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Jobs in Japan for English Speakers
Nov 10, 2023
6 min read
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Wondering if working in Japan is the right choice for you? But does writing emails or talking in Japanese sound scary? We are here to help showcase the most popular types of jobs for English speakers in Japan.

Best Jobs Available in Japan if You Can Only Speak English

Jobs in IT

The Information Technology (IT) sector in Japan offers a diverse array of employment opportunities for both local and international professionals. This dynamic industry encompasses various roles, ranging from software development and web development to database management, network engineering, cybersecurity, and IT support.

Software development is one of the most prominent segments, with a high demand for software engineers, developers, and programmers. These experts design, build, and maintain software applications using Java, C++, and Python. Web developers, on the other hand, focus on creating and managing websites and web applications. They are skilled in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web development frameworks.

Database administrators (DBAs) play a crucial role in managing and securing databases and ensuring data integrity. Network engineers design and maintain an organization's network infrastructure, guaranteeing data security and optimal connectivity. Cybersecurity experts safeguard organizations against digital threats.

IT support professionals provide technical assistance, aiding end-users with hardware and software issues. IT project managers oversee the planning and execution of IT projects requiring project management expertise.

A command of the Japanese language can be required to communicate with Japanese clients and colleagues effectively, but it is not essential. Many large companies, such as Rakuten and PayPay do not require Japanese skills, or they have very minimal requirements.

The Japanese IT industry is known for its innovation and offers competitive salaries, making it an attractive field for career development and professional growth.

English Teaching

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One of the most viable options to come live in Japan to work without any previous knowledge of Japanese is to become an English teacher.

English teaching jobs in Japan are an opportunity for both native and proficient non-native English speakers. These roles are often in high demand, reflecting Japan's keen interest in learning and using the English language.

One common avenue for English teaching is through language schools, known as Eikaiwa. These schools hire foreign teachers to deliver conversational English lessons to children and adults. Private language schools, sometimes referred to as "hagwons," also offer opportunities for specialized language instruction.

For those interested in a school setting, the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program is a prominent option. Under this program, foreign English teachers work in Japanese public schools as Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs). Their role involves assisting Japanese teachers in English language classes. This program provides a unique opportunity to engage with Japanese students and immerse in local communities.

Additionally, private kindergartens often hire English teachers to introduce basic English skills to young children, laying the foundation for their language development. International schools in Japan, following foreign curricula, employ qualified teachers with teaching credentials. While the specific qualifications can vary by institution, a common requirement for most teaching positions is a bachelor's degree. Holding English teaching certifications like TEFL or TESOL can significantly enhance job prospects. Equally important is possessing a valid work visa, as English teaching positions generally require legal authorization to work in Japan.

Teaching English in Japan provides a unique cultural experience, offering not only the chance to share one's language skills but also to explore and immerse in Japanese culture. While it can be a rewarding experience, it may also come with challenges due to language and cultural differences, making it important for prospective teachers to understand job requirements and the legal aspects of working in Japan, including visa regulations and tax obligations.

Freelance Work

Freelancing in Japan as a content writer or translator can be another viable option for professionals without Japanese proficiency. However, it's vital to understand the legal and administrative requirements to be able to stay in Japan and work as a freelancer, as there isn’t an official “freelance” visa to apply for. So, you will still most likely have a company to sponsor your visa.

Chef and Kitchen Staff


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Chefs in Japan can find positions in various types of restaurants, from traditional Japanese establishments like sushi bars and izakayas to international cuisine venues, such as Italian or French restaurants. The country's strong culinary heritage and appreciation for fine food make it an attractive place for culinary professionals.

To work as a chef in Japan, formal culinary training and experience are necessary. Culinary schools and apprenticeships are also a way you can acquire the necessary skills and knowledge if you wish to change fields completely. While Japanese language proficiency can significantly enhance communication with kitchen staff and understanding of the local culinary culture, it is not a requirement, especially if you work under a foreign chef or a foreign establishment.

Foreign chefs must secure the appropriate work visa, which typically falls under categories like Specialist in Humanities/International Services Visa or Engineer/Specialist in Humanities/International Services Visa. This enables them to legally work in Japan's culinary industry.

Salaries for chefs in Japan vary widely, with high-end and internationally acclaimed restaurants generally offering more competitive compensation. Continuous learning and keeping up with culinary trends are vital aspects of the job, as Japan is known for its culinary innovation.

Working as a chef in Japan offers a unique opportunity to immerse in a rich food culture, experiment with new ingredients, and refine culinary skills while experiencing both tradition and innovation in the culinary world.

Foreign Companies With English as an Official Language

Another safe choice is to apply through English-friendly recruiters or websites where the positions you will be offered will be meant for English speakers without previous knowledge of Japanese.

Job Opportunities in Japan for English Speakers

In conclusion, if you're an English speaker contemplating a career in Japan, there are diverse paths to explore. Embrace the opportunity to work in Japan, a country where language need not be a barrier to your professional journey.


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