Teach English in Japan (2023)

Types of teaching jobs in Japan

There are 4 main types of English teaching jobs in Japan with varying application requirements and hiring seasons. Keep reading to see which one is right for you and your teaching goals!

The JET Programme

The Japanese government has been running the JET programme since the late ‘80s. (JET stands for Japan Exchange and Teaching.) Native English speakers are placed as Assistant Language Teachers in public schools across Japan. JETs usually work a 35 hour week from Monday to Friday, and you will need a bachelor’s degree to be considered. The hiring calendar varies by the home country of applicants.

English teachers in Japan can earn an annual salary of about $27,000 during their first year in the JET programme. From there, your pay increases every year you renew your contract.

Private language academies/schools

Companies like AEON and ECC are constantly looking for teaching staff. Many of these positions involve relatively long hours, and some will require you to work evenings and weekends. With these private companies, there is a higher likelihood (than with JET) that you will be placed in a large city. You will need a bachelor’s degree to be considered. The hiring calendar varies by company.

Public schools

Some public schools recruit privately or source teachers through organizations such as Interac. A 30-35 hour workweek is common. Leave entitlements can vary significantly depending on the individual school or company you are recruited through. Some public schools prefer their teachers to have a CELTA/TEFL qualification and/or teaching experience. You can apply to work year-round, however, peak hiring season is January through April.

(Video) What Teaching English in Japan was REALLY Like

Private lessons

Many foreign nationals give private lessons, often teaching in cafes one-on-one with students. There are no qualifications required for this, though you will need to ensure any work you do is compatible with your immigration status. There is more potential business in the large cities, particularly for anyone looking to do this as a full-time job.

Average salary and benefits

On average, English teachers in Japan can expect to earn a salary between $1,700 - $5,000 USD monthly. The salary you earn while teaching in Japan typically depends on your experience, the type of school you’re working at, and your credentials.

For example, university positions tend to be the highest paying, but require stricter qualifications such as a TEFL certification, master’s degree, or prior teaching experience.

Common teacher benefits

Compared to other major teaching destinations, Japan is known to have some of the best and most comprehensive benefit packages. Below are some of the benefits you can expect while teaching English in Japan:

  • Housing
  • Flight reimbursement
  • Transportation passes
  • Cell phone SIM cards
  • Free meals (at the school)

Read more: How Much Money Can You Save Teaching Abroad?

(Video) Everything You Need to Know About English Teaching Companies in Japan ll 2022/2023

Cost of living in Japan

It’s no secret that Japan is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Living costs are high, but with the generous salaries and benefits, it's still possible to have a reasonable standard of living! The following is an estimation of how much it will cost you to live per month, based on your personal preferences and lifestyle:

  • Food: $80 - $100 (depends on how much you eat out or spend on groceries)
  • Transportation: $68 for a monthly public transportation pass
  • Entertainment (movies, bars/clubs, etc): $50
  • Housing: ~$769 one bedroom apartment in the city center

Source: Numbeo

Where to teach English in Japan

As with starting a job in any new country, it's important to do your research before coming to Japan. Start by exploring these major teaching cities in Japan.


Teachers in Tokyo are in high-demand, with Japanese schools requiring children to learn English, as well as many top companies encouraging their employees to take English lessons. Living and teaching in Tokyo is sure to be an exciting experience, packed with plenty of things to do and see, delicious food, and a vibrant nightlife scene!


Being Japan’s second largest metropolitan area as well as the country’s street food capital, Osaka is a popular destination for both tourism and teachers looking to teach English in Japan. Compared to Tokyo, teaching jobs are not as competitive, although having prior teaching experience or a TEFL certification is still highly recommended.

(Video) Why NOT to Teach English in Japan

How to get a job teaching English in Japan

Ready to start searching and applying for teaching jobs in Japan? Getting a teaching job abroad can be competitive. Below we've outlined all you need to know to prepare for application season and learn how to become an English teacher in Japan.

When to apply

When applying for teaching jobs in Japan, aim to apply around March-April, and in August, as those are the start of public school semesters and hiring season. For private language schools, you can apply year-round!

Working visas in Japan

A working visa is generally required to teach English in Japan. Many language schools will sponsor your visa application, and you will usually need a bachelor’s degree to be granted a working visa. Some countries also have arrangements whereby you can obtain a working holiday visa, which allows you to teach part-time. To learn more about Japanese visas, visit VISA HQ.

