Top 10 Most Expensive Things in Japan


Japanese asked what it is they think is too expensive in Japan compared to overseas yield a ranking unlikely to dismiss any stereotypes about urban life in Japan…

The ranking:

1. Land

2. Housing

3. Delivery pizza

4. University fees

5. Highway tolls

6. Gasoline

7. Movies

8. Mobile phones/packet charges

9. Foreign brands

10. Taxes

Aside from the fact that Japan’s taxes are some of the lowest in the developed world, a list Japanese and non-Japanese alike are unlikely to find fault with – although being a survey of commoners the extreme prices of Japanese games and anime do not feature.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    02:55 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    What? How about:
    - A wife
    - Another "wife"
    - Children

    Or maybe they can't bring themselves to admit it.

    Avatar of Inovader
    Comment by Inovader
    20:16 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    Some of you have no idea how expensive some of the listed items really are.

    Things such as movies and pizza (not delivered) in Japan, you can expect to be double to quadriple the prices you pay, well in Australia anyway.

    University fees are a joke over there - there is a common saying that for parents, there is a decision to either send their kids to university or to give them braces. One or the other

    Highway tolls are also overpriced. To go from a local suburb in Osaka to the Kansai Airport, you'd pay approximately 15-20 dollars including the trip back.

    Foreign Brands - Commoners in Japan, when it comes to luxury and brand goods, are as bad as otaku...

    Avatar of Quack!
    Comment by Quack!
    07:02 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    University fees are a joke everywhere. But I get what you're saying.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:03 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    yeah here in asia, pizza is relatively cheap with promos going on and everything...probably the speedy delivery charge that goes with the pie makes it expensive in japan

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:15 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think a lot of you are misunderstanding what the list is saying.

    Its not saying pizza is more expensive than going to a university, its saying that more people feel that they aren't getting there money's worth from a 3000 yen pizza(i.e. they would rather pay closer to 2000 yen or something) than feel that the prices to go to Japanese Universities are to high.

    Avatar of PrinceHeir
    Comment by PrinceHeir
    02:40 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "3. Delivery pizza"

    what the?? really? i don't think japan takes tip?(don't quote on me)

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:18 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pizza ABOVE University Fees???

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:17 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I went by a pizza hut in Tokyo a few days ago and got an AMAZING pizza on take away, delivery with their cute scooters is same price. Best quality pizza i've had but yea it was Y2000 on a campaign, normally Y3500!

    Other than that it's a pleasure living here(eating out, entertainment, shopping), coming from Sweden with the 2nd highest tax in the world. Unfortunately the YEN is unecessarily strong right now.

    Avatar of vega427
    Comment by vega427
    01:20 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I noticed it reads "delivery pizza". Would it be cheaper if one went and picked it up? That's what I always do, why pay them extra to deliver a luke warm pie, 45 minutes after I ordered it?

    Avatar of Kuro'Base'Neko
    Comment by Kuro'Base'Neko
    21:11 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Why the f*ck pizza is that expensive?! its even lots expensive than university fees o_O

    Comment by Anonymous
    Comment by Anonymous
    21:08 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    it might not seems like it cost a lot to me now, but when i lived in asia i used to think pizza is bloody expensive.. until i came to england, where every fucking thing that you can put in your mouth is expensive and taste bad. in asia for the price of a pizza (which is similar to western price) u can get a lot more and arguably better stuff, that is why we think its expensive..i think

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:43 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I am more surprised to see there are no sex service in the top 10 list.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:01 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I am in Osaka,Japan right now and a personal pan pizza at this restaurant i went to is like 10 dollars each, and I also went to the movies to see Biohazard/Resident Evil, and its 12 dollars a tickets!!

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:20 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    rating's wrong, fruit are the most expensive
    how d'you like two bucks an apple?

