Tokyo can certainly push your budget to its limits as the capital city has the highest average cost of living in Japan. However, read on to find out how different the prices might be compared to the US and the UK.
Milk (1L): ¥201 (US$1.79 - £1.35)
Loaf of bread (500g) : ¥230 (US$2.04 - £1.54)
Apples (1kg) ¥765 ($6.80 - £5.13)
Beer (500mL bottle): ¥323 (US$2.87 - £2.17)
Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro): ¥450 (US$4.00 - £3.02)
One-way ticket (local): ¥190 (US$1.69 - £1.27)
Gasoline (1L): ¥127 (US$1.13 - £0.85)
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment: ¥19,134 (US$169.97 - £128.29)
Apartment (1 bedroom) in city center ¥124,069 ($1,101.94 - £831.87)
Average Monthly Net Salary (after tax): ¥316,547 (US$2,811.48 - £2,122.42)
Tokyo vs London
In the battle of the cities, we take on Tokyo with another city of a similar status: London, UK. Let's find out which city comes out as more affordable between the two as we compare a handful of items from the list above.
To sum up the results, listed below, the outright winner for offering more affordable groceries is decidedly London. However, transportation is a tighter call. Due to the bigger difference in the cost of public transportation, the winner for providing more affordable transportation is Tokyo. As for utilities, it does not seem like the cost of utilities in the UK have gone down much, despite a lot of news coverage overseas. Therefore, for affordable utilities, the winner is Tokyo. If you're thinking about renting an apartment in the city center, that's more affordable in Tokyo. Actually, the average cost of living between Tokyo and London seems to balance out, except when the monthly rent and average salary is taken into account. Due to the extremely high rent prices in London combined with a similar average net salary, the final conclusion of the more affordable city to live in between the two is: Tokyo!
Milk (1L) £0.92 - cheaper by £0.43
Loaf of bread (500g) £1.05 - cheaper by £0.49
Apples (1kg) £1.88 - cheaper by £3.25
Beer (500mL bottle) £1.79 - cheaper by £0.38
One-way ticket (local transport) £2.50 - more expensive by £1.23
Gasoline (1L) £1.20 - cheaper by £0.35
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment £140.63 - more expensive by £12.34
Apartment (1 bedroom) in city center £1,658.03 - more expensive by £826.16
Average Monthly Net Salary (after tax) £2,290.29 - receiving £167.87 more per month
Tokyo vs New York
Now we take on the giant that is New York in the US. Let's see how this city compares with Tokyo.
It seems that both cities balance each other out in terms of daily costs, whether that might be utilities or groceries. On the whole, it seems that groceries are much more affordable in New York. However, it's a tight call between the two cities when it comes to the cost of transportation as there is a higher difference between the two. Due to reliable service and low-cost public transportation, Tokyo is the clear winner in this category. Utilities can come at a premium in large cities such as the ones currently being compared, but it would seem by a large margin that you will get more for your money in New York, though you might be paying a premium for a small apartment in both cities. Tokyo does offer a more affordable monthly rent in the heart of the city, but the average size of these apartments can be incredibly small.
Despite the high cost of renting an apartment in New York, the average salary is much higher, which means that you might be able to also pocket more of the money that comes your way. For this reason, the final conclusion on the more affordable city between the two is: New York!
Milk (1L) $1.05 - cheaper by $0.74
Loaf of bread (500g) $3.17 - more expensive by $1.13
Apples (1kg) $5.97 - cheaper by $0.83
Beer (500mL bottle) $2.54 - cheaper by $0.33
One-way ticket (local transport) $2.75 - more expensive by $1.06
Gasoline (1L) $0.71 - cheaper by $0.42
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment $124.45 - cheaper by $45.52
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre $3,091.68 - more expensive by $1,989,74
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) $5,057.78 - receiving more by $2,246.30 per month