Average Rent in Tokyo – The Least Expensive Stations on the Yamanote Line – 2019

In this installment of our series on “what is the average rent in Tokyo” we zoom in on the least expensive stations on the Yamanote line.

The Yamanote, which has 29 stations, is the iconic loop line that goes around central Tokyo. In general, average rent is lower outside the Yamanote line. In Japan, a “studio apartment” can be a 1R, 1K or 1DK. These are all basically “one room” apartments with a kitchenette that may or may be separated from the main living space by a wall.

Least expensive rent on the Yamanote line

On average, the least expensive apartment you’ll be able to rent on the Yamanote line will cost about ¥68,000 ($630) a month for a small studio apartment, but on Real Estate Japan, you will be able to find apartments and guest houses starting as low as ¥50,000 a month for a studio and ¥38,000 a month for shared guest house.

Top 5 Least Expensive Stations on the Yamanote

  1. Nishi-Nippori
  2. Tabata
  3. Shin Okubo
  4. Sugamo
  5. Nippori
The Yamanote – Tokyo’s iconnic loop line.



Yanaka Ginza, a traditional shopping street (shoutengai) that’s been around since the 1950’s. Get all your shopping done at over 50 small mom-and-pop stores along this road, located just south of Nishi Nippori Station. Photo: Yamauchi via Flickr

Ward: Arakawa

Why live here: Nishi-Nippori has the distinction of being the least expensive station on the Yamanote, but usually plays second fiddle to Nippori, its more well-known neighbor to the south. Located in Arakawa Ward in northeastern Tokyo, the neighborhood has a traditional shitamachi (“low town”) vibe and lower than average cost-of-living to match.

Locals know the area for Nippori Textile Town (a few minutes walk east of the station). Here you’ll find dozens of fabric shops crammed into a square mile, selling every kind of fabric and sewing material imaginable, from traditional to modern. On the west side of the station is a small park, and to the south of the station is Yanaka Ginza, a large shopping street.

Nishi-Nippori is low-key and residential, not flashy or modern, but makes for an excellent home base because of its local conveniences and access to major train lines. It is served by the JR Yamanote, Keihin-Tohoku as well as the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda subway line, as well as the Nippori-Toneri Liner. The Keisei Skyliner airport also line runs directly between Nippori Station (one stop from Nishi Nippori) and Narita Airport.

Average Rent by Apartment Layout

  • 1R: ¥67,900
  • 1K: ¥82,600
  • 1DK: ¥86,400
  • 1LDK: ¥142,700
  • 2LDK: ¥164,500
  • 3LDK: ¥240,000

See current listings for Nishi Nippori Apartments


Tabata Station, north exit. Get your latte and all your shopping done at the Atrevie shopping and dining complex inside the station! Image: Wikimedia Commons

Ward: Kita

Why live here: Like Nishi-Nippori to the south, Tabata is not very well-known by tourists, but locals know the area for its historical and cultural significance as being home to generations of writers and artists. One of the notable landmarks in the area is the Memorial Museum of Writers and Artists, which houses artifacts and manuscripts from major post-Meiji literary and artistic figures, including  Akutagawa Ryunosuke, whose short story “Rashomon” inspired the eponymous Kurosawa film. The museum is located a few minutes walk from the north exit of the station, which is also where you’ll likely do most of  your shopping and dining, if you live here.

The Atrevie, a 3-story shopping/dining complex inside the North Exit has a Seiji Ishii (high-end supermarket specializing in imported foods and wines), Starbucks, Tstutaya, convenience store, and numerous restaurants and other shops.

Tabata is only served by JR (Yamanote and Keihin-Tohoku), so is not as convenient as Nishi-Nippori for accessing other lines; but the Atrevie is a major draw. The residential feel is subdued and lower than average rents are also good reasons to consider this area.

Average Rent by Apartment Layout

  • 1R: ¥70,700
  • 1K: ¥82,200
  • 1DK: ¥85,800
  • 1LDK: ¥128,400
  • 2LDK: ¥158,000
  • 3LDK: ¥205.000

See current listings for Tabata Apartments

Shin Okubo

Shin Okubo is also affectionately known as Tokyo’s Korea Town due to its concentration of Korean shops and restaurants. Photo: Iwao via Flickr

Ward: Shinjuku

Why live here: Known for its high concentration of ethnic Korean residents and concomitant Korean shops and restaurants, Shin Okubo is a lively and conveniently located station wedged between Takadanobaba to the north and Shinjuku to the south. There are not a lot of reasons not to consider living here if what you’re looking for a bustling neighborhood with great restaurants, below-average rent, and easy access to all of Tokyo. The flip side is, of course, this is not a quiet or leafy nook of the city. We would also recommend Shin Okubo for students going to Waseda University (near Takadanobaba and Waseda stations) or studying at the many Japanese language schools in Shinjuku.

Shin Okubo is the only station in our Top 5 least expensive Yamanote line stations that is not located in the northern wards of Tokyo.

Average Rent by Apartment Layout

  • 1R: ¥78,700
  • 1K: ¥88,600
  • 1LDK: ¥165,400
  • 2LDK: ¥247,300
  • 3LDK: ¥238,900

See current listings for Shin Okubo Apartments


Shopping street in Sugamo. Photo: Dimitris Argyris via Flickr.

Ward: Toshima

Why live here: Sugamo has developed a reputation in the last few years as the “Shibuya of the Grey-Haired Set” and  “Grandma’s Harajuku,” which means that it is the place to shop for stockings, household goods, traditional treats like senbei (rice crackers) and mochi (glutinous sweet rice cakes), and lots of other things. For this, you will want to head to Jizo-Dori (shopping arcade). There is also a famous temple (Kogan-ji) in the neighborhood where you can pray for good health. But don’t let all this fool you. The station building is super busy and has branches of popular modern shops like Seijo Ishii (a high-end supermarket) and MUJI. Just outside the station is a huge branch of the discount supermarket/department store chain SEIYU.

We highly recommend this station for people commuting to central Tokyo on the Mita subway line. From Sugamo, it is a a 16-min direct ride to Otemachi (central business district). It is also just a 14-min direct ride to Shinjuku. Sugamo offers a perfect combination of value and convenience, but you won’t find high-end boutiques or avant garde restaurants here.

Average Rent by Apartment Layout

  • 1R: ¥78,700
  • 1K: ¥88,600
  • 1LDK: ¥165,400
  • 2LDK: ¥247,300
  • 3LDK: ¥238,900

See current listings for Sugamo Apartments


Nippori Station, north exit. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Ward: Arakawa

Why live here: Nippori is a bigger and more convenient version of Nishi-Nippori (#1 above). Nippori and Nishi-Nippori are known for the Nippori Textile District, a one-km long street lined with textile and fabric stores. This part of Tokyo is also famous for Yanaka Cemetery and Tennoji Temple, perfect for history and culture buffs as well as cherry blossom viewing in the spring. Nippori is also just two stops north of Ueno Station.

Nippori is considered a major station in the JR East network. It serves the JR Yamanote, Joban line (Rapid), and Keihin-Tohoku lines. It is also a stop on the Keisei Main line and Nippori-Toneri lines. The Keisei Skyliner airport line will take you directly from Nippori to Narita Airport in about 45-minutes.

Average Rent by Apartment Layout

  • 1R: ¥83,800
  • 1K: ¥87,800
  • 1LDK: ¥129,400
  • 2LDK: ¥159,500

See current listings for Nishi Nippori Apartments

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Lead photo: Yamauchi via Flickr

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