Jobs in Japan
Getting Started Teaching English in Japan

If you’re serious about looking for jobs in Japan, you should know there is a lot of work available. “Eikaiwa” or English conversation is estimated to be a multi-trillion dollar industry. In fact

there are over 65,000 English teachers working in Japan!

Click here for our job posting page to find the latest work available in Japan. Teaching in Japan can be a ton of fun or your worst nightmare. Preparation, and knowing what to expect makes all the difference.

Keep in mind the experience is what you make it. And more importantly, despite what you may have read elsewhere, it’s not a paid vacation or a get rich quick scheme.

Having said this, there is a lot to consider in finding jobs in Japan. Like…
Choosing a city to live in...

Choosing an ESL school to work for...

Getting a working visa...

Deciding if you will go to Japan with or without a work lined up is the biggest. Why? Because some of the toughest challenges like finding a job, accommodations and a guarantor get taken care of by the company who gives you the visa. Preparation, risk and money wise, it’s the easiest way to go. So the competition for these jobs is high.

Despite the fact that work is easier to find once you arrive; there are financial risks in proceeding this way. So you need to weigh carefully the pros and cons and then proceed according to your demeanor and pocket book. We’ve outlined the steps to getting to Japan with and without a visa below.

The most important key to success in getting a job in Japan especially for those who go without a job lined up is preparation. You can go broke in no time if you’re not prepared.

Jobs in Japan:
Finding Work Before you go

If you absolutely must have a guaranteed situation i.e. an apartment and job waiting for your arrival, then you will be applying to large schools or chain schools. These are the big hitters in the eikaiwa (English conversation) world. They made the industry. Several of them will hire you from your home country.

If this is how you want to proceed, the game of finding jobs in Japan is won by persistence. Remember you’re looking for a sure thing, so the size of the pond you’ll be fishing in will be small. You’ll be looking for English schools that will give you a working visa and accommodations.

Constantly looking at want ads and applying for teaching positions will be critical for lining up jobs in Japan fast. Some information you’ll find will tell you it’s impossible. It isn’t. It’s just harder.

One of the biggest keys to success besides a well-written resume is timing. (If you're less than confident about your writing skills, have a pro do it. You can also take a look at our resume page for a guide on how to build a winning resume step-by-step by avoiding common mistakes.

You can increase the chances of getting your first job by applying at the right time of year.

The hiring frenzy begins in February and March so it’s important to start things well before this.

The whole hiring and visa process will take several months so you need to work on finding jobs in Japan in early spring. If you miss this window does it mean that you wait a year to get a job in Japan? No. It means you need to intensify efforts or go without one. Also keep in mind that many large English schools like G. Communications and Aeon recruit throughout the year so even if you miss the early spring window, you’ll still be ok.

Action Guide:
Finding Jobs in Japan From Home

1. Start by applying for your passport. Here's the link to the U.S. passport agency.

2. Consider TEFL certification. If you are not sure if teaching is your thing and don't have any teaching experience, then the cheapest and safest route is to go for online TEFL certification

i-to-i is widely recognized and also offers free teacher placement services throughout Japan. They have over 8,000 school contacts at their fingertips to place teachers in jobs. Most of the jobs they find for their teachers aren't even advertised. All in all, this lends a big advantage over those who don't know of these jobs.

3. Start studying Japanese. Is it mandatory for finding jobs in Japan? No. Does it make living in Japan more fun and fulfilling? Yes. We've put together some basic Japanese lessons to help you hit the ground running. Click here for our Japanese lesson index.

4. Write your resume and cover letters or have them written for you by some pros. Also start writing a theme on why you want to go to Japan and a short letter of introduction. Employers like the Jet Program etc. often ask for such letters. It’s handy to have something prepared ahead of time. Also line up your personal references – schools often ask for them.

5. Begin your internet search for jobs in Japan.
Be sure to check out our job posting page to find the latest work available in Japan. Also, check the Monday’s edition of The Japan Times and don't forget to visit Ohayo Sensei as they have many job postings too.

Also, here's a link to a page of sites with job listings in Japan

6. After your employer agrees to hire you, they will apply for your Certificate of Eligibility on your behalf and send it to you once Japan Immigration sends it to them.

7. Start shopping for cheap airfare. Check out Travelocity, an industry leader for a reason. When airlines have empty seats they turn to these guys to fill them.(Large schools, G Communications (formerly Nova and Geos) & Aeon etc. won’t pay for your flight over. Major bummer. The industry has changed and is glutted with teachers.)

8. Once you receive your Certificate of Eligibility from your employer, you need to take it to your local consulate to get your visa stamped in it. A fairly painless process that can be accomplished in one afternoon.

9. Book your flight Check out HIS travel they often have good deals. And make sure you’re not arriving on a Japanese holiday. If you do, you may find it hard to be met at the airport.

10. Pack your belongings. Click this link to get the lowdown on what to bring.

11. Prepare for your flight.

See our tip sheet on baggage requirements, dealing with jet lag and more.

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