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:31 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm right outside San Francisco now (about an hour outside...close enough in America since an hour drive is nothing) and they property out there is outrageous just to rent. =/ I don't think Tokyo is near as bad as there and other places. Lord, I'd just never eat again. Then again Italian friend=free pizza if you bring the beer.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:45 23/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sounds distressingly like Canada. (But I'm still going to go get pizza.)

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:09 23/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Foreign brands"?
    WTF?! I thought they call it "gaijin brands"!

    Fucking hypocritical Japs!


    Comment by Anonymous
    17:07 13/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pizza hut always seems to find it's way into anime

    Avatar of ViP *Lux*
    Comment by ViP *Lux*
    05:17 14/03/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well land is everywhere expensive!!
    Pizza delivery is 3rd oh my God... It shouldn't even be on that list is it sooo expensive..

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:47 27/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    i understand land and house...but pizza ey? i suppose they are in japan

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:31 23/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I live in Chiba, about 40 minutes from Akihabara station.

    I pay $700 a month for a 40 year old apartment that is two 7 tatami sized rooms and a bathroom... I don't even live in the more expensive, smaller apartments that are closer to the city. On top of that, in order to move in to a house, you pay 2 months rent as a bond, then 2 more months rent as a cash gift to the owner for them allowing you to live in their building. Oh and when you move out, you NEVER get your bond back.

    A large pizza, picked up from the store is $30.

    Plenty of friends are in university. They pay exorbitant fees.

    I drove to Gunma for a holiday. A 4 hour trip. Tolls were \6800 each way. Don't ever drive in Japan.

    Fuel is about the same as my home country (Australia).

    Movies are \1800 for a regular session, \300 more for 3D. The last session of the evening is usually only about \1200, but they don't play most new movies that late.

    Don't EVER use your phone to make calls. It costs too much. Everyone just emails unless they NEED to call. The rates are crazily high.

    Foreign brands are a bit of a lucky dip. Some expensive things overseas just don't have brand recognition here, so they are pretty cheap. However, if you like the brands Japanese people like, go get a second job. Ed Hardy tshirts can go for over \20,000.

    What they haven't mentioned is that to buy a crappy little table for your house is about \15,000. Furniture is so expensive, the companies selling it must have a massive cocaine habit. If you want a standard single bed, you can say goodbye to about \60,000 and then more for delivery. Tomatoes are \100 EACH. The cost of living in the greater Tokyo area is inflated at every turn by price gouging.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:42 05/12/2011 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh damn. It sounds so discouraging. I want to live in Japan,please tell me something positive.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:48 23/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The yen sign is coming up as a slash... *sigh*

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:47 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    land = the same problem in every country

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:50 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You guys are so funny.
    128 yen/L is so fucking cheep...come to Germany, here you can pay 1,8555$/L

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:35 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's still incredibly steep by American standards. ¥128/L is equivalent to $5.71/gal. In actuality, the stations in my area are currently around $2.55-2.60/gal. (which works out to €0.51-2/L). for regular (mid-grade is 10-15¢ more than regular, and premium is 8-10¢ more than mid-grade).

    When it hit $4/gal. two years ago, you would have thought it was the end of the world here. A lot of stations even went to requiring prepayment for cash sales, because of the spike in drive-offs. Gas prices were a major factor in Obama's election that fall. Of course, a decade ago, the going rate in my area was just over $1/gal. (and often fell below $1 in the winter months), so it's still understandable.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:14 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, pizza in Kyoto might be slightly high, but you have to take out a frickin' bank loan to buy fruit in Japan!

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:43 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Having lived and worked in Japan a few years ago, I would readily agree with about half of this list. The other half, the Japanese are smoking crack.

    high land and housing prices in Japan are a myth perpetuated from the 1980s, and this has fallen steadily since their property bubble burst in the early 1990s. Even now it is still the cause of the last decade of Japanese productivity - they have experienced the rough equivalent of our 2008-2009 recession for over 15 YEARS now. Land prices NOW in Japan are actually comparable (or even LESS) than many western cities. I can buy an apartment in any Tokyo suburb for less than in my Canadian city now!