Common qualifications to teach in Japan

The requirements to teach in Japan may vary depending on the school you’re applying to teach at, however, most employers look for candidates with the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s degree is essential for any formal teaching job in Japan, but any major will suffice!
  • Native English speaker: You must be a native English speaker from one of the following seven countries: U.S., U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.
  • CELTA/TEFL qualification: Some public schools and private recruiters prefer candidates with a CELTA/TEFL qualification, and it is encouraged if you want higher pay or are looking to apply to a more competitive school. Getting certified can also boost your confidence as a teacher!
  • Previous teaching experience: Not a must, but definitely preferred by some schools!
  • International driver’s license: This may not apply to every teaching job in Japan, but you may notice some schools require their teachers to have driving licenses, since teachers may be asked to drive company cars to different branches of the school.

Read more: What are the Requirements to Teach English Abroad?

(Video) Why you MIGHT NOT want to teach English in Japan

Classroom culture in Japan

As an ESL teacher abroad, it’s essential that you take the time to research the country’s etiquette and classroom culture, as it can be vastly different from what you’re used to at home! Remember that you’re a visitor in the country you’re teaching in, so come in with respect and curiosity!

Here are a few important tips to know before teaching English in Japan:

  • If you are teaching adults, you may be able to socialize with them outside lessons, though some private companies prohibit this.
  • Some high schools and private companies will require you to dress up and wear a suit when you teach lessons. Those who teach elementary school students are usually able to dress more casually, though.
  • While teaching English in Japan, you'll be exposed to a different culture, work environment, and social customs, such as bowing, gift-giving, and style of compliments. It will take some time to adjust to, and nobody will expect you to get everything right the first time, but you will be expected to make an effort.
  • The Japanese workplace tends to be formal and punctual -- professionalism is important!

Ready to find your dream teaching program in Japan?

Start researching and comparing teaching jobs here at Go Overseas, in the Teaching Programs in Japan section below.

Want to read more? Get started with these articles:

(Video) Teaching English in Japan Without a Degree: The Truth

  • Why Should I Teach in Japan?
  • How to Get a Job Teaching English in Japan
  • The 7 Best Cities to Teach Abroad in Japan


How much can you make teaching English in Japan? ›

As an ESL teacher in Japan, you can expect to earn anywhere between 200,000 and 600,000 Yen ($1,700 - 5,000 USD) per month. Hourly tutoring rates hover around 3,000 Yen ($28 USD) per hour. Like in China, Japan often offers teachers flights, accommodation, and training included in their salary packages.

Is it hard to be an English teacher in Japan? ›

Is it difficult to become a teacher in Japan? Compared to other countries frequented by English teachers, Japan has more rigorous requirements. A bachelor's degree is required and a TEFL certificate is preferred. In higher education, a master's may be mandatory.

Are English teachers in demand in Japan? ›

There's high demand for ESL teachers in Japan, and plenty of students need teachers, but not at any cost. TEFL certification will, in Japan or anyone else, provide demonstrable proof to schools that you have the skills for a job teaching English.

Is it worth teaching English in Japan? ›

The teaching English job market in Japan is hot hot hot—great jobs, great support systems, and great salaries, too. If you're still unconvinced, here are just seven of the many awesome reasons to teach abroad in Japan stat.

Is there an age limit for teaching English in Japan? ›

There's no age limit for obtaining a work visa to teach English. However, older teachers may struggle to score a contract at a local school or institute. In Japan, most people retire at the spritely young age of 60—much earlier than in the West.

Does Japan pay English teachers well? ›

Most first-time English teachers in Japan get paid between 247,700 and 286,200 Yen ($2,250 - $2,600 USD) per month. First-year participants teaching English in Japan on the JET Program earn an average monthly salary of 280,000 Yen ($2,550 USD) per month with yearly wage increases.

Can you survive in Japan with English? ›

You'd really be surprised how many people in Japan know English, whether they speak it fluently or simply know key phrases that will help you when you're stuck. This is especially the case in more touristy areas such as Tokyo, Osaka and Harajuku.

Is teaching in Japan stressful? ›

These studies indicated that Japanese school teachers experienced high levels of stress in the workplace, which was detrimental to their physical and mental health, but their results seemed difficult to generalize because they were based on a survey of teachers working in schools in geographically limited region or ...

