Japan is amongst the most popular TEFL destinations in the world, and apart from being an extremely exciting place to visit, there’s generally a high demand for teachers in the area. Along with Korea and Taiwan, the average salaries are amongst the highest you can earn TEFLing anywhere in the world! Depending upon your experience (teachers need a degree and TEFL certification to teach here), you could be earning up to £2,075/$3,250 a month – and many teachers also offer private lessons, charging £42/$60 an hour.
The rich culture of the country is the main appeal for many, especially thanks to the diversity of the various cities. You can enjoy the world famous sumo in Osaka or the significantly less traditional nightlife in Nartita! Before you rush to book the next flight to Tokyo however, it might be worth considering the cost of living in Japan.
The basics – While areas such as China offer most people accommodation along with the teaching contract, you’ll have to find and pay for your own apartment in Japan. The average cost per month for rent in a one bedroomed apartment in the city centre is typically 99,700¥ ($980). Outside the city you’ll pay a little less at 58,800¥ ($580).
Of course there are also utilities to consider as well. The total cost of electricity, water and garbage collection generally comes in at 19,510¥ ($192) per month, while monthly internet connection is around 3,830¥ ($38) per month.
Wine & Dine – We’re not talking about your party beverages here; this is the stuff you need to live instead! Those based in the west might be surprised at the cost of some products, as some are much cheaper in Japan, whilst others are way more expensive.
Bread and milk should set you back no more than £1.20/$2; and rice is pretty cheap too. Fruit and veg is more expensive, costing £2/$3 per piece, although you can pick them up cheaper from the markets – they normally sell fresher goods anyway!
Alcohol is also reasonably priced, unless you go for the high-end brands, with a pint of beer costing approximately £2/$3, and a mid-priced wine for £7.50/$12 – obviously buying these at a supermarket will be significantly less than going to a bar, but that’s what you’d expect.
Getting from A to B – Japan is famous for its reliable and smooth running transport, especially in the city centres; and for many people, it’s a welcome relief to finally use public transport that actually runs on time! No matter which method you choose to travel the country, it’s important to know how much to budget.
For a one-way ticket on local public transport (whether it’s a train or a bus), you’ll spend around £1.20/$2.00; and a monthly unlimited pass, it will cost around £60/$100, so it’s much more cost effective to invest in this if you’ll be using public transport to get to work. In the major cities, they’re so congested that it’s not even worth considering getting a car, as it would take too long to get anywhere!
Budgeting around 15,230¥ ($150) per month for transport should leave you well covered should you plan to keep within the local area.
So, considering the cost of living in Japan, whilst it’s high, it’s to be expected with the high wages. If you have a lot of debt (i.e. student loan) that you’re desperate to pay off, Japan isn’t the best option – but for an experience like no other, it’s worth giving this beautiful country a go!