Tokyo is the 2nd most expensive city in the world. No, it’s #1. No, it’s #17…

Posted on by Jeffrey

Mercer, a an HR consulting firm, announced Tokyo as the second most expensive city in the world for expats. You can read all about that here. The Angolan city of Luanda was one and another Japanese city, Osaka, was number six.

Then the Wall Street Journal’s Japan Realtime blog more-or-less disputed the results in a post:

“This comes as news to anyone living in Tokyo these days, where the rents – usually the single-biggest expense for an expatriate – for expat-type apartments have plunged about 10-20% since the credit crisis in 2008.”

So it left me to look up other surveys of this ilk to find out where Tokyo really falls in the “World’s Most Expensive City” discussion.

Numbeo, an internet database, uses a similar formula to Mercer, comparing the prices of common everyday goods city to city, using New York City as its baseline. However its results were quite different with Tokyo coming in at 17th.

But wait, there’s more!

ECA International, another HR consulting firm, also has released a study for 2011 and has listed Tokyo as the most expensive city in the world for expats. This list had three additional cities in the top ten with Nagoya at 3, Yokohama at 5, and Kobe at 9.

Last but not least, The Telegraph published “The most expensive cities in the world – in pictures” for their readers who are too lazy to read. Tokyo comes in at one again but Osaka is at three on this list. Unfortunately, we have no clue where or how they got their info, or if this list is related to expat living expenses.

Anyway, whether you believe it to be overwhelmingly expensive due to the strong yen or increasingly inexpensive due to declining prices, Tokyo can be high-priced if you’re not smart with your yen but is entirely worth the money if you’ve never been.


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