Expat Cost of Living in Osaka and Living Guide (2021)

Expat Cost of Living in Osaka and Living Guide – that will be the topic of today’s article.

Nothing written here should be considered formal tax, financial, legal or any other kind of advice advice, and is for entertainment purposes only.

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The best time to review your situation is often when you are moving to a new country.

Introduction

For the people who might not be familiar, Osaka is a city located in the Kansai region of Honshu in Japan. Osaka is the capital city of the Osaka Prefecture while covering the most of Keihanshin Metro Area.

Osaka is widely known for its various characteristics such as being the financial center of Japan, having a rich cultural heritage, the best location for Japanese cuisine, etc.

People who are willing to move to Osaka might not be familiar with various important aspects such as banking, taxation, cost of living, etc., among others.

Because of that, individuals moving there might have to spend a lot of time and effort in finding the relevant information, which is accurate.

In order to make this easy for you, we are providing all such necessary information in a single place so that you won’t have to worry about finding accurate information. 

Money:

The currency used in Osaka is the same currency, which is used all over Japan, i.e., the Japanese Yen (represented as ‘JPY’ or ‘¥’). Japanese Yen is among the popular currencies in the world, which is also one of the most traded currencies.

The denominations available in Japan regarding the Japanese Yen are as follows.

Notes – The notes that you can be able to see in Japan are given below:

  • 1,000 JPY
  • 2,000 JPY
  • 5,000 JPY
  • 10,000 JPY

Coins – coins are as follows:

  • 1 JPY
  • 5 JPY
  • 10 JPY
  • 50 JPY
  • 100 JPY
  • 500 JPY

Banking:

We will be discussing the banking system in Japan as it is the same for any city in Japan. In general, the banking system of Japan is similar to that of the banks in most other countries.

You can be able to find large multinational banks as well as small regional banks in Japan. 

The most common types of banking services offered to the people living in Japan are the services related to cash deposits, withdrawals, transfers, payments, FOREX, and investment services.

The usual timings of banks are 9 AM to 3 PM, and they won’t operate during weekends as well as national holidays. 

ATM machines, on the other hand, would have longer operating hours and even work during weekends and on national holidays. Some, if not most ATMs might even have availability of 24/7

Opening an account – In order to open an account in Japan, individuals (both residents and non-residents) should have a residence card. Some banks might allow individuals to opt for a Japanese driver’s license instead of a residence card. 

Along with the residence card, individuals would be asked to present a personal stamp, which is also known as ‘Inkan’.

There won’t be a requirement for a minimum deposit in most banks in order to open an account. Some banks won’t even impose charges/fees for maintaining a bank account. 

After successfully applying for a bank account, if approved, the bank passbook and ATM card will be sent to the individual through the post. 

If a person wants to close their bank account, they would have to approach the branch of their bank in person and submit all the necessary things such as the card, bank book, residence card, etc.

To know more about the detail regarding banking and how you can be able to open a bank account in Japan as a non-resident, you refer to this article.

Transfers – Money transfers are one of the major banking services offered by banks in Japan. Most people make use of this to send money to other people/businesses or to pay their bills.

Transfers can be made by directly approaching a teller at a bank, with the help of an ATM machine, or through internet banking services. These transfers would be done on the same day if the transaction has been done during business hours. 

People who are sending money with the help of a bank transfer would be charged a fee, which would generally be around 100 to 600 yen. 

When a person tries to send money from outside of Japan to a bank located in Japan, the process is somewhat complicated and would involve handling charges that range around a few thousand yen.

ATMs – Using the ATM machines in Japan, people are able to deposit money, withdraw money, and transfer money. Additionally, ATM machines could also be used to update their bank books.

Nowadays, the number of ATMs that provide services 24/7 has been increasing, yet there are some ATMs that operate only during certain hours and are closed during the night times.

People who have international bank accounts cannot use debit cards/credit cards issued in their country of origin. They should visit the branch of their bank located in Japan and get a Japanese debit card for accessing the ATMs in Japan.

Other services – Along with these services, Japanese banks offer a wide range of services such as loans, credit cards, etc. 

People can also set up their accounts in such a way that their bills such as utility bills, phone bills, taxes, and others can directly be debited from their bank account.

