Tokyo has long been seen as one of the most expensive cities in the world. There was a time, in the 1980s, when the land value of the capital’s Chiyoda region exceeded that of all of Canada and the grounds of the Imperial Palace alone were estimated to be worth more than the entire real estate value of California. Those days, however, are long gone. Today, Tokyo is seen as relatively affordable compared to many major cities around the world and Mercer’s latest cost of living ranking for international workers confirms that.  

Cost of Living in Tokyo Lower Than San Juan  

According to the data released on Monday, Tokyo is currently the 49th most expensive city in the world, just behind San Juan in Puerto Rico, Luxembourg city, Philadelphia and Libreville in Gabon. Japan’s capital fell 30 places from last year. That shouldn’t really come as a surprise considering the precipitous fall of the yen. For a third consecutive year, Hong Kong claimed the title as the world’s costliest city for expats. Making up the rest of the top five were the same places as last year, with Singapore finishing ahead of the Swiss cities of Zurich, Geneva and Basel.  

Japan’s second most expensive city, Osaka, placed 146th on the list, down 53 places from last year. Yokohama fell 39 places to 154th, while Nagoya dropped outside the top 160. In recent months foreign travelers have been taking advantage of the weakness of the Japanese yen, visiting the country in record numbers. In March, the number of tourists entering Japan exceeded 3 million for the first time ever. Similar numbers arrived in April and May. Some think these visitors should pay more for local services. Among them is Hideyasu Kiyomoto, the mayor of Himeji. In June, he proposed quadrupling entry fees exclusively for foreign tourists visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle.

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