Singapore vs Japan How Do They Compare
We extensively test and research all services we review. Here's why you can trust us.

Singapore vs Japan: How Do They Compare?

There are some Japanese people living in Singapore, with a population significant enough to contribute to the country’s vibrant multicultural melting pot.

But if your only experience with the culture is via a Japanese buffet in Singapore, then this post is for you. Today, we’ll be focusing on the practical cost of living comparisons between Singapore and Japan.

Is Singapore cheaper than Japan?

Is Singapore cheaper than Japan

Japan is largely considered an expensive country to visit and live in. However, those living in Singapore pay over 71% more for the cost of living expenses compared to Japan. 

But because Japan has plenty of agricultural lands to use, it has fresh food supplies at more affordable rates. In stark contrast, Singapore imports more than 90% of its food needs, as it can only produce 10% of food locally.

So if you live in Japan, you can expect to pay significantly less for such things as restaurant meals and supermarket items like fruit, milk, and meat. 

Now let’s take a look at other comparisons between Singaporean and Japanese living expenses.

ItemSingapore CostJapan Cost
     1-bedroom city apartment$2,204.05 per month>$640.91 per month
     Midrange running shoesOver $100>$63.64
     Men's shoes$111.55>$91.30
Top tax rate22%56%

Singaporeans pay 2.3 times more for housing 

Singaporeans pay 2.3 times more for housing

Utilities for two people are over 15% cheaper in Singapore than in Japan. This includes electricity, Internet connection, water, and others.

But when it comes to apartment and home rentals, Singaporeans pay nearly 126% more in housing costs than their Japanese counterparts.

The limited land area of Singapore means housing for its people will always be one of the most expensive in the world. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment inside the city would cost $2,204.05 in Singapore.

In Japan, a similar apartment would only be $640.91 a month. That’s almost a 244% difference!

Clothes are nearly 40% cheaper in Japan

Clothes are nearly 40% cheaper in Japan

Tokyo is known as one of the fashion capitals of the world, so lots of people tend to think that Japanese clothes are expensive and unaffordable. Of course, this would be the case with designer and luxury fashion brands.

Surprisingly, Singaporeans spend nearly 40% more on their clothing and fashion accessories than the Japanese do! And this is just on ordinary clothes and footwear found in malls and shops, either.

To compare, a pair of midrange running shoes would cost around $63.64 in Japan but over a hundred dollars in Singapore. That’s nearly a 59% difference!

Even men’s boots and leather shoes are more affordable in Japan at $91.30 per pair. The same kind of footwear can cost you $111.55 in Singapore.

Singaporeans pay a 60.7% lower top tax rate compared to the Japanese

Singaporeans pay a 60.7% lower top tax rate compared to the Japanese

In 2016, Japan’s top tax rate amounted to 56%. In comparison, Singapore’s was just at 22%. 

So if you live in Singapore, expect to pay around 60% less in taxes compared to Japanese taxpayers. Even nonresidents consider Singapore to be a tax haven largely due to the tax advantages it offers.

Singaporeans also make more than twice as much money compared to their Japanese counterparts. Japan’s GDP per capita was at $42,900 in 2017, while Singapore’s was already at $94,100.