When one decides to go study abroad, the first question is always about the money. Before going to Japan, there are a few things one needs to know. So here are some information about Money in Japan.

The Japanese currency is the Yen (¥).

For Exchange rates, please refer to Currency Converter by OANDA.com, The CurrencySite.

It is important to note that Japanese people usually pay by cash.  So one will often need to go to an ATM to withdraw cash. Thankfully, Japan is a very safe country so there is no reason to be afraid to carry cash.


It is a cliche to say that the cost of living in Japan is high. One must simply be smart to find the right places to shop in. People get accustomed quickly to their surroundings and easily find out where to get what and for what price.

Also, there are the famous “100 Yen shops” (Can do, Daiso …) which one can see all over the country. It is possible to find almost everything there. If you need something, it is a must to check the 100 yen shop first before going to other shops. 


Japan is known to be a “cash” country. This is definitely true if one is going to stay in rural areas of Japan. However, with the rise of the “denshi ma-ne” or electric money, Japan is starting to promote cashless payments. Apple pay, Paypay, Mercari pay and Suica are just some of the famous apps that can be used when purchasing items in stores. Some offer rebates and points whenever you use one of these apps. The apps are mostly in Japanese, so please practice caution when registering. It is still advisable to keep cash just in case your phone battery runs out.


Most of Japanese Banks provide foreign currency exchange. For foreign issued cards, some ATM may not be accessible. Please call your bank first before doing any transaction in Japan. 

If student intends to study in Japan for more than 6 months, we recommend to open a bank account. It will be convenient (and less costly) to withdraw cash from ATMs with an account in a Japanese bank. Furthermore, monthly bills (rent, phone, water, electricity, gas) can be withdrawn directly from the bank account through the automatic transfer service, thus avoiding the troubles of having to pay the bills one by one and making sure the payments are timely. When working part-time, that will also be quite convenient. 

To open a bank account, you will need your Residence cardStudent Card and hanko.
Bankbooks are needed to manage money in Japan

Upon opening your bank account, you will be provided with a debit card and a “bankbook” on which transactions will be printed from the ATM.

When you need to close your account, you only have to bring to your bank your card(s), Residence card, bankbook and your hanko (seal) (if applicable).

To learn more about Japanese banks, formalities and other pertaining information, please click here.


In order for you to get an idea of the living cost in Japan, we have gathered some common prices for your daily life commodities:

Japanese cuisine

How much does it cost to eat out in Japan?


Products Qties Prices (in ¥)
Water (plastic bottle) 1.5 liter 120
Complete meal (inexp. restau.) 1 person 800
Eggs 12 pieces 250
Milk 1 liter 220
Butter 200 grams 300
Lettuce 1 piece 175
McDonald’s 1 set 600
Coca-Cola 0.33 l. 150
Coca-Cola (in vending machine) 0.33 l. 150
Cappuccino (in a cafe, regular size) 1 cup 380
Spaghetti 250 grams 200
Toilet paper (pack of 12 rolls) 1 pack 350
Gasoline 1 liter 170
Smartphone basic subscription 1 month 4,000
Internet provider subscription 1 month 3,500
Subway ticket (local) 1 way 200
Rent (Center of City) studio 1R 1 month 80,000
Rent (not in the center) studio 1R 1 month 55,000
Rent (Center of City) 3 bedrooms 1 month 175,000
Fitness club subscription 1 month 8,000








Statistics about costs in Japan


To see a simulation of the budget of an international student in Japan, you may want to check this page.