What qualifications do I need to teach English in Japan? ›

To teach English in Japan, you will need a TEFL certification and a 4-year college degree. You must be a native English speaker without a criminal record. You can expect an average salary of about $2,500 - $3,000 USD per month.

How many hours do English teachers work in Japan? ›

29.5 hrs/

Do I need to know Japanese to teach English in Japan? ›

You don't need to speak Japanese to teach English in Japan. Your classroom will be held entirely in English to fully immerse your students. However, you can learn Japanese if you wish, and many schools offer free Japanese lessons for teachers.

Can you work in Japan if you only speak English? ›

Yes, there are many job opportunities in Japan as it houses many international companies and businesses. English teachers and headhunters are the common jobs offered to foreigners but with relevant skills you can find many technical jobs having departments where there is minimal Japanese conversation required.

Can you live off of being an English teacher in Japan? ›

English teachers in Japan can expect to make a base salary of ¥250,000 per month. (106 yen is currently roughly $1; xe.com offers a good online currency converter). Depending on what type of housing you choose, your monthly housing can range from ¥50,000–¥80,000 including utilities.

Can you teach English in Japan without a TEFL? ›

You do not need a TEFL, CELTA, or TESOL qualification to get a job teaching English in Japan, but it is progressively more important to have one, just as it is worldwide.

Is 30 too old to teach English abroad? ›

Are there any age restrictions for teaching English overseas? In general, there isn't an age limit for teacher job opportunities abroad. Even if you've never been in a classroom since your college days, that doesn't mean you can't consider teaching English abroad in your thirties.

Can I teach in Japan without a degree? ›

If you want to teach English in Japan and you don't have a degree then, unfortunately, your options are pretty limited. A degree – in any discipline – is required to get a work visa to TEFL in Japan, so without one, you aren't eligible.

Can a foreigner become an English teacher in Japan? ›

Yes. English teachers in Japan must be able to prove that they have a Bachelor's degree to get a visa. Many schools will want to see a photocopy of your diploma before they even interview you. The good news is that your degree can be in anything.

What country needs English teachers? ›

Our list of the countries that need English teachers might surprise you! There are many countries with high demand for English teachers.
Finding meaningful, profitable work as an ESL teacher abroad.
  • Brazil. ...
  • Cambodia. ...
  • China. ...
  • Colombia. ...
  • Mexico. ...
  • Morocco. ...
  • Russia. ...
  • South Korea.
3 Mar 2021

Is a TEFL certificate worth it? ›

Is TEFL Certification Worth It? Yes. If you want to get a good teaching job and be an effective teacher for your students, then it is definitely worth it. Remember, most schools worldwide require a TEFL certification; and once you're certified you can the ball rolling on applying and interviewing for jobs.

Which country needs teachers the most? ›

China. Based on many studies, China runs at the top of the list. China has continued to be the most sought-after teaching destination right now because it has almost 300 million English learners.

Does Japan pay teachers well? ›

A university job in Japan, similar to most countries, offers the best pay for teachers. If you have some experience, you can earn between 300,000 to 600,000 Yen ($2,500 to $5,000) per month. Your salary will depend on your education and teaching experience. University working hours are very appealing to teachers.

Can I teach English in Japan with a family? ›

East Asia is one of the best places to teach English abroad with a family. Specifically, countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, and China offer wages high enough (and low enough living costs) to raise a child on an English teacher's salary.

Where is the best place to teach English abroad? ›

Article Contents:
  • Best for job availability: China.
  • Best for job benefits: South Korea.
  • Best for professional development: Japan.
  • Best for teaching and traveling: Vietnam.
  • Best for non-native English teachers: Thailand.
  • Best for country infrastructure: Taiwan.
  • Best for work-life balance: Spain.
5 Oct 2022

Is Japan friendly to foreigners? ›

Luckily, Japanese society is very welcoming of foreigners and forgiving should you commit a faux pas.

Is living in Japan difficult? ›

Living in Japan is very comfortable, but it will not be easy for you to feel like home. One of the aspects that struck me the most when I first arrived in Japan was that, unlike in Spain, in Japan people talk very little (or almost nothing) about controversial issues such as politics, religion or taxes.

