Learn With Nippon Hippo

Being A Student In Japan
- On Budget -

Study In Japan | 7 Minutes Read
Written by : Aliza
13 September 2021

“Japan Is One Of The Most Expensive Countries In The World To Live In!”

Have you ever heard this before? Well, we’re here to let you in on a secret. Japan is nowhere near as expensive and costly as you may have heard. With a little budgeting and some money management tips, you’ll be a pro in saving money in no time.

Like always, we’re here to help! Here are some cost cutting tips that you will definitely need as a student in Japan.

1. Food

We all know that good food is something essential for good health and hence that cannot be compromised. But - just hear us out! You can actually save a lot of money on food by picking the ingredients carefully from local shops if you plan on cooking.

Wholesale markets like Costco are budget friendly with cheap items and often have discount offers going on. However, Costco comes with a membership costing around 4,000 to 4,400 JPY a year, which can be shared with the people within a house. As for local wholesale markets, you can also get your cooking ingredients from Gyomu Super. The store offers SUPER low prices for many items including frozen foods and vegetables.

Now some of you may be thinking: “But what if we don’t cook?”. We have some news for you too! In most supermarkets, there are cheap ready-to-eat items available that are more cost effective than local restaurants. Now for the shopping tip - near the closing time, these items are sold at a discount of up to 50%! You can see discount tags of 10-15% placed on these items around 3 hours before the closing time and they gradually increase as the closing time comes near.

2. Shopping

Who doesn't love shopping? We know that we do! And that is why we’re not asking you to give that up - just tone it down a little. As a new student, the first thing you need to do is look for a 100-Yen shop close by and get all the necessary things you can find there.

For clothes, we would suggest shopping during the turn of the season in Japan. This may be the best time for you to buy new clothes as most shops are trying to clear out their old inventory as much as they can as they would soon be showcasing the new season clothes. Discounts at this time can go up to 70%! And in case you’re in a bit of a financial crunch, we have something for you too! You can always look up thrifted (second-hand) stuff online at Gaijinpot.

3. Rent and Utilities

Your rent may be one of the biggest expenses of your month but it’s pretty unavoidable. The most you can do is find a place that is close to public transport stations and supermarkets so that you can at least cut down on the cost and time of travelling to these places daily.

Your housing options mostly include shared houses, student dormitories and private apartments. To know more, you can check out the article on "Figuring Out Student Accommodation Options In Japan". Here’s a small tip though - look for an apartment with shower option in the bathroom. Since Japanese people are big on having bathtubs, apartments with only a shower may be cheaper.

As for utilities, they may be covered in rent depending on the housing option you go with. If not, here is something that might be of use: Electricity in Japan is cheaper from 11PM to 7AM. This is the time to charge your electronic devices, and wash your clothes.

4. Entertainment

If you love karaoke, then Japan is the perfect place for you. There are multiple karaoke shops in Japan as it has almost become a part of Japanese culture. The charges per hour for karaoke are quite high in some places; however, at night (from 11PM to 5AM) they are significantly reduced. Who wouldn't want to sing their heart out during the night without the possibility of someone hearing them?

Some restaurants and movie theaters may also provide discounts on your student card, so make sure to carry them. And to experience some mindfulness, you can always visit parks - which are free of cost and are open to the public 24/7! With the changing seasons, you will probably be able see 4 different versions of the same park within a year.

So, what do you think? I think we got most of the essentials covered! If you want to read more related articles, you can always check out “The Affordable Food Guide - Tokyo Edition” and “Life Of A Student In Japan”.