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How do I get a job in Japan?

If you are fortunate enough to be coming to Japan with a transfer within your current company, riding on a rather sweet Ex-Pat package, power to you. If not, chances are you’re coming armed with little more than what you already know of the place and an interest in finding out more. Two important questions you might like to ask yourself before moving to Japan:

How long do you plan on staying?

What do you want to achieve during your time here?

The answers to these questions should help you understand what kind of work it is that you want or need to do while you’re here. If you’re planning to come for a year or two, have a look around and experience the place for yourself, teaching your native language, especially English, is one logical and fairly easy way without understanding of the Japanese language of having an income and a flexible schedule, allowing time to do the things you want. Below are a few sites which may help you find a teaching position:

ELT News
(General English Language Teaching news with links to the larger companies with schools in Japan)

JET Program
(The, um, JET Program)

(Specialising in introducing students and teachers for private lessons)

Find a Teacher
(As above)

Ohayo Sensei
(ELT Newsletter with advice and links)

Gaijin Pot
(Teaching and other positions)

It is often possible to secure a teaching job before you come to Japan, provided you have a University Degree in order to obtain your Visa. The larger language schools hold interviews and seminars in cities around the world — follow the links to scheduled interview/seminar dates in a city near you. The larger schools are also in a position to offer employees the comfort of Visa sponsorship, a job, an apartment, a bank account and health insurance organised for you when you arrive. Be warned, though, the larger companies are older, more traditional and often have stifling systems in place, while the smaller companies may offer the employee more freedom, without the security. That being said, it really comes down to how well you get along with the people you work with on a daily basis, so even with the big companies, it is possible to find yourself in a smaller, more relaxed branch working with a great bunch of people. Another reason why teaching your native language in Japan is relatively easy work for foreigners to obtain a Visa for is that it is work which a Japanese National is most likely unable do. If you’re not taking a position away from a Japanese National, the Government are more likely to grant you a stamp.

If teaching or a similar temporary post is not your vocation of choice for the long term, once you’ve settled into your new lifestyle in Japan it’s a lot easier to have a look around for something more desirable. Time in a temporary position while you get your bearings will allow you to meet people, learn more about the culture and some of the language, which will prove most valuable if you choose to enter a Japanese company. With or without the language skills, you will need an understanding of Japanese people and their social/work ethics in order to live among and work well with them.

If you would prefer not to teach while in Japan, below are a few recruitment sites catering for a variety of industries and skillsets:

Japan Times Jobs

Japan Today Recruitment Directory

Daijob/Work In Japan

Career Cross

CDS Consulting

Japan Jobs Guide

Tokyo Connections


Asia Net

There are also a number of sites specialising in recruitment in particular industries, especially Financial, Executive, IT and Sales positions, where the demand for a move toward international business and global awareness calls for more foreigners wanted in Japanese companies with foreign languages and experience in their respective fields abroad. It may also be worthwhile writing directly to or applying online with companies which already interest you — it may not state so on the website, but they may have positions or whole departments specifically dedicated to the needs of the international market.

In my experience, making the decision is half the work. If you already know when, why and for how long you would like to be in Japan, it’s quite possible options will fall in your path.


- Tell a friend

17 Responses to “How do I get a job in Japan?”

  1. Tae Kim Says:

    Just remember, a lot of those teaching programs don’t allow you to choose your location. Tokyo is probably the biggest city in the world. But that’s because the rest of Japan is rural backwaters with nothing to do (except Osaka).

  2. Victor Says:

    A lot of the larger language programs will allow you to choose which areas you would prefer to be placed in and, although you may not necessarily be granted your first choice, chances are you’ll be in one of the main centres, being where the majority of branches are located. Regarding rural areas, I think it largely depends on what it is you want to do while you’re in Japan. Living in a smaller town may be a great opportunity to be immersed in local culture, learn the Japanese language and local traditions. Tokyo is another big city with it’s quirks. A number of foreigners get by for years in Tokyo or Osaka without ever learning Japanese beyond the basics. Personally, I think that’s sad, but, whatever floats your boat.

