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How to Find English speaking Jobs as a foreigner in Japan

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So you’re on the hunt for English speaking jobs in Japan. Considering Japanese is the local language, is it even possible to find jobs for English speakers here? Of course it is!

Not only is English the universal language for the tourism industry, but its helpful for those in corporate positions also. When you consider that many businesses operate in multiple countries, this creates the need for colleagues to communicate across international teams.

If you’re living in or moving to Japan as an expat and you can’t speak much Japanese, you might think that getting a job is impossible. But it doesn’t have to be. You just need to know where to look. The place to find jobs for English speakers in Japan, can depend on the type of job, and the industry.

Country:Japan
Currency:Japanese Yen / JPY
Do you need a visa to visit as tourists?Check here

Japan is one of the few countries where British citizens can get a working holiday visa between the ages of 18 and 31. This visa will allow you to live, work and travel in Japan for 1 year. Other nationalities are eligible too, but they will have slightly different eligibility criteria.


How to find Jobs for English Speakers in Japan

Screenshot of the homepage of the GaijinPot website - a place to find jobs in Japan for English speakers
The homepage of the GaijinPot website that is used for job hunting

Dedicated Job search Sites

As with anywhere, there are some dedicated job sites that help you find a new position in Japan. Each of these jobsites has a filtering system that allows you to narrow down the search based on things like job type, job location, experience and language proficiency.

Each of these sites above has an extensive list of regularly updated job vacancies. Some of them will require a basic understanding of Japanese language but that’s why the filter system is so useful. It can save you scrolling aimlessly through hundreds of listings that are unsuitable while looking for your next English speaking job in Japan.

Most of these sites will require you to register an account and create a profile. This can be a slow process to get set up, but once each of your profiles are complete, it is significantly easier – and quicker – to apply for jobs of interest.


A screenshot of the header on the reddit forum for residents in japan - a place that sometimes lists jobs for english speaking residents
The heading of the Reddit group “Japan life” for residents in Japan

Expat Websites & Forums

One of the most common resources for people that are moving to a new country like Japan, is to join and read expat forums. These online forums allow people to ask questions and get information about everything relating to being an expat so you can better prepare. Many of these forums offer guidance and direction on where you can apply for English speaking jobs in Japan.

WeXpats Jobs

Japan Expats Forum (Living in Japan)

Expat.com (Jobs in Japan)

Reddit Communities

Reddit is an online network of communities. There is practically a community for anything you can think of within the online platform. For those looking for Japan-related groups and job vacancies, there are some subreddits aimed at expats living in Japan that sometimes post about hiring companies including those seeking English speakers.

To find suitable reddit communities simply go to the search bar and type in something you’re looking for. An example could be “Living in Japan”. From the list you can then select the communities that fit that category and follow them for notifications of new posts. Below is a list of subreddits that sometimes post English speaking jobs for those already living in Japan.


The working holiday Japan Facebook group that sometimes lists English speaking jobs in Japan
The header of the “Working Holiday Japan” Facebook group

Facebook Groups

Facebook is one of the worlds largest social networks and it can be an extremely useful resource for job hunting too. Although Facebook has a lot of groups aimed at foreign workers in Japan, many of them are filled with scams which we are trying to avoid.

Working Holiday Japan is the best group that is both active and filled with legitimate positions for workers.

This group has over 7,000 users, a mixture of workers looking for work and asking general working holiday visa questions, as well as Japanese employers on the look out for workers. This group is specifically aimed at WHV holders but there are positions for other English speaking visa holders in Japan too.

For Foreigners Living In Japan is another group that has English speaking job postings.

This group is aimed at a range of workers including those with a high Japanese language proficiency. You may need to scroll through a lot of the posts but there are multiple options for English speaking roles being posted regularly.

Tip: After joining both groups, you can turn on group notifications so that you see every post as soon as it is posted. You can also search for specific terms in the group search bar to narrow down posts.

If you are basing yourself in one particular region, you can also look for location specific Facebook groups.