    University fees are also a myth. This may be different from a foreigner perspective too - as almost every western university also charges higher rates to foreign students whether they are private or public, the overall cost of going to university has gone up dramatically over the last 20 years EVERYWHERE.

    Highway tolls? Hell yes. But this is a product of the Japanese government - toll highways were designed specifically to subsidize and support the Japan Rail network, and if you make a simple direct comparison tolls are almost uniformly applied to make driving your car 10-20% more expensive than taking the same journey cross-country by train.

    Mobile phones and data charges? HA. Don't even talk to me - Canada has the highest average cellular rates in the developed world.

    Foreign brands? I think that is in part the product of the government creating tariffs and barriers to foreign competition. You don't see this much in electronics because domestic products are so overwhelmingly dominant, but I never really paid much attention to clothing or other product pricing.
    Grocery shopping was comparable but the selection of international brands and products was definitely more limited than your typical western supermarket.
    Overall anyone who has visited Japan in the last 3-5 years will certainly say that thanks to stagflation, Japan is nowhere near as expensive as it used to be 20 years ago. Its prices for goods and services have stayed relatively static while everything else in the world has inflated in comparison. However this is all a matter of perspective - I couldn't really speak to the typical Japanese wage earner's salary. It's quite logical that their wages have not appreciated much in this same period too. I was lucky enough to be paid a western-scale salary by my employer so this issue wasn't visible to me.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:24 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "big dikku" in Japan is worth having, as it might make things bit cheeper.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:20 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    pizza more expensive then university fees haha

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:11 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    delivery pizza is more expensive than university fee!?! and then gasoline!?

    Avatar of Ricardo
    Comment by Ricardo
    07:27 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I will think, the most expensive thing???? Well it may be a payed scort, but maybe there's more cheap pay to have a funny night than eat a pizza in Japan?
    Well, here a Familiar Pizza delivered in my house is around 250 Mexican Pesos so its like 1660 to 1680 Yens.
    And a Call Girl its arround 2,500 to 3,000 Mexican Pesos, and that's a cheap and clean one.
    So i will say the costs are not related.
    Here in Mexico, the Entry Fee to an University its around 2,500 in a Public One, and the sky the limit in a Private One.
    One Semester its like 300 Mexican Pesos in a Public University, and by working in a Private University i can say in promedium of 70,000 Mexican Pesos the semester in a "Good" Private University.
    So how much its the Entry Fee in Todai? And the Semester? In Yens?
    Dunno, the buying of housing here varies, from 50,000 mexican pesos for a empty lot in the middle of nowhere near a city, to 1,000,000 Mexican Pesos for a departament in the luxury area. So comment.
    The movies here cost of rental for 24 hrs 1 DVD like 25 Mexican Pesos, the movie theater extreme quality like 150 Mexican Pesos, and buy a DVD movie like 250 Mexican Pesos. 1 Blue Ray Movie Rental it's like 50-75 Mexican Pesos, a cheap Movie theather like 35 Mexican Pesos, and buy a Blue Ray Movie like 450 Mexican Pesos. The most expensive thing here are the Taxes, like 80% of the tax money goes PUFF!!! Bribes, Private Partys, Land Owners, etc.
    Plus the average salary of an employee its like 3500 Mexican Pesos to 5000 Mexican Pesos in a Month, so do the math.

    Avatar of DarkTemplarMark
    Comment by DarkTemplarMark
    14:49 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Thinking in a neutral view, in Japan the unhealthy food costs more, not for the real monetary cost, but the real proportion of calories. I've seen the pizza deliveries websites and I'm amazed of how much calories they have. (Many times the fat that they have here in Chile, and I can ensure you, these ones are butter with mass.

    Avatar of Gekokujou
    Comment by Gekokujou
    14:54 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh, don't even get me started with mobile phones, I was paying something like 10000 yen per month on my phone bills while I was there.

