This may not be a surprise to you but the cost of living in Osaka as a digital nomad is expensive. None the less, nomads still flock this city and here’s why.
So, you made it to Japan and thinking if you should stay here for long. First off, it is a good digital nomad base because of the modern infrastructure. Food is great and the rent is still affordable.
But overall, Japan is an expensive country. This is not really a digital nomad hub because of the high cost of living in Osaka but I’m going to share my experiences anyway, just in case you choose Osaka to be your digital nomad base.
- Osaka Travel Guide
- 15 top-rated things to do in Osaka Japan [travel + budget guide]
- 26 must-see attractions in Osaka, Japan
- 25 best restaurants in Osaka Japan
- The best time to visit Osaka Japan
- Japan Travel Guide
💰 Is it expensive to live in Osaka?
The cost of living in Osaka depends on one’s expectations, from the type and quantity of food to the size and place of your living space.
All these are taken into consideration because this will determine your perception of having a decent life.
Osaka is relatively cheaper but still expensive compared to other cities in Japan (especially Tokyo). And depending on where you come from, you might get a little overwhelmed by the cost of living in Osaka.
So, it’s always best to budget according to your income earned in the city rather than computing based on your currency back home.
Accommodation costs are likely to take up a lot of your income. You don’t have to worry much about transportation costs because public transport is efficient, meaning you don’t need a car with you.
Other necessities and needs like food, utilities, and entertainment expenses can easily be budgeted according to your living situation.
🏘️ Is rent expensive in Osaka?
The most expensive thing about Osaka is the rent and accommodations. Rent in the city can be somewhat high and will take most of your monthly expenditure.
The average rent for the city is $826, but this will depend on the size and location of the property. Factors that can affect your rent in Osaka are:
- Size and layout
- The year the building was built
- Distance from train stations and major areas
- Floor number and amenities
However, for Osaka, the amount they pay for their rent is not that high because their income is usually enough to pay for their living expenses. And compared to Tokyo, rent in Osaka is cheaper.
🆚 Is Osaka cheaper than Kyoto?
Kyoto is much cheaper than Osaka. Regarding the ranking of the most expensive cities, Osaka ranked 8th in Japan, while Kyoto is at 22nd place.
Prices in Kyoto are a little much cheaper compared to Osaka. Although there is not much difference in the prices of food and utilities, rent is lower in cost in Kyoto. This means you have more room for savings.
But while Kyoto is noticeably cheaper than Osaka, this is because Osaka is a much larger city with many things to do.
Kyoto is a small town and is pretty laid back, perfect for those who want to relax and stay at home most of the time.
💲 Cost of living in Osaka Japan
The average cost of living in Osaka as a digital nomad (for a single person) is approximately $1,845 USD or ¥240,631. As of January 2023, the exchange rate is $1 USD = 132 JPY.
With this amount at hand, you can already live comfortably in Osaka. As an expat, there are quite a few things you will need to spend on. This will include necessities like:
- Basic lunch meal: $8 USD
- Groceries (egg, milk, chicken, bread): $9 USD
- A bottle of beer: $2 USD
- Transportation (monthly tiket transport): $87 USD
- Personal Care (Shampoo, medicine, toilet paper, deo): $24 USD
- A cup of coffee in the expat area: $4 USD
- Prepaid Mobile Tariff: $1 USD
- Internet connection: $29 USD
Among these, of course you will also need to spend more on a few needs and wants like:
- A month of gym membership: $66 USD
- Clothing (jeans, shoes, summer dress): $167 USD
- Bottle of wine: $15 USD
- Package of Marlboro: $4 USD
- Cocktail drink from a bar: $6 USD
All these are based on the current market prices in Osaka. And since utilities and rent will take up most of your expenditure, here is a quick breakdown of how much budget you will be needing as an expat living alone in Osaka:
- Monthly rent for a furnished 480 sq ft studio in a normal area: $421 USD
- Utilities (heating, electricity, gas) for 1 person in a studio: $65 USD
- Hourly rate for cleaning help: $15 USD
🤝🏽 Osaka digital nomad scene/community
As of 2020, there are 2,885,9044 foreign residents living in Japan. And among them are 253,303 residents (8.8%) living in Osaka.
