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How to Get a Job in Japan

Thinking about living and working in Japan? I’ve been living here four years so I decided to write this helpful guide on how to get a job in Japan.

Step One: Graduate from University

You will need to get a university degree in order to get a visa to work in Japan. You may be able to bypass this is you have a Japanese passport or are eligible for permanent residency by having a Japanese parent, grandparent, or are married to a Japanese person, but most companies will want you to have a degree in order to work for them. Luckily your major doesn’t matter too much, and most companies will accept any degree.

Another plus is Japanese language ability and teaching experience. This is something that you probably want to work on while studying at university. You don’t need to speak fluent Japanese, but some self study is usually enough to get you ahead of other applicants. You may also want to consider volunteer teaching work, or tutoring international students.

Step Two: Find a job.

I don’t recommend going to Japan and then looking for a job once you get there. Most tourist visas only last three months, and it can be difficult securing permanent accommodation without a job.  The job hunting process can also take a while and the main hiring seasons in April (with few jobs scattered thought the year). If you do decide to go without a job it’s best to do so in February, March, or April at the latest, but it’s best to find a job from overseas and then move once you’ve secured permanent employment.

A popular program for working in Japan is the JET program it’s the best deal for working in Japan but unfortunately the competition is fierce and they may stick you in the middle of nowhere. You can find out more information at their website here. http://j.gs/5N8P

Job Hunting Websites


I found all my jobs on job hunting websites like Gaijinpot, Jobs inJapan, and Ohayo Sensei. Ohayo Sensei releases their job ads twice a month so make sure to check the release dates.

April is the big hiring season in Japan, so it’s best to start you job search in January, and continue looking for work through February, March, and April. May might also have some work, but after that English teaching jobs become fewer and fewer. Many companies also hire for August and September, but April is the big hiring season in Japan and has the highest chance of you finding a good job.

If you’re really serious you would check these sites every day (or subscribe to their job alerts) and apply to eligible jobs as soon as they are posted. Gaijinpot also has this great feature where you can search for job that will allow applicants from overseas. Here’s an example here.

Many overseas job interviews are usually held over Skype, so make sure to get a reliable internet connection, or at least somewhere where you can have an interview.

Many large English chain schools also hold requiting sessions overseas, so check your local job advertisements to see if there are any near you.

English chain schools

Most people usually end up working in English language chain schools, or “Eikaiwa” as they are called in Japan. You are more likely to work in a big city and have more freedom to choose your own housing, but the salary may be lower and you might have to pay for your own flights to and from Japan. Some popular companies are ECC, Nova, Aeon, and Gaba. I personally recommend ECC and you can find out more about them in my article here.

Assistant Language Teacher a.k.a ALT

Another popular job is as an assistant language teacher. There are many companies out there, but based off stories I’ve heard, Heart and Borderlink can be a bit unreliable so it’s best to go with a company like Interac or Altia. Interac has the advantage of having jobs all over Japan and you can read more about them here, but Altia has a better contract and salary despite most of the jobs being only in central Japan.

Small schools and companies

There are of course many school schools and English teaching companies, some of which pay better than an ALT job or Eikawa. You can find most of their job openings on the job searching sites that I listed above. Some are great and will pay for flights, but others can be unreliable, don’t take good care of their employees, or may close down during your contract. Like all jobs it’s best to research the company as much as you can before signing a contract and flying over to Japan. If you find dozens of angry blogs about a company that’s usually not a good sign, and make sure to ask plenty of questions during the interview. Here are a few warning signs or a not so great company.

 Not good signs
  • A salary less than 230,000 for a twelve month contract.
  • They won’t pay for your transportation to work.
  • It's a small company but they advertise for staff a lot, maybe a lot of people quit.
  • Less than two weeks paid holiday a year.
  • There’s company housing, but they won’t show you any pictures.
  • You need to pay them money if you don’t complete your contract, it’s like they’re afraid of you leaving.
Great signs
  • A salary more than 250,000 a month
  • Transportation to work reimbursed
  • More than four weeks holiday
  • Paid accommodating during training
  • A bonus for finishing your one year contract.

Know any other great ways to get jobs in Japan? Feel free to comment below.


Other great job hunting materials

Interview with a English teacher working in Japan

Working in Japan with ECC

Working in Japanese public schools with Interac

Find jobs in Japan on Gaijinpot

Check out this great cheap smartphone deal for living in Japan



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