    As for movies it depends as DVDs are expensive, but going to the cinema itself is more or less the same as where I live.

    Avatar of Shizu's Waki Obsessor: MaidNiac
    14:32 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "3. Delivery pizza"

    Dang, Britannia probably added some price drop when they turned Japan into Area-11.. or Lelouch was just too filthy rich.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:39 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    C.C. must be lucky to be able to chow down on expensive pizza every episode.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:42 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    No wonder most Japaneses are so slim.:)

    Comment by Anonymous
    13:30 26/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Apparently you don't know about lack of exercise, stress, and slow metabolisms.

    Avatar of Yohei
    Comment by Yohei
    14:56 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pizza?! wow!

    maybe cheese-kun was the one delivering the pizza..
    that's why so expensive..

    Avatar of GREW
    Comment by GREW
    14:12 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh, Pizza Hut is sure a suprise.
    But the rest is kinda normal.

    Except maybe the mobile phone thing.
    I thought they have more flatrate and such cheap stuff for that.

    Avatar of Rene
    Comment by Rene
    14:12 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pizza is expensive?


    Comment by Anonymous
    14:12 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    no joke i thought some sort of electronic would be up there

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    15:55 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Electronics are relatively cheap in Japan. You can get cell phones that would cost €300 in Germany for less than €100 in Japan...

    Avatar of HKE
    Comment by HKE
    16:39 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    you can even get it for free , because after all the company ahem DOCOMO will suck you blood i mean money with their fees

    Avatar of gundam4ever2
    Comment by gundam4ever2
    14:12 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I know Land and Housing was expensive due to Japan being a small island country, but why pizza? The ingredients most be why its so expensive.

    Avatar of prinnyprince
    Comment by prinnyprince
    14:10 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    These things are universally expensive.

    Avatar of Yoshii-kun
    Comment by Yoshii-kun
    14:17 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Apart from the pizza, yeah.

    This looks like a list of monthly needs I have to cover as a student. O.O

    Avatar of MARl0
    Comment by MARl0
    14:06 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm surprised they didn't mention anime. considering how expensive anime DVDs and BluRay are in Japan compared to the US.

    Avatar of RopeXPantsu
    Comment by RopeXPantsu
    19:29 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They didn't mention anime because it's a niche product (unlike all the other items on the list).

    Avatar of TheBeast
    Comment by TheBeast
    09:36 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    did a little research. a large "pizza hut" brand pizza in japan is about 30-40 dollars! in america they are 10 bucks a pop. that includes specialty pizzas too, like meat lovers and triple topping pizzas too.

    Avatar of Abel Liegod
    Comment by Abel Liegod
    08:32 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    For me its kay that some stuffs are expensive there, japan is the best country to get all kinds of jobs so whatever...

    Avatar of Shippoyasha
    Comment by Shippoyasha
    15:21 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    $50 for about 2 to 3 (THREE!) episodes of anime is an utter travesty. So is buying $100 games in retail and the game rentals being illegal in Japan.

    And yeah, LOL at mentioning taxes in Japan. For the social services they get, to proper upkeep of public infrastructure, they get a decent enough deal. Every European and American nation probably has a more legit reason to rage at tax rates.

    Avatar of starsplash
    Comment by starsplash
    15:04 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Here is what the top 10 list should be:

    Avatar of TheBeast
    Comment by TheBeast
    09:31 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    @ starsplash

    no repeats! lol.

    Avatar of makkun
    Comment by makkun
    15:44 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    Avatar of Miroku74
    Comment by Miroku74
    22:32 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's why the Turtles live in Manhattan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:03 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    true dat
    but pizza cerel! haha

    Avatar of Azure Xuchilbara
    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    16:10 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would murder someone if they knew it is the 3rd most expensive thing in Japan...

    Avatar of Kai
    Comment by Kai
    14:19 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I would lump anime and games in with movies as $90 for two episodes of anime is expensive.

