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Cost of Living in Sapporo

Understanding the the cost of living in Sapporo helps a newcomer what to expect when it comes to apartment or house hunting, grocery shopping, transportation, dining out, utilities and more.
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Category Cost
Apartment Rentals
  • 1-bedroom apartment in city center: ¥60,000 – ¥90,000 per month
  • 1-bedroom apartment outside city center: ¥40,000 – ¥60,000 per month
  • 3-bedroom apartment in city center: ¥120,000 – ¥180,000 per month
  • 3-bedroom apartment outside city center: ¥80,000 – ¥120,000 per month
Apartment Purchases
  • Price per square meter in city center: ¥400,000 – ¥600,000
  • Price per square meter outside city center: ¥200,000 – ¥400,000
Transportation
  • One-way local transport ticket: ¥200 – ¥300
  • Monthly transport pass: ¥10,000 – ¥15,000
  • Taxi starting tariff: ¥600 – ¥700
  • Taxi 1km tariff: ¥300 – ¥400
  • Gasoline (1 liter): ¥130 – ¥150
Groceries
  • Milk (1 liter): ¥150 – ¥200
  • Bread (500g): ¥150 – ¥300
  • Rice (1kg): ¥400 – ¥600
  • Eggs (12): ¥200 – ¥300
  • Chicken breasts (1kg): ¥500 – ¥800
  • Beef (1kg): ¥1,000 – ¥2,000
  • Apples (1kg): ¥300 – ¥600
  • Tomatoes (1kg): ¥300 – ¥500
  • Potatoes (1kg): ¥200 – ¥400
  • Water (1.5-liter bottle): ¥80 – ¥150
Restaurants
  • Meal at an inexpensive restaurant: ¥700 – ¥1,000
  • Meal for two at a mid-range restaurant: ¥3,000 – ¥5,000
  • McMeal at McDonald’s: ¥500 – ¥700
  • Domestic beer (0.5-liter draught): ¥400 – ¥600
  • Imported beer (0.33-liter bottle): ¥500 – ¥800
  • Cappuccino: ¥300 – ¥500
  • Coke/Pepsi (0.33-liter bottle): ¥100 – ¥200
  • Water (0.33-liter bottle): ¥80 – ¥150
Utilities
  • Basic utilities (electricity, heating, cooling, water, garbage) for 85m2 apartment: ¥10,000 – ¥20,000 per month
  • Internet (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data, cable/ADSL): ¥3,000 – ¥5,000 per month
Private School Tuition
  • Preschool: ¥50,000 – ¥100,000 per month
  • Elementary School: ¥500,000 – ¥1,000,000 per year
  • Middle School: ¥600,000 – ¥1,200,000 per year
  • High School: ¥700,000 – ¥1,500,000 per year

Monthly Budget for Retirees in Sapporo

“The cost of living in Sapporo, is considered moderate compared to other major cities in Japan like Tokyo or Osaka. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center can be quite affordable, while those located outside of the city center are even cheaper. The cost of utilities such as electricity, heating, cooling, and water are also relatively reasonable.When it comes to groceries, prices can vary. Local produce, seafood, and other items are generally affordable, but imported goods can be more expensive. Eating out in Sapporo can range from inexpensive at local ramen shops to more costly at high-end sushi restaurants. Public transportation in Sapporo is efficient and reasonably priced, with options including subways, buses, and taxis. Owning a car can be more expensive due to costs like fuel, maintenance, and parking. Healthcare in Sapporo, as in the rest of Japan, is of high quality. Residents are required to enroll in a public health insurance system, which covers a large portion of medical expenses. Overall, while the cost of living in Sapporo is not the cheapest in Japan, it is more affordable than in cities like Tokyo or Osaka. The city offers a good balance between urban conveniences and access to nature, making it a desirable place to live,” said one expat living in Sapporo.

Can I live in Sapporo on $1,500 a month?