Some banks even allow individuals to exchange their money into a particular type of foreign currency. 

Credit cards are accepted in places such as hotels, restaurants, and many more. It might be a bit hard for individuals to get a credit card if they do not have a permanent residence in Japan.

Loans and mortgages are known to have some of the lowest interest rates, but it might involve a lot of time and effort to acquire one as a non-resident.

Best Banks – The best bank in Osaka that is available for non-residents is Japan Post Bank (JP Bank). 

It is considered to be the best as most of the offices might have staff members who speak English for the convenience of the non-resident customers. If there aren’t any, you will be assigned a date when an English-speaking person will be available.

However, JP Bank might not allow individuals to make payments online or in a store using their cash card, he or she can only be able to withdraw the money. 

For acquiring a debit card or credit card offered by JP Bank, you would be required to have lived in Japan for at least a period of 6 months.

Some other banks, which are somewhat advantageous for non-residents are Rakuten, Shinsei, and Resona.

Taxation:

Taxes in Japan have to be paid on three different levels namely, national level, prefectural level, and municipal level. Some of the general types of taxes that are to be paid by the people living in Osaka are as follows.

Usually, taxes are levied on the income, property, and consumption, which have been given below.

Income Tax – As we have discussed earlier, income tax is levied on three different levels namely national, prefectural, and municipal levels. 

It is called by the name of resident tax on prefectural and municipal levels, and the exact amount of tax to be paid is calculated on the basis of the net income of the individual person.

In general, the income tax has to be paid on the income that has been earned during a calendar year and is classified into three different categories based on a person’s residency status. 

  • Non-Resident:

People would generally be considered as non-residents when they are living in Japan for a period of less than a year and do not have his/her primary residence located in Japan.

When a person is considered a non-resident, they would only be taxed on the income obtained from the sources in Japan.

  • Non-Permanent Resident:

People who have lived in Japan for a period of fewer than 5 years, yet that person does not intend to stay there on a permanent basis.

Such types of people are taxed on all their income (both local and global) but are exempt from the taxes on the income obtained abroad and haven’t been brought back into Japan.

  • Permanent Resident:

People who have lived in Japan for a period of five years or the people who have an intention of living in Japan permanently are considered as permanent residents.

These are the type of people that are required to pay taxes on the income obtained from all the sources (global and local).

Note – In order to let the people become free from double taxation, Japan has a tax treaty with more than 50 countries, of which some of the major countries are the USA, UK, Australia, Canada, China, and others.

Enterprise Tax – This is a tax imposed on self-employed individuals who are involved in business-related activities. The tax rates vary according to the net income of the person and the type of business in which they are involved.

Property Tax – It is a tax that needs to be paid by people who own land, apartment, or any other types of similar assets.

Consumption Tax – This is generally paid by consumers at the time of purchasing goods and services, and the average rate is around 10%. 

The tax rate varies for food, drinks, and newspaper subscriptions (excluding liquor and dining), for which the rate is 8%.

Taxes related to vehicles – People who own a bus, truck, or car are required to pay this tax annually at a prefectural level.

When a person buys a passenger car, the tax rate is determined on the basis of the engine displacement. 

Municipal light vehicle tax is imposed on individuals annually, specifically on the people who own motorbikes and other similar motorized vehicles.

At a national level, motor vehicle tonnage tax is applicable to every vehicle owner during the time of mandatory inspections.

Automobile acquisition tax is to be paid by the people when they buy a car, which is on a prefectural level. 

Additionally, there is an environmental performance-based tax on two-wheelers and three-wheelers at a prefectural level, which is collected by the Osaka Prefectural Government.

Liquor, Tobacco, and Gasoline Taxes – Liquor tax has to be paid by the general public when they buy alcohol. Tobacco taxes are to be paid by the people at a national level, prefectural level, and municipal level.

People are required to pay a gasoline tax at a national level, while they are purchasing gasoline. 

How to pay – In Japan, people would either have to assess their taxes on their own or the taxes would be deducted from the salaries or wages of an individual with the help of a withholding tax system. 

Because of the withholding tax system, most people are free from the burden of having to assess their taxes and filing tax returns on their own. 

