Life in Japan: The Q&A
Visa application and requirements for work
Once you and your future employer have come to an agreement, head to the Japanese embassy in your home country. There, you complete the necessary paperwork to acquire a landing permission and a status of residence.
Common job types that require little or to Japanese are English teaching and IT engineering (coding, software development, etc).
Working visas are typically not issued for so-called "unskilled" work that does not require a university degree (ex. cashier, construction worker, hairdresser). Exceptions are jobs covered by the "Technical Intern" and "Specified Skilled Worker" visas.
One major exception is the Specified Skilled Worker visa, which allows foreigners from certain countries to work in specific fields even if they don’t have a degree.
However, staying in Japan long-term for a longer period of time before starting to work enables you to accustom yourself to the culture and master the language.
In that sense, going to university in Japan is an advantage. The same is true for long-term language school courses.
Searching and finding jobs
However, due to Japan’s decreasing population and young worker shortage, more and more industries are considering non-Japanese candidates.
You can also attend job fairs aimed at foreign job seekers, like Disco’s bi-annual Career Forum, or contact job agencies.
If you already have some work experience (3+ years) or have skills that are in high demand, it’s possible to find a job in a shorter time.
However, searching in Japan will present you with more opportunities in the form of career fairs and other networking events.
However, it’s generally not possible to convert your tourist visa into a working visa while on a short-term stay. You have to return to your home country, complete the necessary procedures, and then come to Japan again.
Next, applicants hand in their proper CVs and are sometimes required to take aptitude tests before advancing to the job interview stage.
Typically, there will be 2-3 interviews with the applicant before a decision is made. The whole process can take up to 6 months.
Because of the density of events in March and April, spring is a good time to look for jobs.
In recent years, the fresh graduate job market has been gradually changing to a year-round system. Now, there are also additional job hunt opportunities in summer, fall and winter.
However, work and business culture heavily depends on the company. There are also companies with flat hierarchies, a casual atmosphere etc.
High-skilled professions like IT engineer tend to have lower amounts of overtime except for periods of “crunch time.”
However, since there is no “freelancer visa,” you will have to acquire a regular working visa first.
For most foreigners, this means that their first working visa is going to be sponsored by a company hiring them as a regular employee.
Living in the countryside tends to be cheaper, but also comes with lower wages.
Rooms are usually fully furnished, relatively cheap and don't require a lot of time (or Japanese skills) to rent. For more info, read our guide on finding accommodation in Japan.
Moving to Japan
Find out about different visa types, the application process and other things you have to prepare for when moving to Japan.
Finding a job in Japan
Learn more about how to find jobs that match your skills and requirements, and how to pass the interview process.
Working in Japan
Information on Japanese work culture, labor law, average salaries in different industries, and more.
Everyday Life in Japan
All you need to know about everyday life outside of work: From finding a place to live to medical care and transportation.