🔖 12 min read

As an international student in Japan, the prospect of part-time work can be an enticing way to enhance your study experience while managing living costs. Interestingly, a recent study revealed that a significant 67% of self-funded international students are already tapping into the part-time jobs market in Japan. The spectrum of jobs in Japan is broad, with opportunities ranging from traditional roles to remote employment options for student, catering to diverse skill sets.

This article aims to guide you through the labyrinth of part-time work in Japan for foreigners. From understanding the nuances of the Japanese work culture to navigating the process of obtaining a work permit in Japan, we’ve got you covered. So, whether you’re a student looking to network in Japan or seeking a part-time gig, read on to discover how you can make the most of your time in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Cultural Insights: Understanding the Japanese Work Culture

When considering work in Japan, it’s essential to understand the unique aspects of Japanese work culture. Japan is known for its strong work ethic, punctuality, and emphasis on teamwork. Respect for hierarchy and seniority is deeply ingrained, and harmony in the workplace is highly valued.

Networking in Japan often involves after-work socializing, known as ‘nomikai’. These informal gatherings can be a great opportunity to build relationships with colleagues and superiors. Remember, building a strong network can open doors to various jobs in Japan.

For foreigners, navigating these cultural nuances can be challenging but rewarding. It’s important to observe and learn from others in the workplace. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek advice from colleagues or superiors.

Furthermore, working in Japan for foreigners is not just about earning a paycheck. It’s an opportunity to experience a different culture, develop new skills, and broaden your global perspective. So, whether you’re teaching English or working in a ‘konbini’, each job offers a unique insight into Japanese life and work culture. Embrace the experience, and you’ll find that working part-time in Japan can be an enriching part of your student journey.

Considerations Before Taking on Part-Time Work as a foreign student

Before taking on any part-time work as a student, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will the work interfere with your studies?
  • Will stay up late – working shifts, long hours or after hours – leave you tired or drained the next day?
  • Is the payment you will receive for your work fair? (Some companies have been known to exploit international students).
  • Is the setting where you’ll be working a safe environment for students?

Tip: Make sure to have enough independent financial resources so you will be able to rely on something other than money from part-time employment. Constantly worrying about money will be stressful and negatively impact your studies.

Language Requirements: Mastering Japanese for Job Success in Japan

When it comes to working in Japan, language proficiency can often be a key determinant of success. The level of Japanese language proficiency required can vary significantly depending on the type of job. For instance, jobs in sectors such as retail or hospitality, like Konbini jobs, often require a good command of Japanese to communicate effectively with customers and supervisors. On the other hand, jobs like English teaching or game localization might require less Japanese language proficiency, as they primarily involve the use of English.

However, even if your job doesn’t require fluent Japanese, having a basic understanding of the language can be beneficial. It can help you navigate daily life more easily, understand the nuances of the Japanese work culture, and open up networking opportunities in Japan.

There are numerous resources available to improve your Japanese language skills. These include language schools, online courses, language exchange programs, and even apps designed to help you learn Japanese. Some universities also offer Japanese language courses specifically designed for international students.

Remember, language is not just a tool for communication but also a bridge to understanding a country’s culture and people. So, whether you’re looking for jobs in Japan or already working there, investing time in learning Japanese can certainly pay off.

Check out Nihon Arubaito: A Resource for Job Opportunities

NihonArubaito, is your dedicated resource for part-time job opportunities in Japan and is tailored specifically for international students.

This platform connects you effortlessly with a wide range of suitable job listings, from Izakaya’s to convenience stores, ensuring a perfect match for your schedule and interests.

Start exploring today and take the first step towards a rewarding part-time work experience in Japan!

Legal Aspects: Navigating the Legal Landscape of Work in Japan

Understanding the legal aspects of working in Japan is crucial for international students. While the need for a work permit is well-known, there are other legal considerations to keep in mind. For instance, international students are allowed to work up to 28 hours per week, and exceeding this limit could lead to serious consequences, including deportation.

