make sufficient time to study. Just think about which is the main business, part-time job and studies.

According to the survey of Japanese college student’s (aged 18 to 22) money sense researched by Ceres in 2017, internet marketing company, 56.2 percent of students do a part-time job and the rest of 43.8 percent of students receive allowance from their parents. Referrence: 大学生アルバイト金銭感覚調査

According to the survey of Japanese student financial situation researched by the National Federation of University Co-operative Association in 2018, the average amount of allowance supported by students’ parents is about 71,500 per month.

The following table is the breakdown of student’s income by category.

income amount Percentage of individual income of monthly total income
Monthly total income amount 127,280 yen
Allowance from parents 71,500 yen
Scholarship 20,530 yen
Part-time job 31,670 yen
others 3,580 yen

Quoted from the website, “Rooch”,

How often students do part-time job a week

The following table data is aggregated based on the servey that “Rooch” uniquely asked 100 college students gathering randomly how often they do part-time job a week.

Frequency of doing part-time job a week
the number of students
3 to 5 days a week
1 to 2 days a week
6 to 7 days a week
Don’t do part-time job

Quoted from the website, “Rooch”,

The most popular part-time job among students is a waiter, waitress and kitchen hand in a resturant. the primary reason students tend to choose this part-time job is that hourly wage is way more expensive than any other industries that hire temp workers. The second reason is that employee meals are provided depending on the restaurant for free and students can save up food expenses.

Convenience store staff and home tutor are also popular among students. In addition, there are some students working at a resort hotel as a temp live-in staff by taking advantage of long vacation.

Don’t forget that foreign students have time restriction on working hours

Foreign students are strictly restricted on working hour by Student visa. On ordinary days during a semester, non-Japanese students can do part-time job for maximum 28 hours which is like if you want to work fully within 28 hours a week, you can work 6 days a week and 4 to 5 hours a day.

In contrast, during long school vacation, allowable working hours for foreign students is extended to 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day. Basically, even though you are free because of class cancellation and you can ask for a shit of your part-time job, unless not during long school vacation ruled by the college or the university, your weekly allowable working hour is 28 hours.

If you can’t even rely on scholorship to support your living costs

Although you are student, there is nothing you can rely on to support your tight financial situation, you cannot help doing a part-time job. At any rate, you shoud aim to earn at least 120,000 by taking advantage of allowable maximum working hours if you live alone in Japan.

Tuition of Japanese college and university

For your reference, the following table shows you average tuitions of Japanese colleges and universiteis. These tuitions are for students who formally enter a Japanese university or college. If you are an exchange student, you just refer to this data as a rough standard.

Annual Tuition
Private college or university
1,360,900 yen
Public college or university
661,300 yen
National college or university
642,500 yen

Quoted from the survey in 2016 by Japan Student Services Organization

If you receive scholorship in Japan

I am not quite really sure what type of scholorship foreign students receive to go to Japanese educational institutions. If you intend to receive Japanese scholorship in Japan, you should receve benefit type scholorship without repayment obligation as much as possible. If you apply for loan type scholorship, you need to pay it off on regular basis after graduation.


If you plan to study abroad to Japan, Sufficient living fund should be prepared as thoroughly as you have leeway on making a living in Japan. As long as you have people who support your tuition financially, you rely on them with full force. If you don’t have anyone else to rely on, you just concentrate saving up your fund as much as possible.

I want you to tell you one thing. Don’t count on Japanese scholarship. Even if you can receive benefit type scholorship after passing the screening, the amount of scholorship you can receive is as amazingly few as it can’t cover even 30 percent of your living cost in Japan . If you count on scholarship fund to study abroad, you should apply for the one provided in your country. Japan’s scholarship is quite undeveloped.

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