In most cases, people are required to file a tax return only when they fall under the given criteria.

  • People who leave Japan before the end of a tax year. 
  • People whose employers haven’t withheld their taxes. 
  • People who are working with more than one employer.
  • People who have an annual income of more than 20 million yen.
  • People who have a partial income of more than 200,000 yen.

People, other than the individuals coming under the above-mentioned category, usually have their taxes withheld from their salaries that are obtained from their employers. 

The taxes that are to be withheld are adjusted before the particular person receives the final salary in a specific year. 

In the case of self-employed people, the taxes must be filed at a local tax office known by the name of ‘Zeimusho’, or they can do it online (e-Tax), which is between February 16, 2021, to March 15, 2021 (extension up to April 15, 2021).

Tax Rates – Since we are talking about Osaka, first of let us see the prefectural income tax rates and municipal income tax rates along with the national income tax rates.

  • Prefectural income tax rate – 2% (instead of 4%)
  • Municipal income tax rate – 8% (instead of 6%)
  • National income tax rates:
Taxable IncomeTax rate
Up to 1.95 million yen5%
1.95 million yen to 3.3 million yen10% (excluding 97,500 yen)
3.3 million yen to 6.95 million yen20% (excluding 427,500 yen)
6.95 million yen to 9 million yen23% (excluding 636,000 yen)
9 million yen to 18 million yen33% (excluding 1,536,000 yen)
18 million yen to 40 million yen40% (excluding 2,796,000 yen)
Over 40 million yen45% (excluding 4,756,000 yen)

On a prefectural level, the enterprise tax rates vary between 3% to 5% according to the type of business.

Education in Osaka:

The overall quality of education in Osaka is considered to be of high quality and even ranked as the best among 227 cities according to a survey conducted by ‘Teleport’.

As for the universities located in Osaka, some of the best are ‘Osaka University’, ‘Kindai University’, ‘Osaka City University’, ‘Kobe University’, and ‘Osaka Prefecture University’.

Healthcare in Osaka:

It is very easy to find at least one clinic on every street of Osaka, however, finding a clinic or a hospital with English-speaking staff or doctors might be a bit hard. 

Insurance policies obtained from a Japanese company are the only type of insurances accepted at a healthcare provider in Osaka as well as Japan. 

Regardless of that, if you generally opt for paying all the necessary amount upfront, you won’t be having that much of a hassle while obtaining services from a healthcare provider. 

In most clinics as well as smaller hospitals located in Osaka, the primary mode of payment is cash. Therefore, we suggest that it is a better idea to have cash in hand while opting for attaining healthcare services from a healthcare provider in Osaka.

Crime Rate:

Osaka is known to have a very low crime rate compared to most of the cities located in the world. Moreover, Osaka is known to be the best in terms of safety and security for foreigners.

The level of crime in Osaka over the past three years is approximately around 26.08% and the main type of crime that is expected to happen in Osaka is trespassing or theft. 

It has been estimated that 0.6% of the people in Osaka own guns out of every 100 people and the death rate via guns is 0.06% per every 100,000 people. 

The crime index in Osaka is 29.47% and the safety index of the city is 70.53%.

Salaries:

The average salary in Osaka is around 5.03 million yen (approx.), while the average take-home salary happens to be around 3.96 million yen (approx.). 

The salaries vary a great deal according to the career of the individuals. For example, a mechanical engineer gets around 2.1 million yen while a general manager or a sales representative might get around 7 to 8 million yen.

People who have doctorate degrees happen to have the highest average salaries in Osaka. For instance, people with doctorate degrees earn around 9.21 million yen on average. 

People with a high school degree earn around 2.7 million on average, which is comparatively low compared to what people with doctorates earn (as low as 258.95%).

Experience, on the other hand, is also one of the crucial factors while determining a salary of a person. 

People having experience of around 16 to 20 years can earn around 7.92 million yen, while people with no experience or 1-year experience earn around 2.9 million yen.

People involved in healthcare have the highest salaries, which can be up to 20 million yen. Next best thing is career related to real estate and properties with around 8 million yen. 

