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What to Consider When Looking for a Part-Time Job in Japan
Nov 01, 2023
5 min read
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Part-time jobs in Japan offer a flexible way to earn income, particularly for students, temporary workers, and individuals seeking supplementary income.

Key Aspects of Part-Time Jobs in Japan

If you are still unsure whether to start working part-time in Japan, we will share some useful information to help you make the right choice.

Finding the Right Job for You

Part-time jobs in Japan encompass a broad spectrum of industries and roles, offering diverse opportunities for job seekers. They include retail, hospitality, food service, and office administration positions.

Teaching English in language schools or as a private tutor is a popular choice for foreign nationals. During busy tourist seasons, seasonal and event-related work may be high in demand. Physical labor, such as construction and agricultural tasks, are also common options. More recently, online opportunities, including content creation and freelancing, are on the rise. Finally, caretaking, delivery services, and event staffing offer further part-time positions. These roles differ in skill and language requirements, and thus students and professionals should be able to find a suitable job according to their ability in these areas.

Part-Time Jobs for International Students

Student part-time jobs form an integral aspect of the Japanese education landscape, offering students a source of money while nurturing practical work skills. In Japan, where costs of education and living can be very high, part-time work serves as a means for students to alleviate the financial strain on themselves and their families.

As of 2021, approximately 67% of privately financed international students in Japan engage in part-time work. The average monthly earnings from part-time jobs are approximately 59,000 yen (413 USD).

One of the features of student part-time employment in Japan is its remarkable flexibility. Employers generally understand the importance of students balancing work and academic responsibilities and provide flexible work hours. This flexibility enables students to attend classes during the day and work in the evenings or on weekends.

Moreover, many Japanese universities and colleges go the extra mile by offering job placement services to assist students in securing suitable part-time positions. These services work as effective bridges, matching students with job opportunities that not only pay the bills but also align with their fields of study and future career aspirations.

Part-time positions not only support students financially but also contribute to their personal and professional growth. The experience gained can be a vital addition to your resume and may open doors to future career opportunities. Companies also tend to prefer to hire individuals familiar to them through part-time work, turning these positions into a potential entry point into the professional job market.

When engaging in part-time work in Japan as a student, be aware of the following to be legally allowed to work: 1) Apply for "permission to engage in activities other than that permitted under the status of residence previously granted" at the nearest immigration services bureau. 2) You are limited to 28 hours of work per week. 3) Engaging in a part-time job in the adult entertainment industry is against the law.

Wages and Payments

Part-time workers are paid hourly, and wages vary depending on the industry and location. The minimum wage also varies from prefecture to prefecture. Wages will be higher in big cities, especially in Tokyo (1,113 yen as of October 2023), and lower in rural areas (the lowest being Iwate prefecture at 893 yen).

Payments are often made through bank transfers directly to the employee's bank account. However, some part-time jobs, especially those in smaller businesses, or one-day jobs, may still pay wages in cash.

Visa Restrictions

As mentioned above, you should carefully check whether engaging in part-time jobs is allowed within your visa and if any additional procedures or documentation are needed.

Some visas, like the working holiday visa, are designed for temporary work and can be suitable for part-time jobs.

Non-student visa holders, such as dependents, may have restrictions on part-time work. People on a tourist visa are not allowed to earn any money, and thus cannot work part-time.

Japanese Language Ability

In Japan, certain positions may have a language requirement. This is typically measured by the JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test), which ranges from N1-N5, with N1 being the most difficult and N5 being the easiest.

Based on personal experience, securing a part-time position in restaurants or cafes becomes relatively straightforward if you possess a good command of Japanese. The majority of part-time jobs will require anywhere from N4 to N2 level of Japanese, or the ability to understand Japanese used in everyday situations. An N3 level will be enough to work in most part-time jobs, but we recommend to strive for a N2 level result.

If you have proficiency in Japanese, it's advisable to take a Japanese resume with you to the interview. Additionally, consider refining your use of more formal language during the interview process for a smoother and more successful application experience.

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