    Avatar of MARl0
    Comment by MARl0
    14:42 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Movies aren't that expensive in Japan though. Anime is unique in how expensive it is in Japan compared to movies.

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:21 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Lear to COOKING you fucking BAKAS!

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:47 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    pizza is more expensive than a whore.....LOL!!!

    Avatar of Sylar
    Comment by Sylar
    20:16 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Pizza is expensive shit actually. I can order a lot of delivery food that can satisfy my hunger about the same and most of them are cheaper than pizza.
    Also pizzas get smaller and smaller. When i was a kid a medium size pizza had the size that a large family pizza has now.

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:36 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sorry for you who DOESN'T live in an overseas, eh, Japan ?

    Avatar of kajunbowser
    Comment by kajunbowser
    04:31 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    If pizza cost that much in Japan, it better come with Eris (I'm just sayin').

    Avatar of Darkrockslizer
    Comment by Darkrockslizer
    14:45 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Food and living expenses are sky high in Japan.

    It is much better being a westerner enjoying their pirated products for no expense than actually living on the spot and having all your future sacrificed just to be able to keep up with the monthly payments. No wonder so many of their youth choose to be NEET.

    Avatar of Domo-Kun
    Comment by Domo-Kun
    15:13 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think I read that real estate in Moscow, Seoul, San Francisco, and Manhattan were actually higher than Tokyo.

    And when they say "Movies" they might mean in a theater. They're 2000 yen or more.

    And Gas is totally more expensive in Europe than Japan, isn't it?

    Mobile phone service is high, but only the caller pays for the call. You don't use minutes if you're the one being called.

    Avatar of NakkiNyan
    Comment by NakkiNyan
    16:52 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I disagree, not every country would list pizza :P

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:49 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Sounds like the same list every country would give.

    Avatar of Schrobby
    Comment by Schrobby
    15:45 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I want pizza, and I want her to bring it...

    Comment by Anonymous
    22:28 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    An almost GIANT pizza here on Brasil is Y$ 492. ;)

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:22 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    a giant pizza here is only like 12 or 14 bucks...... if you get off your lazy ass and pick it up yourself >_>

    Comment by Anonymous
    21:09 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Cartoon Girl pushing cartoon Pizza, go figure. Sad fact is that PizzHut pizza is to real pizza that Elis is to REAL girls.
    They both look nice, til you try to 'interact' with them Meh.

    Avatar of PewPewPew!
    Comment by PewPewPew!
    20:49 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    1st C.C. now Eris, is it just me or does Pizza Hut chooses it's CM models in Japan out of the latest animes every year?

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:48 23/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    tortilla is also expensive in tokyo

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:14 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    Avatar of TheBeast
    Comment by TheBeast
    09:30 22/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    here is a cheap recipe for good pizza. buy tortillas, sauce, cheese, and toppings

    large (burrito style)tortillas - 3.00usd
    2 jars of sauce-6.00usd
    3 lbs of mozzarella cheese-8.00usd
    2 packs of pepperoni-5.00usd
    makes about 10 pizzas for about 22 american dollars.

    if you grease the pan with spray grease (pam) and cook it for about 20 minutes they crust is flaky like a toaster struedel. it's my own recipe. pretty handy for students and low income families.

    i guarantee you will like it, give it a try. let me know what you think.

    Avatar of men
    Comment by men
    17:16 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    they can watch on tv that's why..

    Avatar of Azure Xuchilbara
    Comment by Azure Xuchilbara
    16:12 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Anime merchandise and goods is never expensive if you are a dedicated fan...

    You can't put a price on the smile of a cute anime girl...

    *switches his voice to a familiar evil voice*

    Everything else is just so much chaff...

    Avatar of Shippoyasha
    Comment by Shippoyasha
    19:06 21/09/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Azure, I wish I can agree. Except Japanese fans paying through their NOSE to pay $600-700 for 'complete series packages'...

    The most people had to pay in America is something like $150 for total packages...

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