The heading of the i-to-i website that offers English speaking jobs in Japan to teachers
The heading on the i-to-i teaching website

Teaching Platform Searches

It’s no surprise that teaching English is one of the most common jobs for English speakers in Japan. If you have a degree or teaching qualification and the correct work visa type, you are likely eligible to apply to teach Japanese locals how to speak English. This could be in the form of one-on-one tutoring, classroom teaching, conversation exchange or online lessons depending on the needs of the employer.

If teaching is an avenue you want to pursue during your Japanese work visa, below I have listed 4 of the best websites listing teaching positions across the country. Some of these positions can be arranged from your home country before arriving, and others will specify if you need to be in Japan at the time of application.

Please note: Japanese employers usually require a minimum qualification of a bachelor’s degree. However, if you have existing teaching experience and certification (TEFL or ESL for example) you may still be hired.

In some cases tutoring positions (not to be confused with teaching positions) are listed on classified ad sites which we will go into in more detail below.


A graphic of the Linkedin logo
Photo by Alexander Shatov

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is essentially a social network for professionals. It is a place where you can build an online CV/resume around your work history which is connected to your personal profile.

You can easily reach out to businesses, connect with past and current colleagues and create posts about any accomplishments within your work life. As a social network, you can use this platform to build professional connections throughout your whole career.

What’s great about LinkedIn for those looking for English speaking jobs in Japan, is that you can have your language proficiencies within your profile and it’s easy to search for vacant roles. As well as specifying your location in Japan, you can narrow down the search results for roles within your specified industry or expertise.

Not only does LinkedIn have a great website, but it also has a convenient app that allows you to keep your profile updated and job hunt on the go.


The heading for the BooBooSki website which offers ski resort jobs for English speakers in Japan
The heading on the BooBooSki ski resort page

Specialist Seasonal Recruiters

Seasonal jobs are popular among English speakers in Japan, especially those on working holiday visas. The types of seasonal jobs you can expect to find in Japan include Ski Resorts throughout winter, fruit picking at various times of year and holiday resorts during the summer. Instead of just scouring lots of job sites for jobs that are only hiring seasonally, there are dedicated websites for these seasonal positions.

Ski Resort Positions

Most Winter positions are between November and March – depending on the location of the ski resort.

Summer / Holiday Resort sites

Okinawa is the most southern prefecture of the country and it’s known as “the Hawai’i of Japan”. Because of its location compared to the equator it is hot there all year round. This makes it easy for the region to receive tourists all year round and creates a need for hospitality and resort positions for a longer summer season than other areas in the country. Most summer resort positions will be found in Okinawa, but there are other summer resorts throughout Japan you could find work at.

I’ve listed two of the site that focus on summer placements for English speaking workers below:

Many of the summer positions take place between May and September – depending on the resort location.

Agricultural Positions

Agricultural positions depend on the type of role as you could be working with crops, food or livestock. Certain fruits and vegetables need to be picked during specific months when they’re in season which can also depend on specific locations around Japan.

Japan Agriculture Exchange Council is one of the best places to find agricultural positions that don’t necessarily require Japanese proficiency. In each of the position listing it will specify how much Japanese language experience is required so you can make an informed decision on whether you would be a good fit.


Direct to Companies

As with any country, another option you have when looking for English speaking jobs in Japan, is to contact companies of interest directly.

This could include checking their employment or career pages online. For more traditional (or old school) companies you may even go in with a paper CV to hand to the staff in person. It never hurts to ask.

Remember, if you look for jobs within the tourism sector (hotels, restaurants etc) you’ll likely be able to find English speaking jobs as this is the primary language spoken across the industry. So this is highly likely one of the “easiest” industries to get into as a foreigner in Japan.


A map of some placements on the WorkAway website with the logo - a site that offers some paid jobs to english speakers in Japan
A map of some active placements on the WorkAway platform. Some are paid, some are volunteer based.

Work Exchange Platforms

I know what you might be thinking, “aren’t work exchanges normally volunteer based?” For the most part, yes, but you’ll be pleased to know that there are some placements that pay their workers instead of only hiring volunteers. These paid positions can be extremely competitive due to there only being a handful available at any one time, but its still worth looking into.

