It’s Not Too Late To Get A Job In Japan

March 14th, 2013By Category: Work Tips

Ben and I have had an amazing adventure, and I hope some of you will be sharing your own soon. For those of you who are interested, now is the perfect time to find a job in Japan.

The next school year starts in April and many people, like Ben and I, will be returning home. Others will be moving on to new careers which means everyone is hiring!

coming to Japan

Here are a few tips on what to look for when searching for a job in Japan:

1. Visa sponsorship – it is nearly impossible to get a Japanese Visa without company sponsorship.

2. Full time – Japan is very expensive, and if you want to travel you’ll need to work full time. Many people who have lived in Japan for a while can make a lot more money signing private contracts. While this sounds appealing, Japanese proficiency is required, as well as a visa, and some hard searching.

3. Transportation – Make sure the company mentions transportation prices, it is not standard for them to pay them, but companies that don’t discuss costs might ask you to make long commutes on your own dime. Discuss the time and money you will be required dedicate to transportation.


Perks to not overlook

1. Housing – If a company has housing they can put you in, take it, these might be furnished, and will likely be very cheap. It is next to impossible for a foreigner to rent an apartment on their own.

2. Insurance- Insurance isn’t expensive in Japan, but it is fairly standard for companies to pay it for you.

3. Training – A good company will train you, a bad company won’t care.


Here are a few things not to worry about

1. Certifications – Many of the best companies want experience or certifications, but most companies just want you to be an English speaking college graduate.

2. Location – The more flexible you are the easier time you will have finding a great job.

3. Planning – Japanese school systems do things at the last minute, if a company says your hired, you’ll likely have to sit tight while the hash out the details (it is smart to research your company online to see if it gets any bad reviews).

Get started today by filling out your resume in the GaijinPot Job System.

Photos by k0a1a.netdanielfoster437 and Waponi

Author of this article

Katie McGregor

My name is Katie. I moved to Japan with my fiance, now husband, from the beautiful state of Colorado. We were lucky enough to find ourselves in the rural, friendly, and stunningly mountainous  prefecture of Yamanashi. I write about Japan's quirks, irks, and perks on my blog:

Related articles that may interest you


  • Eliza Körmendi says:

    I stopped searching for a job in Japan after I realised they wouldn’t give me a visa for any kind of job, only to some specific job. – at working visas ( I’m a hungarian so I wouldn’t get a working holiday visa ) like teacher, artists, entertainment ind. can be mentioned only at me, but what if I get another type of smaller job, or a job at game developers, how can you categorise it on the COE and visa list and resident status list? if there isn’t a working visa type for that, I wouldn’t get it

  • shopon says:

    iam mahabubur rahman shopon….i am not a rich man,i am a poor man..
    my mother is cancer patient i need money for mother for best treatment……any kind of job
    i will do,give me change only for 2 years……please help me kind sir…

    My Resume is as follows



    Date of Birth: 02nd October 1978

    Permanent address: C/O MD.IQBAL HUSSAIN
    House No.22/K BORABAG
    MIRPUR – 02,DHAKA – 1216

    Educational Qualification: Passed SSC,National Bangla Uchabidalay-1996

    Technical Qualification:Passed Technical Course in Air conditioning and Refrigeration
    Modern Technical College Mirpur Dhaka.
    Passed Basic & Advance Course at Zamil Training Centre DAMMAM Saudi Arabia.

    Work Experience: (a) Saudi Building Technic Maintenance Company Ltd.
    Riyadh Saudi Arabia,Served as HVAC Technician
    From 1997 To February 2000.
    (B)working with Zamil Air conditioners Service division
    As HVAC Technician June 2000 To july 2008.
    Assigned for fault finding and Maintenance on Central Air conditioners
    of Zamil and other branded Air conditioners serving for Petrochemical and
    Housing at Jubail industrial and other site.

    For further communications, kindly contact me at My Mobile-

    Yours truly

  • Evva Stokes says:

    I keep hearing that a good company will train you. How realistic is it to obtain work for that type of company?

  • Becca says:

    I’d have to agree with the sentiment of most of the comments here: this article generalises wildly and is largely inaccurate. It varies from one sentence talking about companies, the next to schools and lumping all foreigners into one big group.
    You don’t always need a company to sponsor your visa, you can find accommodation on your own, it’s not ridiculously expensive to live in Japan it is comparable to many places in the UK/America.
    My personal experience was that I was very inflexible with where I wanted to work. I’d done JET and wanted control over my life this time, especially as I was moving with my partner, and I got my first choice of company and a job in the location I wanted. So, don’t be frightened off by articles like this! Getting a job in Japan where you want and having control over where you live and what you do is totally doable.