In terms of taxes, international students working in Japan are required to pay income tax if their annual income exceeds a certain amount. It’s important to consult with a tax professional or use online resources to understand your tax obligations.

Contract laws in Japan also protect the rights of workers, including international students. These laws cover aspects such as fair remuneration, safe working conditions, and protection against exploitation. It’s advisable to thoroughly read and understand your employment contract before starting work.

Furthermore, certain jobs are prohibited for students in Japan, particularly those associated with adult entertainment. Violating these restrictions can lead to severe penalties.

Tip: Working a part-time job without authorization, performing illegal employment, or exceeding the hours allowed by law could get you deported – or worse.

Guide to Applying for a Student Work Permit in Japan

A student visa does not permit employment in Japan. You will need to get a work permit. You can apply for a work permit before going to Japan. If you are already in the country, you can apply by completing an application form and visiting the immigration office.

Tip: It is advisable to complete the paperwork before going to Japan so that you can begin your job immediately. Applying for a work visa after arriving in the country can take up to a month.

Job Application Tips: Mastering the Art of Job Applications in Japan

When it comes to securing work in Japan, understanding how to navigate the job application process is crucial. One of the first steps is preparing a Japanese-style resume. This document typically includes personal details, educational background, and work experience. However, unlike Western resumes, it often requires a photo and personal information such as marital status and nationality.

Next, succeeding in a job interview in Japan often involves understanding the nuances of Japanese work culture. Politeness and punctuality are highly valued, so ensure you arrive early and use respectful language. Additionally, it’s important to dress appropriately, typically in business attire, to make a good impression.

Networking in Japan can also be beneficial in your job search. Building relationships with professionals in your field can open up opportunities and provide valuable insights into jobs in Japan.

Remember, before you can start working, you’ll need a work permit in Japan. This is a legal requirement for all foreigners and is separate from a student visa.

Platforms you can refer to for finding jobs-

Embarking on the journey to work in Japan can be an exciting venture, especially for foreign students. Here are some websites and applications that can be instrumental in your job search:

  1. Japanese-Jobs.com: A specialist in job listings for bilinguals, international students, and foreigners in Japan, this site offers a wide range of job categories and assists job seekers with visa applications and other services.
  2. JobsInJapan.com: This comprehensive job portal showcases a variety of positions across different industries. It also provides resources to help you prepare for interviews and features selected jobs.
  3. Career Engine: If you’re seeking bilingual job opportunities, Career Engine is your go-to platform. It also offers placement services for internships and full-time employment.
  4. Mynavi Global: Catering specifically to international students and job seekers, Mynavi Global offers job listings with comprehensive English support.
  5. Wantedly: This social recruiting platform emphasizes company culture and values, focusing on startups and cultural fit
  6. Craigslist: While primarily a classifieds platform, Craigslist also features job listings and can be a resource for various opportunities.
  7. Ritsumeikan Job Search Engine: Accessible through Ritsumeikan University’s website, this engine is tailored for international students looking for jobs in Japan.

These platforms cater to various levels of Japanese language proficiency and offer a range of opportunities from internships to full-time positions. Whether you’re just starting your journey to study in Japan, planning on moving to Japan, or already living in Japan, these resources can be a great starting point for your job search. They not only provide online jobs in Japan but also give you a glimpse into the Japanese work culture. Remember, networking in Japan can open doors to employment in Japan, so make the best use of these platforms. 

Prohibited Jobs for Students in Japan

As a student, you are not permitted to work in any job associated with unsavoury elements or adult entertainment. These include:

  • Bars  
  • Adult clubs
  • Adult video stores 
  • Massage parlours

It is still prohibited even if you are not engaging in inappropriate behaviour. 

Tip: Contact your school if you have any concerns about your work, and they can tell you whether it is permitted.

Typical jobs for students in Japan

Here are a few of the most typical, practical, and accessible part-time jobs available to English-speaking students in Japan:

1. English teacher

Read manga to sleep!: Taylor Flowe

One of the most common and popular part-time jobs for UK students in Japan is teaching English. This can include everything from teaching English to pre-schoolers to teaching primary or secondary school students. You can also provide English tuition online using websites like Hello Sensei or Eigo Pass. 

