I actually happened to browse a pretty well-known blog page among JET applicants which seems to be down now (My Jet Experience) and thought this to be useful information to provide.
I live in Nakamura-ku, less than 15 minutes walk from JR Nagoya Station, considered to be the more expensive areas around Nagoya but I was fortunate to find a 1K (1 bedroom + 1 kitchen) unit with a room the size of 10 tatami mats and unit bath at only ￥52,000 a month. It came with furnitures. This unit though, requires me to pay around ￥4,000 every month for water and hot water bills minimum. So, if I exceed that amount, I’d have to pay more but I don’t usually exceed unless I take baths, which is like filling up the entire tub and soaking in there after shower. Electric bills usually do not exceed ￥2,500 a month because I’m not home most of the day on weekdays. And I do not have to pay for gas because I have an electric stove.
I do not have to worry about lunch on work days because the school provides 給食, which means “provided lunch”. Of course it’s not free but since the school doesn’t have canteens, that’s about the only other way I can get lunch. It costs only ￥250 per meal so at the end of each month, I’d pay the administrator in charge. I don’t eat all that much for breakfast, just bread and milk and at around ￥400, the bread and milk can last me around 3 mornings. I try to cook for dinner as much as I can because dining out isn’t cheap although at Sukiya, you can get a regular beef bowl at only ￥280.
Most accomodations in Japan are fibre-optic ready so you can get like 100Mbps speed at less than ￥4,000 a month. But I was satisfied with 6Mbps back home, so I only applied for a 12Mbps internet service here which is less than ￥2,000 a month. Depending on where you stay, the internet provider might only be able to setup the network at your place on weekdays so you’ll have to wait for school vacations for your internet to be up, which does not include public holidays. The fastest you can get your internet from application to setup is at least 1 month.
I have been using the pre-paid card since I came and I guess I haven’t used it all that much for it to be expensive. I’m using Softbank and pay around ￥315 per month for unlimited email and messaging. Outbound calls are really expensive but all incoming calls are free. However, if you sign the monthly plan instead of the pre-paid card, calling to other Softbank users is free everyday from 1am to 9pm. You are only able to send SMSes to people who use the same provider as you do, so, it’s a good idea to ask for phone email addresses if you meet someone new. At least once every 2 months, you have to top up your pre-paid card with at least ￥3,000 regardless of how much you have left in the card.
A friend said that transportation in Nagoya is more expensive than in Tokyo. I take the train to the city where the school is and cycle 25 minutes from the station to the school. That way, I spend around ￥12,000 a month on transport. If I do not cycle, I would be spending ￥24,000 a month.
What else you may need
I am considering getting a heater because of the cold weather. It probably costs around ￥10,000. Sure, I do have an air-conditioner with heating function but it takes too long for it to heat up, it doesn’t heat up enough and it consumes way too much electricity. And an electric fan might be useful during summer too.
If you’re a regular shopper, you’ll probably spend around ￥100,000 a month. If not, you might be able to get by with ￥70,000 a month, which does not include rent, of course. It might be possible to get by with ￥50,000 a month if you really scrimp and save but why torture yourself when you finally get here after so much hard work?
I’ll update this again if something comes up.