Working While Studying In Japan


Updated 4th October, 2018

work and study japan

Want to work and study in Japan?

Conditions will differ depending on your visa.

On a student visa, with permission, one can work up to 28 hours a week. Up to 8 hours a day during designated long school breaks (such as Spring and Summer breaks; not national holidays). 

On a working holiday visa (only eligible for certain countries), you can work as many hours as you wish, although your main aim should not be to work; you must have plans to travel around Japan (e.g. no more than 3 months in one location) and work to cover your expenses. Multiple locations, or short-term study programs can be recommended.

On a tourist visa or visa exemption, please know that you cannot work while you are in Japan. It is best to save up and enjoy your time here!

You can also learn the language, culture and make many friends at a language school, which is a great alternative to just taking pictures and touring.

Great way to offset living expenses

By working while studying, it is a great way to offset your living expenses (food + transport), practice your Japanese and involve yourself in the community while living in Japan. Funds for tuition and accommodation must be available before going.

Scholarships and awards are available after 1 year of study, for excellent students based on grades and attendance.

The minimum that you can earn

Keeping in mind the number below is the bare minimum; (language teaching, modelling, plus jobs with higher requirements pay more). The average minimum wage (changes slightly depending on the region) is approximately 800 yen. Please don't directly compare this to your country's minimum wage; as the living costs differ too. The minimum wage in Tokyo (whether you are a foreign student or not) is 958 JPY/hour, as of October 2017.

People who know little to no Japanese can do private tutoring, teaching your native language (more and more people want to learn a new language, for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics), or start off cleaning, working in supermarkets preparing food such as bento boxes!

Once you reach a higher level of language ability, your job opportunities will increase. You...

  • Can use your degree to work in Japan and get a work visa.

  • Can work in a Japanese company in your home country or all around the world.

  • Can have the ability to work in an international company with relations in Japan.

  • Can work in translation or international relations.

Of course, these are not your only options. You may meet the love of your life and get married (or not), find a business partner and start a business together, start your own business, or study towards higher education in Japan.

  • Can enter vocational college in Japan, where you can learn an in-demand profession and get a job in Japan. Some schools have 100% graduate employment rates.

  • Can enter university in Japan, which will help secure you a job before graduating. The graduate employment rate in top universities are over 98%.

Basically no-one regrets making the decision to live in Japan. With the better food, cleaner air, technology, nice people, amazing service, it is all worth it overall.

Average Living Expenses

Of course, expenses differ depending on one's lifestyle. You can live cheaply in Japan if you wish. Just shop near closing hours, bulk buy at supermarkets, go to local markets, shop at recycle shops (Japanese people take care of their items well, so you can sometimes buy things near new for a tenth of the price). The conception that Japan is expensive simply isn't true, if you choose to spend your money wisely.

Assuming you spend the average 500 JPY/day on transport and 1,500 JPY/day on food, you can easily cover your living expenses working part-time. We also recommend you to read this blog about How to Move to Japan before taking any action further. Again, you can keep expenses even lower by walking or taking the bicycle to school (bicycles are utilized everywhere in Japan), and using the advice said earlier about buying food.

Accommodation and tuition is usually paid upfront every 6 months (3 months or monthly for accommodation may be available), so savings are needed for this. Hence, the bank statement (showing your savings) is required to apply for a student visa (at least a bank statement of 1,500,000 JPY for 1 year at language school). This is to prove you have enough funds to pay for tuition, accommodation and living costs for a year, without relying on part-time work. The bank statement is much less for a working holiday visa(only available to certain countries).

Please see the fees summary if you wish to learn more on the cost of living.

Language School is the best starting point

The schools give you all the support you need, starting from helping to write your resume, filling out forms, practicing for the interview and looking for part-time jobs.

Most jobs require you to be residing in Japan at first, before you are even eligible to apply.

It is much easier to find a job once you are in Japan because of this, than looking for jobs online while overseas. 

Also, most jobs are found through the 'hidden market' of networking; friends, locals, teachers will provide you with opportunities while you are living in Japan, opportunities that you will never find online or while at home.

You can even choose to hold private lessons teaching your native language.

Language schools themselves usually hire their own students to teach English, as most also provide English lessons for Japanese students.

Japan is currently facing a huge labour shortage (due to the aging population, meaning not enough able people to work). So, it is not a matter of if you will find a job, but when!

Although it will vary on many different factors such as location, language ability, timing etc., most students obtain a part-time job within 2 months, some in their first week. It is recommended to focus on improving your Japanese well first, before thinking about applying for jobs.

If you are yet to apply to a course, please send an inquiry so we can get you started on your new journey.