Another alternative is an Eikaiwa cafe, an English-speaking school usually privately run. English speakers typically sit at a table joined by Japanese locals who engage in varied English-speaking conversations to brush up on their language skills. 

Tip: There is a wide variety of part-time English teaching jobs available to students in Japan on websites such as GaijinPot.

Average earnings:  £5.98 – £35.90 per hour (¥1000 – ¥6000)

2. Language localization jobs for video game testers

Photo credit Javy Rhodes

If you’re a keen gamer, Japanese video game companies frequently look for native English speakers to translate and test their video games. This job can be done remotely from your student digs. Requirements for this position: Fluency in Japanese and English, as well as gaming experience.

Tip: There are a number of gaming localization jobs available on websites such as GaijinPot.

Average earnings: £7.18 per hour (¥1200)

With the rise of platforms like Twitch, game streaming has emerged as an exciting part-time job in Japan for foreigners. It’s a fun way to engage with a global audience while earning from the comfort of your home.

3. Freelance Japanese/English translator

Photo credit Scott Graham

If you’re a keen gamer, Japanese video game companies frequently look for native English speakers to translate and test their video games. This job can be done remotely from your student digs. Requirements for this position: Fluency in Japanese and English, as well as gaming experience.

Tip: There are a number of gaming localization jobs available on websites such as GaijinPot.

Average earnings: £7.18 per hour (¥1200)

4. Konbini jobs

Photo credit Md Samir Sayek

Konbini is the term for Japanese convenience stores. Konbini all over Japan collectively employs more than 50,000 foreign workers.

The types of jobs students would be required to do would be similar to working in a supermarket, for example, cashier, merchandiser, packer, etc. You can work as little or as much as you like each week. You can work the graveyard shifts or after regular business hours. 

Job requirements: You must speak Japanese well enough to communicate with supervisors and Japanese customers. 

Average earnings: £4.79+ per hour (¥800+). The pay will vary by store and by region.

5. Fast food delivery

Photo credit Mizuno K

Delivery motorcycle drivers, as well as cyclists, are in high demand in all Japanese cities, delivering fast food.

They are employed by companies such as Uber Eats and other fast-food outlets that sell pizza, fried chicken, burgers, etc. You can set your own hours, and your payment is determined by how many deliveries you make. 

Average earnings: £4.19 – £10.77 per hour (¥700 – ¥1800)

Salary: The average earnings for international students working part-time in Japan per hour is 1,000 yen (about £5.98). The monthly average wage is around £353,00 (59,000).

Other Job Markets if you are thorough with Japanese as a language – 

Photo credit Mizuno K

Restaurant Jobs: Japan’s vibrant food scene offers international students a plethora of opportunities. From bustling eateries and quaint cafes to sophisticated restaurants, there’s a myriad of part-time jobs in Japan that involve serving, cooking, or even managing establishments. It’s not just a job; it’s a chance to immerse yourself in the Japanese work culture, hone your language skills, and gain insights into the rich Japanese cuisine. The average earnings range from ¥800 to ¥1,400 per hour.

Office Work: For those seeking a more corporate experience, part-time office jobs offer a chance to dive into administrative tasks, data entry, or customer service roles. It’s an excellent platform for networking in Japan, gaining professional experience, and refining your business Japanese. The earnings vary, depending on the job and company.

Sales & Customer Service: If you’re a people person, roles in sales and customer service could be your calling. These jobs, spanning retail positions to customer service roles across industries, require good communication skills and offer a great way to improve your Japanese language proficiency. The earnings depend on the job and company.

Hotel Jobs: The hospitality sector also provides a variety of roles, from front desk work to housekeeping. Working in a hotel is a unique opportunity to practice Japanese and potentially English with international guests. The earnings vary depending on the job and hotel.

