Job hunting in Japan

Finding a job is hard anywhere and everywhere. Especially because of the stagnant economy, it isn’t easy to find a job in Japan. My former students asked about prospects for finding a job there but as a foreigner, it is even more challenging to find a job with a company who will be willing to sponsor his visa. But it isn’t impossible and anything is possible if you are willing to put time and effort into finding a job. ^_^

1. What kind of job are you looking for in Japan? You have to first know what your strengths are and what you want to do for living? You have to know what kind of job you want to have anywhere you go.

2. As a foreigner, you have to look into different types of visas. Without having a visa, you are not able to work in Japan. Apparently there are many visa categories in Japan. (ex. Professor, Artist, Investor, Accounting services, doctor, researcher, engineer, skilled worker, cultural activities etc etc) You should know your option before going to Japan. One possibility is to find an employer in your home country which send their staff to Japan for work. They will take care of all the visa issues. You have to apply for a visa at the consulate before entering into Japan. You can go to this website to find out more about it. (

3. Japan working holiday visa: You may look into working holiday visa. If you are citizens of certain countries, you can apply for a working holiday visa. I had NO idea but work holiday visa has age restrictions. You have to be between the ages of 18-30 if you are from Norway, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the UK.

You have to be between the ages of 18-25 if you are citizens of Ireland. I do not know why the age restriction is different here.

There are a lot of foreigners who want to go to Japan for work. I do not have the statistics, but most foreigners that I knew in my hometown were English teachers. You may want to look into JET program if you have a bachelor degree. JET program is very competitive as it is run by the Japanese Government but there are other private English language schools in Japan and they do offer visa sponsorship.

I generally recommend people to first visit Japan to see if they are even interested in living there. Surprisingly I’ve met so many people who knew some Japanese phrases and they wanted to move to Japan and find a job. Unfortunately it doesn’t really work that way. I’ve lived in America for so many years but I thought I knew what it was like to work and live in America during my undergraduate years…but no. Reality hit me hard after I actually started to work for a company in America. Also keep in mind that visiting Japan is totally different from living in Japan.

For those who have already traveled to Japan and even stayed there for a while, you should look into different options for long-term stay. Do you want to go to Japan as a student? Then you should look into your funding sources and whether you can support yourself and also look into scholarship opportunities. If you know you want to find a job in Japan, you should look into visa options. Make sure to plan ahead before going to Japan. You can go to Japan as a tourist and then find a job and there are people who have done that successfully but it is better to plan and sort all these things out even before entering into Japan. You must obtain a work visa before entering into Japan if you are planning to work there.

It all sounds like a pain and finding a job is challenging even for Japanese citizens so you can expect some hardship if you are a foreigner looking for a job. But if it is something you really want to do, there are tons of options. First, 1) Know what kind of job you want to have in Japan 2) Check out visa requirements and eligibility 3) Then search a job..look for companies that offer visa sponsorship 4) Also look for employers that may relocate you to Japan!

Good luck and I would love to hear from you if you have successfully found a job in Japan and living your dream.

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