Money Balance for Exchange Students in Japan


1) Living Expenses

2) Food Expenses

3) Pastime Expenses

4) Transportation Expenses

5) Conclusion

1) Living Expenses  

If you are coming to Japan as an exchange student from abroad, we highly recommend you to live in a student dormitory as it is one of the cheapest and most assured options available. If you are able to move into student housing, the average rent price ranges from 50000~70000 Yen per month. However, if you do not start early to find student housing either alone or with your university, then you might end up trying to find a normal apartment, which is highly expensive especially if you are in Tokyo. The average rent for an apartment room in Tokyo is 90000 Yen. Therefore, we highly recommend you to start looking for student housing as soon as possible once your study abroad in Japan is officially decided.

2) Food Expenses  

One image that you might have in Japan is all the delicious food offered at a relatively cheap price, which is partially true. In Japan, even in the rural areas, there are convenience stores nearby in any city where you can grab a quick lunch or dinner for a cheap price. For example, in 7 eleven in Japan, you can eat a full pasta meal for as cheap as 500 yen. Moreover, there are chain obento stores where you can buy an obento for 300 to 500 yen, which is both delicious and healthy!

3) Travel Expenses  

Have you ever seen an image of people packed on a train in Tokyo? Well, while that does show the reality of morning rush hours in Japan, Japan’s transportation is actually very student-friendly in the sense that they are relatively cheap! According to OrixBank, on average, students spend about 3370 yen each month for transportation expenses, which is an affordable amount for students compared to western countries such as the US where it has been found that students spend as much as 20,831 yen each month for transportation.

4) Pastime Expenses  

You might be wondering what Japanese university students are doing in their free time. While this also depends on people, Japanese students usually go out to cafes to talk with their friends and finish up assignments or go out drinking. Due to the cheap price of food and alcohol, many university students go to Izakaya to hang out with their friends after school and club activities. 

5) Conclusion

We can conclude that Japan is financially a student friendly country providing students with cheap food and transportation. Moreover, it is easier to hang out and eat with friends due to numerous restaurants offering affordable, yet delicious cuisine. However, for all of this to happen, it is crucial to find housing which has a modest price so that students do not have to save money for their rent each month during their stay in Japan.


  • Bray, J. (2017, June 16). Transportation costs in student living expenses. Transportation Costs in Student Living Expenses • ACCT •.

  • Town Work Magazine. (2015, June 5). Drinking habits of college students. Average budget is 3,167 yen, 1.7 times a month.

  • Itou, R. (2023, March 31). How much does college cost on average? Explanation of total amount, financing methods, and key points for preparation. Orix Bank.,%E5%86%86%E3%81%A8%E3%81%AA%E3%81%A3%E3%81%A6%E3%81%84%E3%81%BE%E3%81%99%E3%80%82