Living in a Japanese Apartment

Understanding Your Gas Bill in Japan: With Kanji Cheat Sheet

In this post, we explain how to read your gas bill in Japan, with translations of the keywords. This post is part of the series on “how to live in a Japanese apartment“.

The explanation below uses a sample gas bill from Osaka Gas, but the terminology is generally applicable to any gas bill in Japan. Also, there are two types of gas systems used in Japan: “city (toshi) gas”, which is called methane gas in English, and LP (liquid petroleum) gas. The bill below is an example of a “city gas” bill.

Sample gas bill from Osaka Gas.

Box 1 (Dark Blue): Your Usage Number

ご使用番号 (goshiyō bangō): Your usage number. This is your customer number, which you’ll need to know in case you ever need to contact the gas company about your bill.

Box 2 (Blue Green): Usage Period

2017年1月分 (28 Nen 1 Gatsubun): January 2017

ご使用期間 (日数) (Goshiyō kikan nissū): Period of use (The period for which you are being billed). In the sample above, December 17th to January 19th. The number in parenthesis shows the number of days (34) in the billing period.

Box 3 (Orange): Billing Amount

予定請求金額(Yotei seikyū kingaku): Scheduled billing Amount. In this case, ¥5,040

Below the total amount is a breakdown of the charges.

ガス料金 (Gasu ryōkin): Amount due for gas

内ガス料金分消費税 (Uchi gasu ryōkin-bun shōhizei): Amount due for consumption tax (included in the ¥5,040 total due).

基本料金 (Kihon Ryoukin): Base rate. In this case, ¥1,337.40. This is the basic fee you will pay every month.

従量料金 (Jūryō ryōkin): Metered rate. This is the amount you have to pay based on your actual usage. It is calculated by multiplying the amount of gas used (shown in Box 5, 31-cubic meters) by the rate for that usage tier (shown in Box 6, ¥119.45 per cubic meter) to get the total amount due for metered usage = ¥3,702.95.

Box 4 (Light Green): Contract Type

ご契約 (Gokeiyaku): Your contract (type).

一般料金 (Ippan ryōkin): General charge. Most residential customers are billed based on this contract type.

Box 5 (Pink): Amount of Gas Used

ご使用量 (Goshiyōryou): Amount of gas used. The amount shown in this bill (31-cubic meters) is about average (or even a little below average!) for a winter gas bill for a single-person household.

今回メーター指示数 (Konkai mētā shiji-sū): This bill’s meter reading indicator number.

前回メーター指示数 (Zenkai mētā shiji-sū): Last bill’s meter reading indicator number.

If you’ve been in your apartment for at least a year, you will also see the next two lines on your gas bill, which shows the year-on-year difference in your usage.

前年同月ご使用量  (Zen-nen dōgetsu goshiyō-ryō): Amount of gas used in the same month last year.

前年同月比  (Zen-nen dōgetsu hi): Comparison of this month’s usage versus the same month last year. In this case, this person used 70.5% of the amount they used last year.

Box 6 (Magenta): Usage Rate

当月適用単位料金 (Tōgetsu tekiyō tan’i ryōkin): Applicable unit rate for the current month.

The unit rate increases as the amount of gas you use increase. In this case, this person is being charged at Unit Rate B or ¥119.45 per cubic meter.

Box 7 (Light Blue): Scheduled Debit Date

口座振込予定日 (Kōza furikomi yotei-bi): Scheduled date of debit (bank transfer)

If you have set up direct debit from your bank account to pay for your gas bill, this is the date (January 26th), your account will be debited. You also have to the option of paying by payment voucher at the convenience store or by credit card. You can choose the payment method when you set up your account. You can also change your payment method by contacting your gas company.

Box 8 (Purple): Receipt for Payment by Debit

ガス料金等振込済領収書 (Gasu ryōkin-tō furikomi sumi ryōshū-sho): Receipt of payment by debit (bank transfer) for gas bill.

Contacting Your Gas Company

The number to contact your gas company is also shown on the bill. This number will, of course, vary depending on where you live. Usually, there are also separate numbers for general customer service inquiries (like setting up gas service and billing questions) and for reporting a gas leak.

Some useful words to know related to customer service:

お問い合わせ (o-toiawase): Contact us

お客様センター(Okyakusama sentā): Customer center

You may also be interested in: How to restore gas service after a big earthquake in Japan (this link has the numbers for contacting Tokyo Gas and Osaka Gas to report a gas leak).

How to read your electricity bill in Japan (with kanji cheat sheet)