Local Resources: Navigating the Job Market in Japan

Photo credit Mizuno K

When it comes to finding work in Japan, local resources can be a lifeline for international students. These resources, often overlooked, can provide invaluable assistance in the job search process.

Consider local job fairs, for instance. These events can be a goldmine of opportunities, offering a chance to network with potential employers and learn about various jobs in Japan. They can also provide insights into the Japanese work culture, helping students understand what to expect in the workplace.

University career centers are another valuable resource. These centers often have a wealth of information about part-time jobs, internships, and full-time positions. They can also assist with resume writing, interview preparation, and navigating the process of obtaining a work permit in Japan.

Community groups, particularly those focused on networking in Japan, can also be beneficial. These groups can provide support, advice, and job leads, making the task of finding work in Japan for foreigners less daunting.

Remember, finding a job is often about who you know as much as what you know. So, don’t underestimate the power of networking and making connections. You never know where your next job lead will come from.

Visual Aids: Painting a Picture of Work in Japan

Photo credit Mizuno K

Visual aids can be a powerful tool to make complex data more understandable and engaging. In the context of finding work in Japan, infographics or charts can provide a snapshot of the job market, making it easier for international students to navigate their employment journey.

Imagine an infographic illustrating the average earnings across various sectors, such as teaching English, gaming localization, or working in a ‘konbini’. This visual aid could provide a quick comparison of potential earnings, helping students make informed decisions about where to apply.

A pie chart could represent the distribution of popular job sectors among international students. Seeing that a significant slice of the pie is dedicated to English teaching jobs or jobs in Japanese convenience stores could guide students towards these sectors.

A bar graph showing the typical working hours in different jobs could help students balance their work and study commitments. Understanding that certain jobs may require late-night shifts or longer working hours can help students choose jobs that best fit their schedules.

These visual aids, focusing on work in Japan, can make the article more relatable and provide practical insights. They can help demystify aspects like jobs in Japan, networking in Japan, work permit in Japan, and Japanese work culture, making the path to work in Japan for foreigners a little less daunting.

COVID-19 Impact: Navigating the Job Market in Japan Amidst a Pandemic

Photo credit Mizuno K

The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably reshaped the landscape of part-time employment opportunities in Japan. With restrictions and safety measures in place, many traditional jobs have been affected. However, this has also led to the emergence of new opportunities, particularly in remote work.

For foreigners seeking to work in Japan during these challenging times, it’s crucial to understand these shifts. While some sectors have seen a decline in jobs, others, such as online teaching and digital services, have experienced growth. Networking in Japan, both online and offline, can help job seekers stay informed about these trends and find opportunities.

Despite the pandemic, the fundamental requirements for foreigners remain the same. A work permit in Japan is still necessary, and understanding the Japanese work culture is as important as ever. The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of flexibility and adaptability, qualities that are highly valued in the Japanese work environment.

Student Experiences: Navigating the Japanese Work Landscape

Photo credit Mizuno K

Hearing from those who have walked the path can provide invaluable insights for international students seeking work in Japan. Let’s delve into some experiences that highlight the unique aspects of working in Japan for foreigners.

Take Ana, a student from Brazil, who found a part-time job at a local ‘konbini’. She shares, “Learning to navigate the Japanese work culture was initially challenging but incredibly rewarding. The emphasis on punctuality and respect for hierarchy was different from what I was used to, but it taught me discipline and respect.”

Then there’s Raj from India, who worked as an English teacher. He says, “Teaching English in Japan was an enriching experience. It wasn’t just about earning money; it was about exchanging cultures. The Japanese work culture’s emphasis on harmony and teamwork was a refreshing change.”

Networking in Japan also played a crucial role for Emily from the UK. She shares, “I landed my job at a gaming company through a networking event at my university. The event was a great platform to connect with potential employers and understand the work permit process in Japan.”

These experiences underline the importance of understanding the Japanese work culture and the practicalities of finding jobs in Japan. They highlight the challenges and rewards of working in Japan for foreigners, providing a realistic picture for prospective international students.