Is Japan English friendly? ›

English is in common use in Japan with Chinese and Korean also becoming more common meaning that you can certainly get around without using Japanese. This is most true in the big cities and in areas frequented by foreign visitors. But as you move outside of the cities, foreign languages will quickly dry-up.

How many days off do teachers get in Japan? ›

Teachers typically have two scheduled consecutive days off per week. In addition to their scheduled days off, teachers receive Japanese national holidays, three company designated one-week vacation periods spread throughout the year, and five personal days per year.

Is Japanese worth learning for career? ›

As an interpreter or translator, you can work as a freelancer or work in different interpreter or translator service companies. So, if you learn Japanese, you have a high opportunity to work as a translator or interpreter and earn a lot of money.

Are teachers highly respected in Japan? ›

The findings reveal that teachers enjoy the highest status in China, where they score a perfect 100. The profession is also held in high regard in Malaysia. But teachers in Japan, which has a score of below 40, are much less respected than their peers in the other Asian economies surveyed.

Which English test is required for Japan? ›

IELTS is on the Japan Visas and Immigration (UKVI) list of approved Secure English Language Tests (SELT). The general test consists of 4 components: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.

How much is a TEFL certificate? ›

You know you need it, but how much does TEFL certification cost? Prices vary depending on some key factors, but expect to pay about $200 for very minimal online certification and closer to $400-$500 USD for online certification of enough hours (at least 120) to qualify for most TEFL/TESOL jobs.

How much does it cost to rent a house in Japan? ›

Average Rent in Japan

Prices in the capital range from a single room in shared housing for about 20,000 JPY (190 USD) per month to over 150,000 JPY (1,400 USD) for a private apartment. The average amount for a two-bedroom unit is a little over 200,000 JPY (1,870 USD) monthly.

What qualifications do you need to be a teacher in Japan? ›

In Japan, becoming a public school teacher requires graduating from a Ministry-approved university teacher education program and then obtaining a teaching certificate for a particular school level (primary, lower secondary, or upper secondary) and for a particular subject.

How can a foreigner get a job in Japan? ›

You'll need a high level of Japanese for most jobs in Japan. You can prove your Japanese level to employers with the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). The standardized test has five levels. N1 is the highest level; you'll usually need to pass N2 at minimum to get a job in Japan.

How long is a work day in Japan? ›

Compared to the notorious number of working hours recorded in the late 90s, sometimes up to 60 hours a week, reforms in the Labour Act lowered it considerably to a standard 40 hours with a maximum of 8 work hours per day.

Is Japanese hard for English speakers? ›

The Japanese language is considered one of the most difficult to learn by many English speakers. With three separate writing systems, an opposite sentence structure to English, and a complicated hierarchy of politeness, it's decidedly complex.

Which is harder to learn English or Japanese? ›

If you are a native speaker of English, learning Japanese can seem like an ambitious endeavor. In fact, the US Foreign Service Institute considers Japanese to be one of the most difficult languages to learn for an English speaker (along with Arabic, Chinese, and Korean).

How much should I charge for English lessons in Japan? ›

Currently the average rate in Japan for teaching private lessons is around ¥3000 per hour. Students pay lesson fees directly to the teacher each lesson, or as arranged between themselves.

Do Japanese hire foreigners? ›

Nearly half of Japanese companies are interested in hiring foreign nationals, according to a survey by information technology services firm Zenken. In the survey, 45.5% of responding companies said they are interested in employing foreign nationals, while 35% said they are not.

Do you need a 4 year degree to work in Japan? ›

Working in Japan without a degree

It is possible to work in Japan without a degree, but it makes things a little difficult and requires you to hustle and network, which are more appealing to some personality types than others. However, for those willing to put in the effort, it can be a good opportunity.

What percentage of Japan speaks English? ›

Yet despite this growth, studies estimate that less than 30 percent of Japanese speak English at any level at all. Less than 8 percent and possibly as little as 2 percent speak English fluently.

How hard is it to get an English teaching job in Japan? ›

Teaching English in Japan without a degree is close to impossible. In fact, landing a job in Japan in general as a foreigner without a degree is really, really tough. That's because regular working visas in Japan require you to have a university degree (a four-year Bachelor's degree in the United States).