  • Pretty Lies says:

    Wow this article is so wrong I don’t know where to start. I have not had any of the troubles you mention and neither have most people around me. Are you and I living in the same Japan? Way to go, Gaijinpot.

  • Not sure what “harsh much” means, but if you’ve looked at any of the “articles” Katie has written, you’ll see that in terms of content and style, they are pure dung.

  • GizmoDuck says:

    Yikes. Harsh much?

  • I was curious how an individual such as Katie, who appears to be largely ignorant of Japan beyond the most mundane and banal aspects of daily life, manages to get published in Gaijinpot. I took the opportunity to look at the numerous articles she has written, as well as her blog. Quite frankly, her lack of any significant insights into Japan may be somewhat shocking, but her utter lack of ability to write English prose without consistently following grammatical and punctuation rules while getting paid to teach English is simply amazing. I know that Gaijinpot may aspire to be more than classified ads, but using someone who writes as if they are a 5th grade student (and not a very good one, at that), certainly doesn’t advance their ambitions.

  • Another useless article replete with factual errors from a shake and bake Japan expert. One would have hoped that an editor would use some critical thinking before publishing this nonsense.

  • This article is not accurate.

    1. The visa requires a sponsor (company, spouse).But, when a sponsor is found, it is a very simple process to get a visa.

    2. Nearly all English teaching work is temporary contract not technically `full-time work.`

    3. Companies are not required to pay for all of your insurance. When they do, they pay half and the employee pays half. Health insurance is mandatory for all residents of Japan, but there is NO penalty for failure to have it. So, there are companies and foreigners,
    that, well, forgot it.

    4. Many companies do in fact pay for work related transportation expenses. This usually capped at a certain daily or monthly amount.

    5. Many companies and programs including JET offer very, very limited training. It doesn`t mean they are bad companies, but it also means many of these companies choose foreigners with experience and/or Japanese ability.

    6. It is not difficult to get an apartment in Japan. What is difficult for many foreigners is coming up with the key money (sometimes 6 times the monthly rent), although many companies do help with that.

    7. And, while it is true many companies require only a college degree along with native speaking ability, jobs that pay any kind of real money, are highly selective in their hiring
    processes especially in the bigger cities. In other words, in general, a smiling picture and a B.A. is likely going to get you a job in some small little hick town or slave labor English school, but put into a big ol` pile with all the other people with smiling pictures and a B.A. when applying for that `dream job,` in Kobe.

  • zoomingjapan says:

    It’s not true that a BA degree in any field is enough to obtain a work visa in Japan.

    First of all there are many different types of work visa in Japan and each has slightly different requirements.

    My visa application was rejected as first. I had a MA degree in education, but as I wasn’t an English native speaker, they wouldn’t give me a work visa for an English teaching job.

    Apparently holding a passport of a native speaking country + at least a BA/BS degree in any field qualifies you for a work visa.

    Right now I was talking about the “specialist in humanities” visa that most English teachers at conversation schools will need.

    ALTs will need a different type of work visa, the instructor visa. Requirements are slightly different for that one.

    And for many other types you apparently need a university degree in the field you want to work in Japan. Alternatively they seem to accept it as well if you have several years of work experience in that field.

    For obtaining a work visa in Japan there are many regulations and exceptions, so it’s difficult to make a general statement about it!

  • Bynum says:

    It is not “next to impossible” for a foreigner to rent an apartment in Japan without employer assistance. I rented both the place where I live now and the last place I lived by myself with relative ease. My current employer doesn’t even offer assistance, and made that clear in the interview. Friends of mine here have had similar experiences. You just need to find a helpful real estate office as there are some bad ones out there who won’t bother with foreigners. As for insurance, if you’re employed full time, your employer is required by law to enroll you in the “social insurance” scheme, which isn’t cheap, and pay half. If they aren’t, they are probably classifying you as “part time.” Private insurers also exist but you have to pay your medical expenses up front and make your claims later, which has mixed results.

    To get a work visa in Japan, a bachelor’s degree is required. It can be in any field. This isn’t a rule that employers have but rather a rule of the Japanese government.

  • I only have my A.A., but was told that I need a Bachelor’s degree to get any type of job in Nihon, let alone a English teaching position. Is this true? Thank you.

  • Ashley says:

    It’s not “nearly impossible” to get a visa without company sponsorship. You can line up several jobs/contracts, for example, and self-sponsor.

    I also wouldn’t generalize and say that Japan is “very expensive”. It’s true that plenty of cities are expensive, and certain aspects of Japan are expensive (I know this all too well), but I find that many of the costs are comparable to at least Seattle, where I lived prior to living in Japan for several years. I think it just depends on a lot of different factors.