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カテゴリーのアイコン Finding Jobs in Japan
A Guide to Becoming an Intern in Japan
Jan 18, 2024
6 min read
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This article about internships is part of our series on helping guide foreigners to get a job in Japan. If you’re looking to gain some work experience, why not try doing an internship this Spring?

What is it like to Intern in Japan?

In Japan, internship programs are called インターンシップ (in-taan-shi-pu) or インターン (in-taan) for short. The Japanese internship system is quite unique, and may be very different from that of your home country. Before you begin your search for the best internship for you, it is important to understand the kinds of internships that you can find in Japan.

Short-term Internships

The majority of Internships in Japan are short-term, held for 1-5 days during seasonal breaks. These programs are typically hosted by larger corporations, and are intended to give you a general overview of the company's work, culture, and values. Short-term internships can be quite useful. Some of the merits are that they are:

  • A quick and easy way to understand a company
  • Can give you an advantage in networking
  • Typically easy to participate in

As short-term internships mainly target Japanese university students, it is important to remember that these kinds often are unpaid, do not offer actual work experience, and may likely be held in Japanese.

Long-term Internships

Compared to short-term, long-term internships constitute a much smaller percentage of all internships in Japan. These usually involve you actually working within a company as a part-time worker, and contributing to their projects for as long as a few months to a few years.

The majority of part-time internships are for international students who study abroad for a year at a Japanese university or study in Japan for a 4-year program. However, several internships are available for English teachers and working holiday visa holders at startups and smaller companies.

Long-term internships can be beneficial to:

  • Gain a better understanding of Japan's culture
  • Gain practical experience in the workplace
  • Maintain a salary

Although these internships are much more of a commitment compared to the short-term, they can be an effective way to help strengthen your resume and build experience.

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<h2>How do I find an Internship?</h2>

<p>Now that you understand the nature of internships in Japan, you're ready to start looking.</p>

<p>There are 4 main methods to find the best internship for you.
1. Use online platforms
2. Apply directly to a company
3. Use recruitment agencies
4. Utilize university resources</p>

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Using Online Platforms

There is an abundance of online platforms to help you find an internship. Here, companies will list certain spots that they are looking for, to which you will apply online. These websites are a quick and free way to look for an internship. However, with so many companies and spots, it may be difficult to pick out which ones suit you. To start, be sure to check the conditions of the internship:

  • Language level: Though not all internships need you to be able to speak Japanese, be sure to check if there is a requirement.
  • Visa requirements: Depending on your Visa, you may be unable to apply for certain internships. Be sure to check from the table below.
Paid 90 days or more
Tourist Visa ✖️ ✖️
Cultural Activities Visa ✖️ ✔️
Student Visa ✔️ ✔️
Designated Activities Visa ✔️ ✔️
Working Holiday Visa ✔️ ✔️

Applying Through an Internship Agency

There are a variety of internship recruitment organizations in Japan that can help match you with an internship opportunity best suited for you. The agency may also provide assistance for housing, insurance and more to help your transition to go as smoothly as possible.

If you are applying from outside Japan, or feel unsure about applying to internships on your own, you may want to consider utilizing these services. This process, however, does involve you paying a fixed fee to the agency.

Applying Directly to a Company

If you have a particular company that you would like to intern at, it is always a good idea to actively check and apply to their spots directly. Many Japanese companies will list their internship opportunities and schedules on their own website. Several multinational companies also have internships dedicated for international students studying in Japan.

The good thing about this method is that it does not involve any external costs. However, depending on the company, the applications can become highly competitive, so you may want to consider utilizing the other methods as well.

Utilize University resources

If you are a university student currently studying in Japan, it is likely that your university will have a career support or guidance center. Using these centers as a resource can help you gain special connections that your university may have, and receive professional support by counselors with experience helping students find work or internships in Japan.

Final tips to help you land your internship

Japan's unique system can cause many foreigners to struggle in landing the internship they want. To close, here are some tips to keep in mind throughout your application process.

  1. Learn some Japanese: it never hurts to improve your language ability, in applying and even after you begin your internship. Taking a language proficiency test may also give you an advantage in your applications.
  2. Keep in contact: Communication is very important in Japanese culture. Be sure to be quick and respectful when in contact with companies, and show your continued interest.
  3. Be flexible: keeping an open mind about job types and locations can increase your chances of getting an internship.

The Guidable team hopes that you found this article helpful, and we continue to strive to support your experience in Japan. Stay tuned and be sure to follow us here for more tips and information!

Job Board for Interns

Glassdoor
CRCCAssia
Zentern
Japandev
Internship positions in Japan on American Chamber of Commerce Site
Iagora (English, French, etc.)
Intern Baito (Japanese)
01 Intern (Japanese)

The Guidable team hopes that you found this article helpful, and we continue to strive to support your experience in Japan. Stay tuned and be sure to follow us here for more tips and information!

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