Initial costs

Initial costs for living in Japan will depend on where you live and how much furniture/appliances you need. Generally, renting an apartment and buying furniture and appliances may cost anywhere from JPY 200,000-400,000. Full-time NAIST master's and doctoral international students are given priority to enter the student dormitory. The rent for a single room is only JPY 10,000. However, you will need to buy some other things like bedding, kitchen utensils, appliances, etc. For further information, please refer to the International Student Handbook.

Living costs (per month)

While living in Japan can be quite expensive, living at NAIST and in Nara is relatively inexpensive. While expenses depend on the lifestyle you choose to live, here is a general idea of how much some things may cost during your stay.

  • Food: JPY 20,000-30,000 (cooking for oneself) (Eating out costs about JPY 1,200 for lunch and JPY 1,500-2,500 for dinner.) The cafeteria is on campus offering inexpensive dining options
  • Water and utilities: JPY 10,000 (may be more expensive seasonally)
  • Consumable goods: JPY 2,000-4,000
  • Rent (for a single apartment):
    Student dormitory: JPY 10,000
    UR public housing: JPY 40,000-60,000
    Private housing: JPY 30,000-60,000
  • Mobile phone service: JPY 2,000-8,000


Housing in Japan:
Unlike many other countries, shared housing is not common and many landlords will not allow or discourage sharing an apartment or multiple renters. Therefore, students not living in university housing often either live at home or in single-room apartments.
Generally, when renting a private apartment, you will pay shikikin, a security deposit (1-3 month's rent), reikin, key money (1-3 month's rent), and commission for the real estate agent (1 month's rent). Moreover, a contract renewal fee is often required. Reikin is not refunded, but shikikin will be returned to you if the room has been maintained in the same condition as when you started to live. You may be able to negotiate the shikikin and reikin amount, and some properties don't charge them, so please confirm the conditions with the real estate agent.

There are 3 types of housing available for students and scholars: on-campus housing, UR public housing, and private housing.
On-campus housing  is a reasonable and convenient option available for both students and scholars, but there are a limited number of rooms available. NAIST master's and doctoral students can stay in the student dormitories and short-term students can use the on-campus Guesthouse Sentan (furnished single and twin rooms available). International scholars may also use Guesthouse Sentan. (Full-time employees of NAIST are eligible to enter staff housing.) Staff housing is very reasonable, but sparsely furnished. (No heating/air conditioning, stove, refrigerator, washing machine/dryer, furniture, etc.) Please be prepared to purchase the necessary items for the option you choose.
For off-campus housing  you may choose UR public housing or private housing.
UR housing are public rental units provided by the Urban Renaissance Agency. For NAIST members, they don't require any commission, deposits or guarantor, so you save on initial costs. In addition, if there is no request to cancel the contract, the contract will automatically be renewed every year without fees. The disadvantage of the UR housing is the inconvenience of access and the unit age. Some are far from the station and others don't have elevators. For private housing, realtors are usually required, and refundable and non-refundable deposits are often necessary.
The rental system for private housing is traditionally based on long-term rental and initial costs can be quite high due to this. Please keep in mind that a guarantor of some sort is usually required. In addition to traditional private housing, there are also furnished apartments that may be rented by the week or month and 'share houses' where you can rent one room of a house.