San Francisco

San Francisco

San Francisco, a city in the northern part of California is known as a popular tourist destination not only by foreigners but also by US citizens. The temperature difference is not big and the climate is comfortable throughout the year.

San Francisco attracts people from all over the world who want to learn English studying abroad in San Francisco may be more than learning English.


In San Francisco, there are various transportation options available; Muni operated by city traffic, and some trains that connect the suburbs of San Francisco. Ride cycling is also popular in San Francisco, and some people use it as a means of transportation.

You can use an IC card called “Clipper Card” for city traffic. Clipper Card is an IC card that can be used on public transportation in San Francisco. You can purchase online as well as at retail stores such as Walgreens and at ticket vending machines at subway stations. Just like Suica and Pasmo in Japan, you can make bills and check balances at stations.

You can also use a mobile app called “Muni Mobile” on the subways, buses and cable cars and purchase tickets at a discounted price from purchasing in cash. You can make payments on mobile using credit/debit cards, Paypal accounts, and Apple Pay.

① Subway (Muni Metro)

San Francisco has a subway and tram system called Muni Metro. It operates on 7 routes in total, with 9 subway stations, 24 aboveground stations and 87 stops. The single ticket is $2.75 for cash purchases and $2.5 for Clipper card or Muni Mobile.

② Bus (Muni Bus)

Buses, commonly known as “Munibus,” are convenient for traveling around the city. The price is the same as the Muni Metro, it costs $2.75 in cash and $2.55 for Clipper card or Muni Mobile. When boarding, you may buy the ticket at the payment machine when you board, scan your card over the reader, or show the ticket to the driver. Please note that no change will be given when paying in cash.

③ Cable car

unique to San Francisco that has many slopes in the city, Cable cars also are operated in the city. The price is $8, which is more expensive than other transportation methods, so local people do not use it very often. You can buy tickets with cash, Clipper Card and Muni Mobile. Again please note that no change will be given when paying in cash.


BART is a rapid train that runs along the bay area, connecting San Francisco to opposite banks of Auckland, Richmond and so on. It is mainly used when you travel long distances. When boarding, you can use a ticket from a ticket vending machine or a Clipper Card.

⑤ Caltrain

Caltrain is a train from San Francisco to the suburbs, mainly used for commuting to work or school. The charges differ in zones, and you can use Clipper Card or smartphone app called Caltrain Mobile as well as the ticket from ticket vending machines.

⑥ Taxi and dispatch service

There are taxis in San Francisco, but Uber and Lyft are much more popular as San Francisco is the birthplace of them. .

Medical system

There is no national health insurance system in the United States. Therefore, the medical expenses will be high when you get sick. Therefore, when you study in the United States, please make sure to get overseas traveler insurance beforehand.

Some San Francisco hospitals have Japanese-speaking staff who have Japanese-speaking staff and interpreters. There are also many international students and expatriates, and the Japanese community is well developed, so if you are injured or get sick, there would be no difficulties to find one.

Cost of living

It is said that San Francisco’s rent is the most expensive in the United States. In a student dormitory for 3 people, the market price is about 80,000-90,000 JPY a month, but it depends on the location and the conditions of the building.

Also, when eating out, you have to pay a tip about 10 to 20% of the price, so it is slightly more expensive than eating out in Japan. However, buying food at supermarket could be less expensive than in Japan by making a bulk purchase. If you refrain from eating out and live a life of self-catering, about 40,000 to 50,000 JPY a month will be a standard.

The average transportation cost is about $80-100 per month. 

Shopping information

Where do people living in San Francisco usually go shopping? I asked a man who lives there. Please refer to the following when studying abroad in San Francisco.

Food and daily necessities … Trader Joe’s, Safeway, Lucky’s, Total Wine

Clothing … Banana Republic, Taylor Stitch

Furniture…IKEA, Target

Even the nearest shop from his house is about 1.7km away. We often hear that studying in the United States is inconvenient if you don’t have a car, but since San Francisco has a variety of transportation facilities, shopping is relatively easy.


San Francisco is a very popular destination for study abroad. There are many language schools offering a variety of levels and purposes. The course fee differs in the type of course and the time. The lowest price is from 70,000 yen a month, and the highest price is between 120,000 and 150,000 yen.

In addition, San Francisco has both public and private universities, and as regular students there are many international students from abroad. However, tuition is expensive even at public universities, and it may take about 2 million yen per year.


① Golden Gate Bridge

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The Golden Gate Bridge, which is about 2,700 meters long, is one of the most famous sightseeing spot in San Francisco. There are several Vista points and View points in the surrounding area, and you can enjoy the view from a cruise ship. Of course, you can actually walk or cycle, and there are free walking tours twice a week.

② Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks is two hills in the center of San Francisco. You can overlook the city including the Golden Gate Bridge. At night, you can enjoy a beautiful night view.

 ③ Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is an area along the northern coast that is always crowded with people. You can enjoy seafood gourmet such as clam chowder and lobster sand, and shopping, as well as a group of sea lions on the pier and the stunning performances of street performers.