Hong Kong vs Tokyo Cost of Living
When it comes to comparing the cost of living in Hong Kong to Tokyo, it’s necessary to break down the individual factors to get an accurate view of which city is more expensive for your personal circumstances.
Sure, we can add up all the general living costs against the average wage, and we come up with the fact that it’s more expensive to live in Hong Kong, but everyone has different needs.
For instance, those with kids will have different priorities (and therefore spending needs) than those who don’t. There are those who love to dine out on a regular basis and those who cook at home.
And of course, many of us simply live a more frugal lifestyle than others.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the cost of living in Hong Kong versus that of living in Tokyo – but in individual aspects, rather than overall.
We take the figures from the crowd sourcing websites Expatistan and Numbeo, who provide up to the minute figures. These are accurate as of January 2016.
Okay, so we all need somewhere to live. Be it renting or purchasing, a roof over our heads is the first need when it comes to working out the cost of living.
The first place most people start their property search is online.
Some good websites to search for Hong Kong property include Hong Kong Homes, Go Home, and Island Property. For those searching in Tokyo, check out Real Estate Tokyo, Japan Property Central, and London Tokyo Property Services.
Properties, whether purchasing or renting, are more expensive in Hong Kong – and sometimes by a shocking amount, depending on the type you’re looking for.
Bizarrely, renting a one bedroom apartment either in the city centre or on the outskirts is way more expensive than in Tokyo by between 85 – 125%!
When you look at larger, three bedroom apartments, you certainly get more for your money. However, you can still expect to pay between 35 – 78% more in Hong Kong.
If you’re looking to purchase rather than rent, expect to pay around 39% more in the city centre of Hong Kong, but a massive 88% more on the outskirts of the city, over the outskirts of Tokyo.
As we all know, along with the joy of renting or owning your own home comes the wonderful task of paying for your heating, water, electricity, etc. Once again, Hong Kong is the more expensive of the two cities – you can expect to pay nearly 50% more here.
But when it comes to some other ultra important utilities, such as Internet and mobile phones, Hong Kong is triumphantly the winner. For instance, your mobile phone tariff will cost you around 90% more in Tokyo, and Internet about 30% more.
We all need to shop for this, and in general, fruit and vegetables will cost you far less in Hong Kong than in Tokyo.
You’ll find regular staples as apples, lettuces, bananas, tomatoes, onions, and potatoes setting you back between 30 – 60% less in Hong Kong. Rice is also a lot cheaper, by nearly 40%.
However, when it comes to items such as milk, it is a lot more expensive in Hong Kong – by around 86%. Bread is also more expensive, by 38%, as well as eggs (67%) and cheese (40%).
Meat is also dearer here, with chicken costing around 80% more in Hong Kong, and Beef around 13% more.
Who doesn’t love a meal out every now and then? No doubt you work hard enough to deserve such a treat.
For a meal out in an inexpensive restaurant, both cities are fairly similar – with Hong Kong slightly cheaper by about 6%.
If you move a little more upmarket, the difference becomes more apparent – you’ll pay about 20% less in Hong Kong than in a similar restaurant in Tokyo.
Another difference is for that daily caffeine fix: you’ll pay around 35% more in Hong Kong for your cappuccino or latte. But for that all essential bottled water, those in Hong Kong will pay about 12% less than their Tokyo counterparts.
Going to the movies is cheaper in Hong Kong than in Tokyo. A ticket for an international release will set you back around 25% less here.
Hong Kong has some great multiplex cinemas, such as Pacific Place and the multiple UA cinemas. In Tokyo, according to many reviews on Trip Advisor, the best cinema in the whole city is the nine-screen Roopongi Hills.
For those who can’t get by without their annual gym membership, there’s not an awful lot of difference in price between the two cities, with Hong Kong slightly tipping the balance with average memberships of around 7% less than those in Japan.
Both cities boast excellent public transport systems, consisting of trains and buses. Using public transport in the Japanese capital city is more expensive than that in Hong Kong – a monthly pass costs around 32% less than in Tokyo.
In Hong Kong, the public transport is known at the MTR, and it successfully transports millions of people each and every day.
Taxis in Hong Kong are also better value for money than those in Tokyo – by around 66% – but when it comes to having your own car and filling it with petrol, it’ll cost you a massive 60% more each time you fill up in Hong Kong compared to Tokyo.
It’ll also cost you around 32% more to purchase an average car (such as a VW Golf) as well…
With such big variations in prices of goods, property, etc., it may come as somewhat of a surprise to know that the average net salary in both cities are fairly similar.
Those in Hong Kong earn, on average, around 6% more than their Tokyo counterparts – perhaps not such a big as gap as you might have envisaged.
The average salary in Tokyo is HK$ 20,781, as opposed to that in Hong Kong of HK$ 22,049.