The foreign population of Osaka, compared to the total resident population, is approximately 3%. Out of the 3%, there are about 162 different nationalities representing the ex-pats in the city, and among the countries that account for 90% are:
- South Korea
- North Korea
- United States
Since Osaka is divided into 24 wards, there are areas that ex-pats usually settle in. That is because the nomad scene or community helps them adjust to the city when they are first-timers.
Ikuno Ward is home to more than a fifth of Osaka’s resident foreigners, and next to it is Hirano. The third ward with the most ex-pats is Nishinari, coming in fourth Chuo, and fifth Naniwa.
And as mentioned, there are various nomad scenes and communities in Osaka that foreigners actively participate in.
The Osaka digital nomad scene helps the expats exchange friendly information about living in Japan and becomes a channel for attending parties and volunteer activities whenever they.
Some of the expat groups you can join on Facebook, that can be of help are:
- Foreigners in Osaka and Kyoto
- Foreigner Support Services in Kanasai
- Foreigners living in Japan
- In Osaka
- For Foreigners Living in Japan
There are a lot of friendly faces in this group, and I have met a few friends among them too! They can give you a hand if you need help when in Osaka.
📡 Internet speed in Osaka Japan
Japan is known to have one of the fastest internet speeds in the world. And when in Osaka, the average speed is 77.7 MBPS. This is already twice faster than the average speed of most cities.
And no worries because, almost everywhere in Osaka, you can easily access the internet through wi-fi or data connection. So if you have to work digitally, the internet is less of your problem.
📍 Best Osaka neighborhoods to live in
After having been to Osaka a few times and meeting a lot of expats during my travels, I discovered that Kita Ward is one of the best neighborhoods to stay in as a digital nomad.
Only because the area is around Osaka and Umeda Stations and has been considered the heart of Osaka, in this area, you can find a lot of restaurants, shopping malls, hotels, and accommodations. The only con is prices can be a little higher here.
Minami Ward is another neighborhood that expats choose to live in. This is the second largest district in Osaka, primarily focused on shopping and nightlife.
It gets hectic in the area as it surrounds Namba and Shinsaibashi Stations.
Tennoji Station/Abeno Ward
It is also another area with a big train station with lots of trendy cafes that is perfect for digital nomads. Whenever I am in Osaka for a month (working digitally), I always rent a place here.
Kyobashi and Osaka Castle area
We all know that Osaka Castle is the number 1 tourist spot in Osaka. Although it’s busy almost every day, this area is a calm neighborhood, making it a great place to live in.
Many places here are good spots to relax after working all day.
Fukushima Ward is a modern and exciting area with international restaurants, cafes, and bars. Expats and foreigners who come to work in Osaka (either temporarily or permanently) love staying here.
Last but not least, Minato Ward is also famous among foreign residents. This is a large ward that spreads near Osaka Bay. Although the area is quite far from the city, there are plenty of transit lines, restaurants, and cafes.
☕ Osaka cafes with good wifi
As a digital nomad who travels from one place to another, I make sure to find the best spots (like cafes and restaurants) that have a good wi-fi connection.
Of course, that’s only one factor. I also check out if the place is working-friendly, meaning there are outlets to use and enough space to sit in.
Among the good cafes in Osaka I have tried myself (if not all) that are great for digital nomads (not arranged in order) are:
Deli Cafe Kitchen Osaka Mido
Deli Cafe is right in front of the Midosuji exit of JR Osaka Station. It is easy to find and access and opens early in the morning. You can order some coffee and pastries that you can enjoy while you work digitally.
I suggested this cafe as it has a lot of seats with electrical outlets available. Of course, they also have a great wi-fi connection that you can use for free.
Brooklyn Roasting Company Namba
Brooklyn Roasting Company is a spacious cafe in Namba, perfect for digital nomads. The restaurant is quiet and has plenty of power sockets for your gadgets.
Internet speed here usually runs between 10 Mbps to 18 Mbps. And you don’t have to worry about staying long because many guests visit there for a few hours.
Tully’s Coffee is all around Osaka. One of the most convenient ones is located in Osaka Station, the floor above the luxure dining. The cafe’s atmosphere is like a hideout, making it a great place to relax and work.
There are not many sockets everywhere, so make sure to get a seat at the counter because that’s where the electric outlet is.
