KIJA website -FAQs
Life in Japan
Before sending us a question, please check to see if you can find the information you’re looking for in the FAQ section below.
The exchange rate for 100 Yen in June 2020 is roughly 100 Kenya Shillings. (1 for 1) Japan is an expensive country and accommodation near the center of major cities can be particularly expensive, but you might be surprised how cheaply you can get by if you are careful. Below is a list detailing the estimated monthly living costs for a working holiday maker in Tokyo. Such costs will obviously vary a great deal depending on your spending habits, and the area you live in.
You should expect that you have to spend substantially more during the first month of your stay.
Accommodation (studio apartment) 70,000 yen per month,
(share-house) 50,000 yen per month
Food 60,000 yen per month
Utilities 40,000 yen per month (Power, water, gas, internet)
Total 165,000 yen per month
A soft drink can from a vending machine usually costs between 100 yen to 150 yen, a bowl of rice and chicken costs 500 yen, and a McDonalds meal costs 550 yen. Food in supermarkets can also be quite expensive, and eating out can sometimes work out cheaper than cooking your own food at home.
Items such as meat, fruit, and vegetables might be more expensive than what you are used to, but make sure you cut back on other things before you cut back spending on food. You may need more nutrition than usual to help you to cope with the stress of adapting to your new environment.
To work full-time in Japan, you first need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in any field (or prove you have at least 10 years of experience in some industry), then find a company or school that agrees to hire you. You can apply for a visa in or out of Japan.
Some can work legally in some field (entertainer, chef, etc.) without a college degree but the rule of thumb is for a “specialist in humanities/international affairs” type of qualification, the government requires some type of Bachelor’s degree.
One can also enroll in a language, martial arts, or other accredited school and get a student visa which allows you to work up to 28 hrs/week legally (there is a separate form from Immigration you’ll need to fill out). To get a student visa however, many times the Immigration Dept. will demand that you have at least one million yen in a Japanese bank account, and to see your college diploma (the real one or certified copy, no photocopies).
For those of you considering teaching English in Japan (EFL, or sometimes called ESL), please refer to online resources on this matter. In all such cases for a work permit/visa, you will need a guarantor for your visa — usually your employer/company/school can act as one for you; if they won’t, you’ll need someone (often they’ll demand he be a Japanese citizen) with a stable job and salary who’ll be one for you.
The only other viable legal options to work in Japan are through a spouse visa by marrying a Japanese, or a dependent visa by being married to a foreigner in Japan who is legally working full time.
Unfortunately, most apartments have 24-month contracts. Basically the larger the city, the higher the rent. There is also a very large difference between rent in the city centres and suburban areas. Accommodation that is close to train stations tends to be more expensive. Rent is usually charged monthly in Japan.
When choosing an apartment a few things to consider are:
Rooms are measured according to how many tatami mats fit into it. A tatami mat (-jo) is 1.8m x 90cm, and a typical room has 6-jo, or about 10 square meters (108 sq. ft.). A 1K apt. has one 6-jo room with the mini kitchen in the hall-way, 1DK has two 6-jo rooms (1 room, 1 dining 1 kitchen = 1DK), 1LDK has that plus a living room. Other apartments have 2DK which means 2 6-jo rooms and kitchen room, etc.
The initial fees, deposit, etc. that you are required to pay upfront usually amount to around 4 to 5 months rent, and only part of this is refunded. These initial costs are;
There are many net providers in Japan, with many different rate plans. Japan has some of the highest internet speeds available for consumers in the world, with up to 100 Mbps level fiber optic cable and can be used for as little as 2000 to 4000 yen per month. Many net provider services run on one or two year contracts.
Some of the biggest ISPs are Asahi, OCN, Au, Biglobe, So-net, IIJ, and Rakuten. One of the newer methods is a portable dongle router like Wimax2+, UQ, RakutenMobile or Ymobile, which allow a maximum download speed of 220 mbs. Speeds may vary depending on if you are in an isolated location. Search online and just call in, or walk into your nearest electronics shops and apply in person.
In Japan for the cellular phones, prices and functions vary — the largest are NTT, Softbank, and AU. Prices for the basic phone can vary widely though, and the phone charges may be comparable to calling long distance on a landline. In Japan, the caller assumes all the charges — if you never make any calls you’d only have to pay the monthly contract fee. If you buy a phone you also have to buy a contract with it, usually good for 2 years although a monthly contract type also exists. There is the new proliferation of sim-free cheaper android phones. These are the most viable, when coupled with the “kakuyasu sim” or “cheap sim” packages offered by 2nd tier vendors such as UQ, RakutenMobile or Ymobile.