“I’ve been living in Sapporo for a while now, and I can tell you that it’s possible to live on $1,500 a month, but you’ll have to make some sacrifices. First, you’ll need to find an affordable place to live. Some of the more affordable neighborhoods are Kita-ku and Teine-ku, where you can find apartments for around ¥50,000 to ¥60,000 per month. On the other hand, you should avoid more expensive neighborhoods like Chuo-ku and Toyohira-ku, where rent can be much higher.Next, you’ll need to be mindful of your transportation costs. Sapporo has a great public transportation system, but it can be a bit pricey. To save money, consider getting a monthly subway pass, which costs around ¥10,000 to ¥12,000, depending on the zones you need to travel in. Also, try to walk or bike whenever possible to save on transportation costs.When it comes to food, eating out can be expensive, so you’ll want to cook at home as much as possible. Shopping at local supermarkets and discount stores like Don Quijote can help you save on groceries. If you do want to eat out occasionally, look for affordable options like ramen shops, conveyor belt sushi, or fast food chains like Yoshinoya or Sukiya.For entertainment, you’ll need to be selective about what you spend your money on. Going out for drinks can be expensive, so consider having a few drinks at home before heading out to save money. Look for free or low-cost events and attractions around the city, like parks, festivals, and art galleries. If you’re into movies, try to catch a matinee or go on a discount day to save on ticket prices.In summary, living in Sapporo on $1,500 a month is doable, but you’ll need to be mindful of your spending and make some sacrifices. By choosing an affordable neighborhood, being smart about transportation, cooking at home, and being selective about entertainment, you can make it work,” commented an expat living in Sapporo.

Can I live in Sapporo on $3,500 a month?

“I’ve been living in Sapporo for a few years now, and I can tell you that it’s definitely possible to live comfortably on $3,000 a month, but you’ll have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle. First, you’ll want to find an affordable neighborhood to live in. Some of the more affordable areas in Sapporo include Kita-ku, Higashi-ku, and Shiroishi-ku. These neighborhoods are a bit further from the city center, but they offer more affordable housing options. On the other hand, you might want to avoid more expensive neighborhoods like Chuo-ku and Toyohira-ku, as the cost of living there can be quite high.When it comes to housing, you’ll probably have to settle for a smaller apartment than you’re used to. Most apartments in Sapporo are quite compact, especially in the more affordable neighborhoods. You can expect to pay around $600 to $800 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in a decent area. Utilities and internet will likely cost you an additional $100 to $150 per month.As for transportation, the public transit system in Sapporo is quite efficient and affordable. A monthly subway pass will cost you around $60 to $80, depending on the zones you need to travel through. If you’re planning on using a car, keep in mind that parking can be expensive, especially in the city center.When it comes to food, eating out can be quite affordable if you stick to local restaurants and avoid more expensive Western-style establishments. You can find a decent meal for around $5 to $10 at many local eateries. Groceries can be a bit more expensive than you might be used to, but if you shop at discount supermarkets and buy local produce, you can keep your food costs relatively low.Entertainment and leisure activities can also be affordable if you’re willing to explore local options. There are plenty of parks, museums, and cultural events that are either free or have a low entrance fee. However, if you’re looking to enjoy more Western-style entertainment, such as going to the movies or attending concerts, you might find that these activities can be quite expensive.Overall, living in Sapporo on $3,000 a month is doable, but you’ll need to be mindful of your spending and be willing to make some sacrifices in terms of housing and entertainment options. If you can adapt to the local lifestyle and find ways to enjoy the city on a budget, you should be able to live comfortably and enjoy your time in Sapporo,” said one expat living in Sapporo.

Can I live in Sapporo on $5,000 a month?

“I’ve been living in Sapporo for a few years now, and I can tell you that it’s definitely possible to live comfortably on $5,000 a month, even if you’re used to modern amenities. However, you might have to make a few sacrifices to make it work. For example, you might need to live in a smaller apartment or a bit further from the city center to save on rent. When it comes to choosing a neighborhood, I’d recommend looking into areas like Kita-ku or Toyohira-ku. These neighborhoods are more affordable, but still offer a good quality of life and access to modern amenities. You can find a decent one-bedroom apartment in these areas for around $800 to $1,000 a month. On the other hand, I’d avoid neighborhoods like Chuo-ku or Minami-ku, as they tend to be more expensive and might not fit within your budget.In terms of other expenses, you’ll need to budget for utilities, groceries, transportation, and entertainment. Utilities can cost around $150 to $200 a month, while groceries will likely be around $300 to $400 a month. Public transportation is quite efficient and affordable in Sapporo, so you can expect to spend around $100 a month on that. As for entertainment, it really depends on your lifestyle, but I’d say you can have a good time with around $500 a month for dining out, going to bars, and other leisure activities.One sacrifice you might have to make is cutting back on international travel, as flights from Sapporo can be quite expensive. However, there’s plenty to see and do within Japan, so you can still have some great travel experiences without breaking the bank.Overall, I think you can live comfortably in Sapporo on $5,000 a month, but you’ll need to be mindful of your spending and make a few sacrifices. It’s a beautiful city with a lot to offer, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy your time here,” commented an expat living in Sapporo.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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