If you are working in the middle of the day and feel like having lunch while you work digitally, Becamel Cafe is a great place to go.
This is located in Whity Umeda, and given its name Bechamel, their best-selling item is the Doria with bechamel sauce.
The cafe is an excellent place for digital nomads because they have available electric outlets and good wi-fi connection, free to use anytime.
Moto Coffee has five floors ready for occupancy. It’s pretty spacious for a cafe, making it a great work area. I loved the place because there is also a clothing store on the third and fourth floors.
Plus, their baked pastries and coffee were excellent and cheap for their price.
Takamura Coffee Roasters
When I first visited the Takamura Coffee Roasters, it was huge, and I loved the ambiance there. I could be productive in the cafe while I smelled the roasting of coffee.
This is a two-story cafe where you can also bring friends to chat with. They have a good wi-fi connection, free to use.
📍 1 Chome-22-31 Nipponbashi, Chuo Ward
Ibuki Coffee is a shop located in Nipponbashi. The cafe is famous among Millenials and gen z’s working digitally because of its aesthetic space and good coffee.
It also has a lot of healthy food options if you want something to eat while working. Wi-fi speed here can go as high as 35 Mbps.
Life’s Coffee Stand
Another great cafe in Osaka that digital nomads must visit is Life’s Coffee Stand. It’s a stylish cafe in the middle of the Yotsubashi area and is pretty spacious, with plenty of seats.
There are also counter-seats with free electrical outlets to charge your devices. I liked the modern and industrial interior of the cafe
🐱💻 Osaka co-working spaces
Aside from the coffee shops you can visit while working as a digital nomad in Osaka, there are also good co-working spaces in Osaka. My favourite among those I have visited are:
Located just 5 minutes from the Yotsubashi station, CUE workspace is one of my favorite co-working spaces in Osaka. It’s pretty spacious and has a pleasing ambiance, making it a great working space.
When visiting CUE Workspace, there are available coffee and sweets from Granknot Coffee, and a refill will only cost you $2 USD.
If you want to work in a private members-only workspace, it costs $4 USD per hour or $17 USD daily. Just make sure you can pay electronically because they do not accept cash.
Osakan Space is one of the most welcoming shared spaces for digital nomads in Osaka. It is just in the city center, minutes from the central Honmachi station.
This co-working space has been famous among international professionals as it can accommodate chit-chat, meetings, and peaceful working spaces.
To use the facility, you will need to pay at least $15 USD daily, $91 USD per week, or $113 USD per month. This already includes a high-speed internet connection and use of all amenities and utilities.
Juso Coworking is located in one of Osaka’s famous shopping and dining areas. This is a great co-working space option if you live in Japan with kids and your family.
It collaborated with a local childcare center where you can drop off your kids while you work in Juso.
There are also choices regarding areas, whether you sit in the central open area, concentration room, or the private booth.
Inseed is another famous co-working space in Osaka among ex-pats. It is close to the metro station where you can quickly move around from. The area is modern and slick, making it more attractive to foreigners.
What’s great about the place is it is fully equipped and has various spaces available for different purposes. You can even find a kitchen and a relaxation area inside.
Common Room Nakatsu
The Common Room Nakatsu in Kita is also one of my favorite co-working spaces. It is located in a modern building near a subway station, making it easier for me to travel.
What I like about the place is it’s 24/7! Not all co-working spaces are open throughout the day, so this is perfect for those who work at night.
I think this is also one of the most peaceful places to work in Osaka, where you get to experience traditional Japanese culture inside a modern building.
🏘️ Where to find Osaka apartments for rent
If you decide to live in Osaka as a digital nomad and don’t have any idea where to look for places to live, I have listed a few groups and links you can check out.
Depending on the locations, price, and size of your ideal living space, these sites and groups can surely give you enough choice. Take a look at them below.
- Osaka Housing, Rooms, Apartments, Sublets for Rent, Buy, Sell
- GaijinPot Apartments
- Oak House
- AB Housing Osaka
- DID-GLOBAL Apartment
Pros of living in Osaka as a digital nomad
Osaka is clean and Modern
Having been to many countries, I can vouch that Osaka is one of the cleanest countries I have been to. I am surprised by how disciplined the locals are in Osaka regarding their garbage.
