Japanese Pizza
Eating Pizza in Japan is one of my guilty pleasures. Sometimes you can only take so much fish and rice; you need something with real meat and grease. Days when I crave western food I pick up the phone and call the local pizza man. Of course after I finish gorging myself on pan fried goodness I feel guilty. Not because I’ve submitted to the great Western culture beast but because pizza is so expensive in Japan. It pains my cheap ass to hand over almost double what a pizza would cost back home.

In Japan the pizza companies seem to have gotten together and conspired to price fix the cost of pizza extraordinarily high. Looking at the costs there shouldn’t be much difference. Take a look at typical Hawaiian pizza ingredients:

Ingredients Cost in America $USD Cost in Japan $USD
Flour 1.33/kg 1.48/kg
Olive oil 11.99/L 11.15 / L
Salt .12/100g .37 / 100g
Sugar 1.46/kg 1.46/kg
Tomato sauce 2.94/L 5.06 / L
Mozzarella cheese 2.22/100g 1.11/ 100g
Pineapple .35/100g .33 / 100g
Ham 1.65/100g 1.65/100g
Onions 1.95/100g .37 / 100g

I got the American grocery quotes online and the Japanese prices from the supermarket but the prices are almost the same. The prices should be even cheaper for the pizza store as they would be buying from a wholesaler or using a franchise discount.

Labour costs might be a little more in Japan with minimum wage in Tokyo for 2009 standing at 791yen/hour or $7.40/hour ( 2009 average dollar yen rate was, 93.68 ). But a large city like New York also has a minimum wage of $7.25/hour. OF course in New York pizza places probably use illegal immigrants that are paid a lot less.

Rent on the actual pizza restaurant should be about the same for Tokyo and New York. Actually New York pizza places probably pay more. As for the delivery, both use motorcycles or other cheap methods of pizza to door service.

So looking at all the costs the prices should be the same but they’re not. A large Hawaiian pizza from a New York Dominos ( Yes I know New York has infinitely better Pizza than Dominos ) costs $17.41 to get to your door. Where as the same size pizza in Japan (14 inches equals 36cm) costs 3100 yen ($29.04)

Unless there is some hidden cost in Japan, there has to be some sort of price fixing between the big pizza chains.

For other Living in Japan posts try these:

Big In Japan Japanese Bicycles Health Care In Japan Making friends in Japan hostess in Japan
How to become big in Japan How to cycle in Japan Getting the around the Japanese health care system Making Friends in Japan How not to be a hostess