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Jobs in Japan as a Foreigner

Find Work Using Top Website Resources

Woman taking a subway to a job in Tokyo, Japan.

Japan has it all. The country claims one of the largest cities in the world, automated restaurants alongside small rustic villages, and jaw-dropping vistas. It’s clean. It’s safe. It is very rich in culture and art. These are some of the reasons why so many wish to move to Japan. The cost of living in Japan is high, though, so unless you come with trust fund in hand, you’re going to need a source of income. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, job searching in Japan isn’t as daunting a task as you might think…if you know where to look. These websites will help you in your journey to find jobs in the "Land of the Rising Sun."

  1. Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program
    Let's face it, the most common jobs in Japan available to foreigners come in the form of teaching English in a country hungry to learn the language for commercial and educational reasons.

    If you have decided to become an English teacher in Japan. What’s next? Where do you live? How do you get there? What documents do you need to enter the country? If organizing your own work visa, travel expenses, and placement seems a bit overwhelming, leave it to the pros. The Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program has been sending doe-eyed foreigners to Japanese public schools for over 30 years now. The interview process is extensive, and competition is stiff, but this program is the best way to go about teaching English in Japan. Applications are available online in late September.

    Geos, ECC, AEON, Westgate and other large organizations also offer English teaching jobs in Japan.

  2. Gaijin Pot
    Most gaijin (or foreigners) living in Japan have logged onto Gaijin Pot at one time or another. This website is a cornucopia of useful information ranging from banking and taxes to raising a family. Check out the Featured Jobs in Japan option to look through employment listings. Most companies listed require that you live in Japan before applying, but if you are searching for a job in Japan from overseas, this is the place to go.

  3. Yolo Japan
    A new and unique Japanese job search website that is geared towards foreigners living or traveling long-term in Japan, usually with some knowledge of Japanese. An unusual variety of jobs are advertised, ranging from participating in surveys, checking website usability, being paid to wear a kimono, visiting restaurants as a customer, testing smart phones, and many other types of part-time work. The emphasis is on short-term work, often service-related, though full-time jobs are available. The jobs offered can be a great way to extend your time in Japan while interacting with locals in their own language. Yolo even offers seminars for employment in Japan and is very student-friendly.

  4. Jobs in Japan
    The self-proclaimed “mother lode of Japan job info.” While some of the previously mentioned sites have far more extensive listings, this one should not be overlooked. In addition to the usual suspects of English teaching and IT jobs, this site also provides some other options. Check the “Tourism, Travel, and Hospitality,” the "Modeling," or the "Arts and Entertainment" sections if you’ve always dreamed of getting your foreign face out in the media or working in tourism. There are also a number of listings calling for hostesses. Hang out at a bar till the wee hours of the morning serving drunk businessmen overpriced cocktails, lighting cigarettes, and just being a flirty coquette.

    Sure, a huge number of jobs in Japan are teaching jobs. There’s got to be more out there, though, right? Right! lists thousands of jobs ranging from accounting to investment banking. The site is heavy on information technology and finance jobs in particular. You can search by job, by employer, and even by recruiter. Please note that most of the jobs on this site require a high level of Japanese language ability. There is a search function, however, that allows you to narrow your search according to language ability required.

  6. Metropolis; Kansai Scene (Job Finder)
    These websites are the online presence of two major English-language magazines in Japan: Metropolis is based in Tokyo; the Kansai Scene covers the Osaka/Kobe/Kyoto area. The website for each magazine offers an employment section where you can scan for jobs in that part of the country. These are great resources when job-hunting.

  7. Tokyo Employment Service Center for Foreigners
    The website for contains a wealth of job-related information. There you will find info on who is allowed to work in Japan, labor laws, insurance, and where to take free Japanese classes. The center has locations in Tokyo and Osaka. If you are living in Japan while job hunting, consider popping in for a consultation or to browse through their help-wanted ads.

  8. CareerCross
    In Japan, IT and telecommunications jobs are filled by foreigners. On this site, which has many bi-lingual positions available, it is possible to find positions that match your talents. You can negotiate with the company a work sponsorship since there is such great demand for technical skills.

  9. American Embassy in Tokyo
    Before you accept the job you found online and hop on a plane, you might want to make sure your government will allow it. To find your embassy’s website in the "Land of the Rising Sun," try this Google search: <Your Country> Embassy Japan. On your embassy’s site you will find visa and employment information, as well as some useful cultural tips. You might even find a job opening at the embassy itself.

Whether you aspire to be an English teacher, an investment banker, or are just seeking a short-term gig, Japan is sure to offer jobs that suit you. The resources listed above will get you off and running in the right direction. So, bone up on your Japanese, and, as with any job, be sure to research the position and company thoroughly before moving halfway around the world. Good luck and gambatte!

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