The decision to move abroad isn’t an easy one! There are a lot of unknowns, and a lot of questions. The good news is that unlike other English teaching programs where you’re often the only Westerner in an otherwise Japanese school and left to fend for yourself, MeySen Academy fosters a dynamic community of over 60 American-English teachers. We also have an experienced Foreign Staff Support Team to help you with everyday issues. We’ve got you covered when it comes to making an appointment with the dentist, to deciphering the electricity bill left in your mailbox.

The following information is to help applicants get a better idea of what to expect in terms of monthly expenses here in Japan. Working with Japanese yen (¥) will be a new concept for you, and we are here to walk you through it! Also, remember that the conversion rates between Japanese yen and American dollars is constantly in flux.

When the dollar and yen are equally as strong, the conversion would look like this:

¥100 = $1.00
¥500 = $5.00
¥5,000 = $50.00
¥50,000 = $500.00
¥500,000 = $50,000.00
¥5,000,000 = $500,000.00, etc.

Of course, this is just a general rule of thumb; generally, the US dollar is much stronger than the yen.

Average Monthly Expenditures
¥220,000 – ¥270,000 Salary Range: First Year
  ¥50,000 Rent Subsidy
  ¥8,000 - ¥12,000 Utilities (Gas, Water, Electricity)
  ¥5,000 - ¥6,000 Internet and Land-line Phone
  ¥8,000 - ¥10,000 Japanese Cell Phone
  ¥1,250 (1st year) Medical Premium – Employee Contribution
  Varies (based on exemption status) Japanese Income and City Taxes
¥150,000 – ¥200,000 Take-Home Pay Range

A. Salary range for First-Year MeySen English Teachers

¥220,000 – ¥270,000 / per month | ¥2,640,000 – ¥3,240,000 per year

One of the most important elements in moving abroad is budgeting appropriately. Salaries for teachers vary quite a bit between the United States and Japan; the starting salary for teachers in all MeySen programs is competitive within the Japanese educational system. In addition to base salary, MeySen Academy offers furnished housing, paid training, annual completion and resigning bonuses, annual raises in salary, and a complimentary round-trip ticket with each contract year.

Sendai is the Japanese equivalent of a medium-sized city from the American mid-West – not too big, not too small; a charming blend of vibrant city life, culture, suburbs, history and nature. We’re big enough to have all the amenities of a big city, and small enough that Sendai retains a “small town” appeal, both in terms of the people here, and the low cost of living! Your money in Sendai goes much further than it would in a bigger, more expensive city like Tokyo.

MeySen Academy is also happy to wire a percentage of your monthly payroll home to your US bank account; however, we ask that you leave 100,000 yen in your Japanese bank account each month to cover your utility, medical and other costs of living in Japan.

B. Your apartment is waiting…!

¥50,000 / mo.

MeySen Academy provides a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment that is move-in ready. From pots and pans, bedding and towels to milk and eggs in the fridge, we work hard to make your first few days in Japan as easy and comfortable as possible. We are excited for you to make your home with us in Japan, and knowing you are able to live in a cozy apartment you can call home, is important to us. Your rent comes straight out of your paycheck, so you won’t have to worry about paying the landlord, or dealing with the apartment companies.

It’s up to the teacher to determine how much they want to add to their living space. The apartments are set up from the beginning for the teacher to live comfortably with little personal or financial investment. Some keep it basic and invest little, while others spend more time and money to make their apartment home.

C. Utilities

¥8,000 - ¥12,000 / mo. (Average for a single person in a one-bedroom apartment)

Electricity: ¥3,000 - ¥4,000 (estimated), but could double in the winter while using heaters.
Water: ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 (estimated)
Gas: ¥2,000 to ¥3,000 (estimated)

D. High Speed Internet and Home Phone

¥5,000 - ¥6,000 / mo.

Your MeySen apartment is already equipped with high-speed internet (both LAN and WAN), as well as a land-line phone capable of making international calls.

E. Japanese Cell Phone

¥8,000 - ¥10,000 / mo.

Most teachers opt to sign-up for a Japanese cell phone. It’s cheaper than operating your US cell phone internationally. On average, an iPhone6 with a national (Japanese) calling and texting plan with a 2GB data plan will cost around ¥7,500 a month.

F. Medical Care Coverage and Premiums

¥1,250 / mo. (1st year) – ¥10,000+ /mo. (2nd year +)

You’ll have a medical premium to be paid every month based on your salary. MeySen will pay half of this premium. In the event of hospitalization, surgery, childbirth, or other significant medical procedures, MeySen Academy will cover 70% of the cost, and the employee will be responsible for the remaining 30%.

Most of our teachers would agree that the overall cost of medical care is far less than in the United States (even with insurance)! Finding specialized care may be more challenging; overall, the Japanese National Healthcare System is fast, easy and affordable.

G. Japanese Income and City Tax

You will be exempt from Japanese Income and City taxes for your first two years if you complete the necessary IRS paper work. This can be done before or after you arrive in Japan.
Whether you start paying Japanese taxes in your first or third year, Japanese Income and City Tax will end up being about 10% of your annual salary, and you’ll see taxes taken out of your paycheck monthly based on your level of income.

If there is a delay in getting yourself exempt from tax, or you just decide to forego the Tax Exemption Benefit, as a first year teacher, you should expect to see ¥5,000 – ¥7,500 of income tax taken out of your paycheck each month.

H. Groceries, Necessities, etc.

Like in the United States, the price of your groceries and household purchases varies widely on where you are shopping. There are budget-friendly grocery and home stores near both MeySen campuses! Generally, many find food prices cheaper than in the US; however, portions and packages are smaller. In addition, Japan as a country is very much into the seasonal aspect of available foods. This means that the fruits you find in the grocery store in December will be different from fruits you’ll find in the same store in April, or July.

There are several international import stores in Sendai which stock some classic American snacks, sodas and other food items that are unavailable in regular stores. They are a little taste of home, but be prepared for an expensive price tag!

I. Any more questions?

Please contact any MeySen recruiter if you have any questions not covered in this website page; we are happy to share our life-tips and experiences in Japan!

>> Please visit https://www.meysen.ac.jp/en/available_positions.htm for a complete listing of all positions currently available at MeySen Academy! <<