What’s the Cost of Utilities in Tokyo? (2014)

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CC Photo by sukekichi

How much are utilities in Tokyo? That’s a very wise question if you plan to be moving to Tokyo in the future.

Last year, the GaijinPot blog asked the same question and got some very enlightening answers. Since I like to keep track of my utilities, I decided to put together a detailed breakdown of my own utilities for 2014.

This article outlines my costs living alone for 2014 for five utility bills: Gas, electric, water/sewage, cellphone, and internet.

Before diving in, you can use a currency exchange conversion site to change the yen to your country’s currency.

The exchange rate has been a little crazy recently, but for a rough conversion, you can think of 100 yen as 1 US dollar (move the decimal in the yen figure two digits to the left for USD).

Tokyo Utilities Monthly Averages (for 2014)

Gas: ¥1,411
Electricity: ¥1,821.25
Water: ¥1,797.75
Cellphone: ¥4,378.08
Internet: ¥6,482.17

Total: ¥15,890.25

Tokyo Utilities Highs (for 2014)

Gas: ¥1,985 (April)
Electricity: ¥2,812 (August)
Water: ¥1,816.5 (January and February)
Cellphone: ¥6,174 (March)
Internet: ¥9,064 (January through May)

Total: ¥21,851.5

Tokyo Utilities Lows (for 2014)

Gas: ¥1,031 (September)
Electricity: ¥882 (March)
Water: ¥2,764 (March through June)
Cellphone: ¥3,233 (December)
Internet: ¥4,638 (June through December)

Total: ¥12,548

Tokyo Utilities Yearly Totals (for 2014)

Gas: ¥16,932
Electricity: ¥21,855
Water: ¥21,573
Cellphone: ¥52,537
Internet: ¥77,786

Total: ¥190,683

Tokyo Utilities Cost Details (for 2014)

Gas

Gas Monthly Average: ¥1411
Gas Monthly High: ¥1985 (April)
Gas Monthly Low: ¥1031 (September)
Gas Yearly Total: ¥16,932

Gas Provider: Tokyo Gas

Note on my Gas Use: I don’t have an explanation for my highest and lowest, but I notice that if I do more gas-stove cooking or take more baths, the bill tends to go up. I keep the gas bill down by washing dishes in cold water and turning off the hot-water heater and gas valve when not in use.

Electricity

Electricity Monthly Average: ¥1821.25
Electricity Monthly High: ¥2812 (August)
Electricity Monthly Low: ¥882 (March)
Electricity Yearly Total: ¥21,855

Electricity Provider: TEPCO

Note on Electricity High: My highest month was August at ¥2812. This is unsurprising since I used the A/C a ton. The summer months (July through September) and winter months (December through February) tend to cost the most for electricity since I use the A/C a lot.

Note on Electricity Low: My lowest month was March at ¥882. I usually use the A/C a bit in March, since it is still cold, but in March 2014 I unplugged my refrigerator for the month, which cut down on the electric bill a lot.

Note on my Electricity Use: I have a refrigerator (no freezer), microwave, and computer that I use often. I don’t have a TV, limit use of hair dryer and A/C, and am careful about unplugging items I don’t use.

Water/Sewage

Water Monthly Average: ¥1797.75
Water Monthly High: ¥1816.5 (January and February)
Water Monthly Low: ¥1764 (March through December)
Water Yearly Total: ¥21,573

Water/Sewage Provider: Tokyo Waterworks Bureau

Note on Water/Sewage Payments: Actually, the water bill comes every two months, but I divided the bi-monthly bill by two to get the monthly high, low, and average.

Note on Water/Sewage High: My highest two month period was January/February, which was a ¥3633 bill (meaning ¥1816.5 per month). This was because I wasn’t using automatic withdrawal, which gives you a small discount.

Note on Water/Sewage Low: From March through June, my water bills were all the same. That is, every two month period, I was charged ¥3528 (¥1764 per month).

Note on Current Water Bills: Since August 2014, my water bills have been at a steady ¥3628 per two months (¥1814 per month). I think the slight increase had to do with the April 2014 sales tax hike, but I’m not entirely sure.

Note on my Water Use: I wash dishes by hand and am careful to turn off water when washing hair in the shower. I take a full bath about once a week.

Cellphone

Cellphone Monthly Average: ¥4,378.08
Cellphone Monthly High: ¥6,174 (March)
Cellphone Monthly Low: ¥3,233 (December)
Cellphone Yearly Total: ¥52,537

Cellphone Provider: Softbank

Note on my Cellphone Use: I currently use a Softbank flip-phone with the cheapest plan (which is partly pay-as-you-go), so the months that I text, use the internet, or call a lot, the bill is higher. I’d like to switch to a SIM card and tablet as my cellphone, which seems like it’d cost about the same as my non-smart flip-phone (not including the purchase price of the tablet).

Internet

Internet Monthly Average: ¥6,482.17
Internet Monthly High: ¥9,064 (January through May)
Internet Monthly Low: ¥4,638 (June through December)
Internet Yearly Total: ¥77,786

Internet Providers: NTT/Yahoo LAN (January through May), AU Pocket Wifi (June through December)

Note on my Internet Use: I switched to an AU pocket wifi as my internet source in June 2014.

The pocket wifi is about ¥4000 cheaper per month than the NTT/Yahoo setup, but it isn’t very reliable. I’d stick with the normal NTT/Yahoo service if you want something very stable.

If anyone has suggestions on how to lower this bill, I’m all ears!

Conclusion

How do your utilities compare?

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2 thoughts on “What’s the Cost of Utilities in Tokyo? (2014)

  1. Cody says:

    This is totally not what I would expect Tokyo to be! Granted, I don’t know the size of your living space, but I figured overall utilities would be much higher for such a big city, especially since I’m paying more for quite a few of these living in the Midwest.

    Not internet though, fortunately. Some people assume our internet is terrible because we’re “rural” to them, when in reality it’s better than theirs 😛

    Reply
    1. L. says:

      Hi Cody!

      My utilities are definitely on the low side of the spectrum in Tokyo. This is thanks to my Navy-style showers, tiny fridge (no freezer), only using A/C at night, and lack of cooking skills. A coworker in the same apartment had bills about twice as much as mine (she cooked a lot more, etc.), so YMMV.

      My apartment is only about 8 tatami mats (so about 142 square feet), plus a kitchen and bathroom that are probably an additional 8 tatami mats (142 square feet), so considerably smaller than the typical American apartment and perhaps thus the lower A/C bills.

      I get all misty eyed when someone says they live in the Midwest. I grew up in Ohio and still feel quite a bit of affinity for it. That’s interesting that you have such good internet. My relatives live in suburbia in the US and have terrible internet. Maybe it depends on the company?

      Reply

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