Is it easy to be an English teacher in Japan? ›

The good news is that (unlike those looking to teach without a degree) teaching without experience in Japan is actually relatively easy for ESL teachers. With such a large population and high demand for English teachers, there's always a wide range of job opportunities available for all levels of experience.

Do English teachers get free housing in Japan? ›

In Japan, those teaching in public schools may receive free housing or a stipend for housing, however this will vary from school to school and region to region.

Can I get a job in Japan if I don't speak Japanese? ›

Can I Really Work in Japan Without Knowing Any Japanese? The short answer is yes, but it's not that simple. You can get a job without needing Japanese, and that job doesn't have to be only an English teacher. You have more limited options, and they depend largely on your skills and the current job market trend.

Is Japan a good place to teach English? ›

Japan has been a popular destination for teaching English abroad for many years. This is mainly due to the country's vibrant culture, the great food and friendly locals. Japan has a lot to offer and it can be overwhelming to find the ideal city to move to.

What is the age requirement to teach English in Japan? ›

Have received an education conducted in English for at least 12 years. Have at least a bachelor's degree in any subject from an accredited university. Be a team-player that is professional, flexible, cheerful, and energetic. Be under 60 years of age.

Do English teachers get paid well in Japan? ›

Most first-time English teachers in Japan get paid between 247,700 and 286,200 Yen ($2,250 - $2,600 USD) per month. First-year participants teaching English in Japan on the JET Program earn an average monthly salary of 280,000 Yen ($2,550 USD) per month with yearly wage increases.

How much do English Japanese translators get paid? ›

The average japanese english translator salary in the USA is $60,000 per year or $30.77 per hour. Entry level positions start at $45,000 per year while most experienced workers make up to $69,908 per year.

How much do English translators make in Japan? ›

The first two years of experience is the period where the earnings are the lowest. This translator earns approximately 298.000yen/year.
Project-Based Translators.
9 more rows

How well do teachers get paid in Japan? ›

Average salaries for teachers in Japan at a glance
English teacher job typeMonthly salary
Eikaiwa teacher250,000 Yen
ALT teacher with the JET Program280,000 Yen
University ESL instructor400,000 Yen
International teacher300 – 650,000 Yen
1 more row
9 Oct 2018

What language pays the most translation? ›

What Are the Highest Paying Translation Languages?
  • German – $60,000 per year.
  • Spanish – $48,000 per year.
  • French – $45,000 per year.
  • Dutch – $44,000 per year.
  • Russian – $43,000 per year.
  • Japanese – $42,000 per year.
  • Italian – $36,000 per year.
  • Chinese Simplified (Mandarin) – $35,000 per year.
11 Mar 2021

What country pays translators the most? ›

German tops our list of the highest paying translation languages. The language is closely associated with the business world, so German translators often make good money. The average annual income of a German translator in the US is $50,000. Professionals in the UK make an average of £34,000.

What qualifications do you need to be a translator in Japan? ›

To become a Japanese translator, you need a bachelor's degree and fluency in both Japanese and English. Your fluency must be in both the spoken and written languages. You should take courses that focus on grammar and kanji and spend some time immersed in the language.

What language is most in demand for translators? ›

Spanish Language

The language's sheer population makes it wildly popular — and also means that there's an ever-growing need for Spanish linguistic services. Translators and interpreters that are native Spanish speakers can expect to receive handsome remuneration for their expertise.

Do Japanese translators make good money? ›

The salaries of Japanese Translators in the US range from $23,160 to $78,520 , with a median salary of $44,190 . The middle 60% of Japanese Translators makes $44,190, with the top 80% making $78,520.

How much do translators charge per 1000 words? ›

How much does a 1000 word translation cost? Obviously, each different translation professional will usually charge a different translation rate. However, most translation rates are within a range of $0.10 to $0.50 per word. This means that a 1000 word document could cost anywhere from $100 to $500.

Which country pays teacher most? ›

Luxembourg. According to an OECD report, Luxembourg (a European country) has the highest-paid teachers in the world. Another source indicates that a bachelor's degree holder is entitled to an initial salary of €67,000 (US $70,323.20) per annum at the start of their teaching career.

Are teachers overworked in Japan? ›

Overall, a total of 66.9% of teachers reported working 20 or more hours of overtime during the week -- effectively crossing the line for determining death by overwork, or "karoshi" in Japanese.


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