The city is very well-kept, and things in the city run smoothly. There are only a few trash bins in the street, so people tend to carry their trash with them.
Surprisingly, there is little to no garbage in the street. Moreover, public toilets and restrooms are kept clean, and you’ll often see train staff cleaning the area.
As for modernity, Osaka has a lot of skyscrapers and tall buildings with the latest earthquake-proofing technology.
So if you’re a digital nomad living in the area, you do not have to worry that much about sudden earthquakes in your apartment or in a cafe you are working at.
Osaka has good public transport
Public transport in Osaka is just AMAZING! As digital nomads, we tend to travel from one place to another to get the best out of the city.
And as someone who has been going around different places for a long time, I find their train system efficient. Canceled or delayed train trips seldom happen in Japan. This makes it easier for me to track my daily work schedule.
Since I have to go from my place to a co-working space or coffee shop, I have to follow the time it takes to travel. On top of that, train stations are almost everywhere. You can go from the north to the south of Osaka in just a few minutes.
Just be aware of the train lines you have to take. I also suggest you rent a bike if you’re staying longer; this will help you save transportation costs.
Osaka is safe
Osaka is one of the safest places to be. Although crimes cannot be removed, only a few to no crimes happen in Osaka.
A lot of locals are amiable and helpful. I feel safe whenever I walk around the city, even as a foreigner. Moreover, they have clean air without pollution, making it a healthy city.
And, of course, their efficient healthcare system assures my safety whenever I’m in Osaka to work.
Osaka (and Japan!) has mega-fast Internet
As a digital nomad, having a fast internet connection is essential. Working remotely may seem convenient, but it’s hard to maintain because we have to move from one place to another if the connection is terrible.
Luckily, Osaka has a fast connection. Whether I connect to the wi-fi of cafes or co-working spaces or use my data connection, I hardly experience slow to no internet speed.
Osaka has unique customs and traditions
Japan is a beautiful country and prides itself on its rich history and culture. I keep coming back to Osaka because whenever I am there, every day feels like a new day. I get to meet a lot of different people and learn more about Japanese culture.
Moreover, they have a lot of traditional festivals yearly, which I enjoy seeing. These special events help me learn more about Japan and how they have become the country they are now.
Cons of living in Osaka as a digital nomad
Populated and crowded
Osaka is a crowded city. It is one of the most populated areas in Japan, so there’s no doubt that it can be a bit crowded, especially during peak season (since tourists visit the city).
Looking for apartments can get a bit difficult due to the high population. Moreover, overcrowding can be a hassle for digital nomads because cafes and even co-working spaces will get crowded with people. Internet connection in restaurants can get a bit slow too.
Although Osaka is a big modern city, only a few locals speak good English. You would have to use google translate most of the time when communicating with the locals. And because of the Language barrier, it might be challenging to make friends in the community.
Japan is a smoking country
Osaka is a busy city with many company employees and workers. Because of this, many of them smoke cigars and tobacco.
Expensive cost of living in Osaka
Osaka is an expensive city. You will need at least more than $1,000 USD a month to live in Osaka, from necessities to rent and utilities.
As a digital nomad, you will often be in coffee shops and co-working spaces, which will cost you bucks. Moreover, rent and accommodation in Osaka get as high as $800 USD, so that can be a problem.
Few digital nomads and expats in the area
As mentioned earlier, it might be challenging to make friends in Osaka. Since only a few locals can speak good English, and only a few digital nomads are staying in Osaka, you might find the city a little lonely as time passes.
I suggest you go to expat groups to make friends online and maybe meet them when you have time.
🇯🇵 Osaka Travel Resources
🚑 Do I need insurance to travel to Osaka Japan?
Yes, you do! This is the number one requirement when traveling to Japan. I use SafetyWing and I only pay $40 USD per month for my digital nomad travel insurance!
✈️ Where can I find cheap flights to Osaka Japan?
You can find cheap flights to Osaka, Japan by using WayAway. This is my current flight search favorite and I have proven that flights on this website are way cheaper!
🛏️ Where can I find cheap hotels in Osaka Japan?
Budget travelers, use Hostelworld when looking for accommodations in Japan. A bed in a hostel dorm starts at $25 USD per night. Booking.com is best for boutique hotels while you will find many luxury hotels on Expedia.