WorkAway is the only work exchange platform that seems to offer some paid positions and it’s a highly reputable. Simply input Japan as your destination in the host list, narrow down by date range and filters and then search for “paid positions”.

Remember, the main purpose of this platform is to offer volunteer placements, so you are likely only going to find a few paid positions on this site.

Please note: You need to pay for a year subscription ($49 USD) in order to access and message hosts, but considering you have no accommodation costs, it’s well worth the cost.

If you’d like to find out some more information about the platform, here are two posts I wrote about it: Is WorkAway Worth It? and more importantly, Is WorkAway safe?


A pile of Japanese newspapers
A pile of Japanese newspapers

Local Ads (Newspapers & Craigslist)

The Japan Times

The Japan Times is the largest English newspaper in the country that has a classified ads section aimed at foreigners. Every Monday, the newspaper offers between 4-5 pages of ads looking for positions to be filled. Although there is a website, most of the ads are only listed in the physical paper so it’s highly advised to get yourself a copy.

Around 50% of the ads are usually aimed at English teaching vacancies, but you’ll find a mix of waitressing and other positions too. This is especially convenient for looking for work in Tokyo, however, there are additional locations in a separate section of the ads pages too.

You can get a copy of this newspaper either by regular subscription on home delivery or by purchasing one at almost any station entrance. Each copy of the paper costs around 150 yen (0.82p GBP)

Japan Today

Japan Today is another English newspaper and website offering a list of job ads for foreigners. The jobs section on the website connects to the GaijinPot foreigner job site in the first section of this list, however, as expected with a regular newspaper, they also offer a few pages of classified job ads in the physical copies.

Although you’re most likely to find an English speaking job in the classified sections of the above newspapers, below I have listed two more. They don’t typically have anything listed on their website, but if you can get a physical copy you might just find something suitable.

  • Asahi Weekly
  • The Japan News

A list of craigslist Japan jobs and listings examples
A screenshot of the craigslist platform and some English speaking jobs available

Craigslist

Craigslist is a worldwide classified ads website that also operates in Japan. This means you can find almost anything you could imagine being advertised on this platform. Since it focuses on local ads, you will first need to select the region you want to search. I have added a link to each region’s job listings below.

Although Craigslist Japan is mostly written in Japanese, Google Translate in your internet browser does a great job of translating everything into English. You can read through the ads that interest you and hide the ones that are duplicates or irrelevant to your search (after making an account). Some regions have a slightly more active site compared to others but it’s still a great resource for finding English speaking jobs in Japan.


A graphic zoomed in of a "contacts" app on a phone

Personal Connections

They say it’s not what you know but who you know, and that can work in your favour in Japan as well. If you know locals, or network with other working holiday makers you may hear first hand about new positions that are opening or looking to be filled.

By utilising the various contacts you make throughout your stay in Japan you could speed up your job hunt. If you network well enough you might even find that you get recommended or referred to corporations and employers making your job hunt all the easier.

Go through your address book or phone contacts in Japan and ask around. Even if they can’t recommend any specific job openings, they may be able to point you in the right direction or keep you in mind for future reference.

Please be aware: Networking is not as common in Japan as it is in the west for regular employment. But it can work to your advantage if you have the right contacts.


Career & Job Fairs

This is the last avenue I’ll recommend for finding jobs in Japan as English speakers as it’s much less common, but not impossible to do so. Throughout Asia, job fairs are a lot more common than they are throughout the western world. Primarily, these job fairs target themselves towards English speakers in Japan that have a specialised degree, or are a recent graduate.


Final Thoughts on finding English speaking jobs in Japan

Searching for a job in any country can be a stressful and tedious experience. When you add in the aspect of being new to a destination and not knowing the ins and outs of how things work, it can seem very overwhelming.

By using some of the tips above and trying out the various job hunting methods, you stand a much better chance of securing a job during your time here.

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

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