The lowest salaries are attained by the people involved in the careers related to manufacturing and labor, which is typically around 800,000 yen.

Cost of Living:

As in the case of most cities and countries, the cost of living in Osaka depends on your living standards and expectations. However, what most people might think is food, comfortable living, etc.

One of the most expensive aspects of Osaka is rents, which is not only in Osaka but also among other cities in Japan.

According to what most of the people living in Osaka had to say, half of the salary would generally go to rent and the remaining can be spent on other aspects such as groceries, food, and other essential things.

Now, let us have a look at some of the important things and the costs involved with them.

Food and Groceries – The most important things that we should have to consider while talking about the cost of living in Osaka are the costs related to food and groceries.

  • Milk (1ltr): JPY195 to JPY200
  • Bread (500g): JPY210 to JPY230
  • Eggs (12): JPY250 to JPY280
  • Tomatoes (1kg): JPY750 to JPY785
  • Apples (1kg): JPY635 to JPY660
  • Potatoes: JPY455 to JPY465
  • Chicken (500g): JPY400 to JPY410
  • Beef (1kg): JPY2,600
  • Rice: JPY600
  • Cheese (500g): JPY760 to JPY1,280
  • Banana (1kg): JPY240
  • Oranges (1kg): JPY520
  • Onion (1kg): JPY270
  • Water (1.5ltr): JPY120
  • Wine bottle: JPY1,000 to JPY1,250
  • Beer: JPY300 to JPY400
  • Lettuce (1): JPY180

Transportation – Another major aspect related to the cost of living is transportation, which we will now discuss.

  • Gasoline (1ltr): JPY140 to JPY150
  • Monthly pass: JPY8,000 to JPY9,700
  • One-way ticket: JPY200 to JPY210
  • Taxi (1km): JPY400 to JPY600
  • Taxi (waiting 1hr): JPY3,000

Utilities – The costs related to utilities in Osaka are as follows:

  • Utilities for 85sqm apartment: JPY18,000 to JPY20,000
  • Utilities for 45sqm apartment: JPY9,000
  • Internet: JPY4,200 to JPY4,600

Housing – Rents in Osaka happen to be one of the most expensive aspects while talking about the cost of living as we discussed earlier. The costs related to housing in Osaka are as follows.

  • Monthly rent (85sqm) in an expensive area: JPY160,000 to JPY205,000
  • Monthly rent (85sqm) in a normal area: JPY110,000 to JPY115,000
  • Monthly rent (45sqm) in an expensive area: JPY70,000 to JPY95,000
  • Monthly rent (45sqm) in a normal area: JPY50,000 to JPY60,000
  • Per sq. mt (buying) in an expensive area: JPY710,000
  • Per sq. mt (buying) in a normal area: JPY515,000

Others – Some of the other prices in Osaka related to the cost of living, which are worth knowing.

  • 2 movie tickets: JPY3,650
  • Dinner for 2 in a pub in Osaka: JPY3,700
  • Pack of Marlboro cigarettes: JPY440 to JPY500
  • Dinner for two in an Italian restaurant in Osaka: JPY8,650
  • Short visit to a doctor: JPY5,200
  • Haircut for men (expensive area): JPY3,000
  • Pair of branded jeans: JPY8,400
  • Pair of branded sports shoes: JPY10,000

Bottom Line:

Most of the data provided above is accurate and happens to be correct by the time of writing this article. There might be a possibility that these statistics might change by the time you will be reading this article.

This is a very important guide for the people who wish to move to Osaka as an expat, as they can find all the necessary and relevant information in one place without having to waste a lot of time and effort.

Osaka is a very good place in Japan, and when compared to most other cities that we’ve reviewed, Osaka is one of the best in many aspects.

There are very few disadvantages of living in Osaka and the advantages overweigh them. 

That being said, if you were looking to find the information related to living in Osaka, we hope that you were able to find the relevant information with the help of this article.

If you need someone to take care of your financial needs such as wealth management services and investment advice (especially stocks), you are in the perfect place. 

You can access the best-in-class financial services offered by us by clicking on this link, and never again shall feel that you are being bothered by your financial difficulties.

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 246.1 million answers views on Quora.com and a widely sold book on Amazon

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