With Hong Kong and Singapore routinely topping the charts as the most expensive places to live and play, it may come as some surprise that Japan offers the best pay packets for expats in Asia.

The average expatriate pay package provided by companies in Japan to mid-level employees is $386,451 (¥42.7 million) a year, eclipsing what's on offer anywhere else in the region, according to a report by consultancy ECA International. Japan also saw the biggest increase in expat package values last year, thanks to a stronger yen and steeper housing costs, said Lee Quane, a regional director at the firm.

ECA's annual MyExpatriate Market Pay Survey measured expat packages by cash salary along with other perks including accommodation allowances and international school subsidies. It also took the various countries' tax systems into account.