Salaries in Japan remain some of the highest in the ESL market, but the cost of
living in Japan is also generally above average. With salaries typically starting at
200,000 - 300,000 JPY
per month, and with a population of 127 million citizens, Japan will continue to be
a top pick for TESOL/TESL/TEFL graduates.
Expected Apartment Costs
As with anywhere in the world, various factors influence the cost of housing in
Japan, including city, neighborhood, and size. Tokyo and Osaka have more expensive
rental costs when compared to other Japanese cities. Employers may provide partially
subsidized or fully paid apartments; however, English teachers should be prepared to
pay part or all of the rent. The cost of rent in Tokyo and Osaka can range from
70,000 - 130,000 JPY per month for a 1LDK, while the rent in smaller cities can be
substantially cheaper. LDK is used to identify whether the house has a living room
(L), dining area (D), or kitchen (K). Additional costs may include key money,
security/damage deposit, real estate fee, and utilities. There is a possibility of
getting a percentage of the security/damage deposit back once the tenant moves out.
This depends on how much the building manager or property owner must replace and
upgrade the unit. Key money is approximately two to five times the monthly rent and
is a gratuity paid to the building manager or property owner, which is not returned
upon vacating the apartment. Note that employers who provide English teachers with
accommodations will most likely pay the key money.
Banking in Japan
ESL teachers should know banks are only open from Monday to Friday, 9:00am - 3:00pm.
Cash is still the preferred form of currency exchange in Japan, so checking accounts
are rarely used. However, credit cards are becoming more accepted in major cities.
Teachers wanting to exchange money can do so at most local post offices or
Authorized Foreign Exchange Banks. Unlike most Western countries, ATMs are not open
24 hours and the operating hours can vary from one institution to the next. That
said, convenience store ATMs are usually open 24/7, but may have higher banking
fees. Also, banks and ATMs are rarely open on holidays which can be inconvenient for