  3. Ignacio González Mora Says:

    I´m Ignacio, 24 years old. Well, I live in Chili in SouthAmerica. I want to get information to work like a manga-ka in Japan…but I have problems to get information, contacts about the editorials, manga conest ….
    My friends and me(four including me) …we are a job team:

    *Ignacio González (me) :story
    (crazy stories…only Japan is the exact market)
    *Cristian Valencia: other story…
    (good ideas….)
    *Pablo Sobarzo: art, draws …marvelous…
    *Catalina Rojas: translator from spanish to japanese….. amazing…

    We follow the format and ideas of manga….We like the manga and anime…because the manga have “something”….fantasy….stories….
    Well….I don´t speak english very good, but I try … :)
    Well…Have we a chance? (minimum posibility)
    …. There are a way to get the job?…. There are a possibility?
    A hope a question….Thanks

  4. jLo Says:

    Dude, if you think everything besides Tokyo and Osaka is “backwater,” you’re out of your gourd. Try living somewhere where the people are actually nice and trash isn’t left to rot out on the streets — you might learn something (and discover the nightlife while you’re at it).

  5. jLo Says:

    In retrospect, this comment may have sounded a bit too harsh. Sorry ’bout that. Myself, I’m a Kobe/Chugoku man at heart, and find that straying into Osaka and Tokyo waters is just loud an unpleasant. But that’s just me, and to each his own. Peace.

  6. Michael Says:

    Let’s face it, if your living in a small town, the chances of getting a job are hard enough, take it from me, I have been teaching English in Utsunomiya, Tochigi-ken for 6 years. Although I would love to get out of the English teaching game, with recent developments with the Nova scandal, I would prefer to ride this job out for a little longer. With over 6000 Nova staff now on the look out for work, try some of the bilingual job boards and recruiting companies that can help.

    Job Boards


    Good luck to you all
    M. Shepard

  7. KABAMBO Says:

    Iam looking information how to get jobs in japan,iam holder BA in social work,and iam working with PLAN INTERNATIONAL TANZANIA AS A CHILD RIGHT ADVOCACY

  8. van Says:

    Hello,I am an ENGLISH TEACHER living and working in china.Can someone please,look for a teaching job for me?I really love to work in Japan.I have a degree from England and i have a four years teaching experience in china.

  9. Bill Says:

    I hate living in America. I feel so ignorant to reality having only experienced this one particular nation.

    It saddens me that the MOFA website I viewed seems to imply that I would never be able to go there and get a job washing dishes. That is all I want, something simple and easy. The Japanese MOFA site implies that only technical experts or skilled labor/research/teaching type jobs qualify a foreigner for permanent stay.

    Is it possible for an American High School graduate, former U.S. Marine, to become a permanent resident of Japan, or even become a citizen? I am not in a hurry, so even a process that takes ten years would be nice as long as it didn’t mean leaving and returning over and over.

  10. Rainie Says:

    I would just like to inquire if the recruitment sites that you’ve given (like Japan Times Jobs)are also accepting applicant outside their country, which means no working visa yet. I really want to work and experience how’s it like to stay in Japan but I really have no idea. I would be glad to receive a reply at my email address,
    Thanks for your time

  11. Rainie Says:

    I would just like to inquire if the recruitment sites that you’ve given (like Japan Times Jobs)are also accepting applicant outside their country, which means no working visa yet. I really want to work and experience how’s it like to stay in Japan but I really have no idea. Any advice would be gladly appreciated. My email address is
    Thanks for your time

  12. holms Says:

    Hey man BIG THNX for the links, I tried to google a lot of pages about job in japan, and failed to find any IT job where japanese level would be showed as NONE. And you gaved a link where a found a bunch of jobs with no jp communication skills. Btw.. except osaka there lot of great cities in there where you can find a lot of activies.. it’s at least okinawa ant kyoto…

  13. Derek Kennedy Says:

    Somebody help me get to Japan, I so love the culture and very much so want to get ouy of America somehow. But have no way.

  14. Derek Kennedy Says:

    Get me out of America

  15. Derek Kennedy Says:

    Someone get me out of America, cant stand it here and want to go to Japan. Love the culture and people.

  16. apoll Says:

    I want to go in japan because its to hard to live here in my country,and i want to find a job in japan….im a nurse graduated last 2005..i dont have job right now..almost 4years i can’t find a job always trainee are available,,,i tried being a nurse trainee almost 1 year no salary no allowance..even a single centavo, i decided to resign because i dont have enough money to continue my nurse trainee in that hospital…please help me to go in japan just for work with compensation..thank you

  17. sajjad Says:

    I first thanks for this opportunity but the data links very old and painful.
    I need desparately a job in Japan or else related to book trade means Selling,Import <Export,or trade or publishing any having experience needs comments how to get? Thanks

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