This is your roadmap to opportunities in Japan.
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Few destinations in Asia have as much pull as Japan. This is simply because Japan really does have something for everyone. Whether it be hiking in front of picturesque scenery, manga, skiing, bullet trains, whiskey, cosplay, shopping, arcades, theme parks, martial arts or eating, Japan has it all! No wonder Japan is a popular destination amongst young people to experience for its vibrant culture, history, and bustling cities.
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- A Quick Guide to Housing in Japan [UPDATED 2022]
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Japan is also the world’s third-largest economy and is also a leader in offering international scholarship opportunities and youth exchange partnerships. Japan, though is not a cheap location to study and work, and doing your research is important to maximise your experience or access external funding. There are definitely ways to do Japan on a budget though so don’t lose hope. This is where we come in. Check out our content and get ready for an experience of a lifetime!
So, you want to study in Japan? Well, learning Japanese will be one of the many first steps needed to achieve this dream. While Japanese is known to be slightly easier to pick up than other languages in Asia that are tonal in pronunciation, the grammar and the Kanji (Chinese Characters) will prove a worthy test for anyone! So before you get started, here are some of our top tips and articles below:
- Our Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Guide
- The BEST Way For You To Learn Kanji!
- Improve your Japanese at home: How to study Japanese using TV shows and movies!
Not sure where to begin on your Japanese language journey? Then check out Tofugu! Featuring an array of tips for beginning your Japanese study, from Hiragana all the way to advanced grammar and Kanji, they’re an amazing resource.
Once you’re set on flying over, you can begin your research here on post-graduate opportunities and scholarships.
Undergraduate & Postgraduate Scholarship Opportunities
Studying in Japan can be a great way to open new doors and secure work in the land of the rising sun. However, studying in Japan isn’t always cheap which is why we’ve rounded up plenty of excellent scholarships to help you study in Japan. Whether that be at the undergraduate or postgraduate levels, we’ve got you sorted. With Japan’s goal of becoming a more open country to the world, it offers the generous Monbukagakusho Scholarship (also known as MEXT). Hailed as one of the most coveted scholarships for any budding Japanese scholar, it’s a great gateway to starting your journey. With both undergraduate and postgraduate options, the MEXT scholarship can be a pathway to a life in Japan. If you are intending to study as a part of an exchange program, be sure to check out whether your home and host institutions also provide study abroad scholarships.
- Monbukagakusho Scholarship (open)
- New Colombo Plan (Australian undergraduate students)
- JASSO Scholarship (Short-term Study in Japan)
- Awaji Youth Federation Fellowship Program
- Monbukagakusho Scholarship (open)
- Asian Development Bank – Japan Scholarship Program
- Rotary Peace Fellowships
- The Kamenori Foundation
For more information on how to succeed in your scholarship applications, check out our interview with former MEXT Scholars Meira Chen and her top tips for success.
Also, make sure to see our useful 10 important tips for successful applications.
Since the ’80s, Japan has continued to be one of the most vibrant international hubs. With large international conglomerates like Sony, Nintendo, Toyota and a range of other companies originating from Japan, it is truly a powerhouse. As immigration rules relax, Japan is becoming increasingly open to foreigners pursuing careers, businesses, and internships in the country. Although this limited pool of opportunities can be met with tough competition. However, for those with the dedication, versatility, and language skills, there are certainly opportunities for your business or within an existing company. You will find the information you need to succeed below, whether it is a career, internship, or networking.
Careers & Business
To get started with your career in Japan, have a look at our top articles on everything job hunting, resumes, and interview tips below.
- A comprehensive guide to acing job interviews in Japan for foreigners
- 3 Ways To Unlock Career Success In Japan
- Teaching English in Japan: Your Guide
Our Three-Part Job Hunting Series:
- Job hunting in Japan: Here’s everything you need to know
- Job hunting in Japan: Everything Needed For Mastering Japanese Resumes
- Job hunting in Japan: How to ace your job interview!
Interested in seeing what pathways are out there for you? Then check out some of our interviews with people who have worked in Japan!
- Dallan Pitman and life at a Japanese law firm
- From Kamaishi to Tokyo with Emily Hallams
- Up-close with Jason Hayes and his career with PwC Japan & Australia
Interested in gaining experience with an internship in Japan? Then look no further than our Japanese Internship Guide. Do be aware though that most Internships in Japan are not paid, but you may receive a stipend. In saying that, internships are a great way to break into the competitive job market and see if working in Japan is right for you or not.
Networking in Japan is a definite must for anyone looking to break into the local job market or looking for an internship. For a brief guide, check out our article on how to successfully network in Japan for a job during COVID
There are a number of chambers of commerce in Japan, who hold regular business seminars, social events, and other networking opportunities.
- Australian Chamber of Commerce
- American Chamber of Commerce
- European Chamber of Commerce
- ASEAN Japan Chamber of Commerces
- India Japan Chamber of Commerce
It’s worth checking within your country as well for dedicated organisations as well.
We also recommend meetup.com as the scene is also lively in Japan (and your local area), although these events tend to be more on the social side.
Finding a Job can be tough, and finding where to look for jobs can be even tougher. This is why we’ve put together our top job searching sites in Japan used by foreigners and locals.
- GaijinPot – The site that just about every foreigner in Japan has been on at least once in their life. It tends to be more useful for those already living in Japan (as this is a requirement of most of the job ads posted).
- Daijob – Most of the job ads require some Japanese language proficiency and the opportunities tend to congregate around the IT and finance sectors, but Daijob remains one of the better jobs boards for professionals and those who don’t want to work teaching English.
- CareerJet – In one simple search, Careerjet gives job seekers access to a huge selection of jobs in any sector, across Japan. The job advertisements are sourced from various internet sites, saving job seekers the trouble of having to visit each site individually. If you have a high level of understanding of Japanese, this is the site for you!
- Japan English Teacher – Fact of life: most English speaking foreigners in Japan are or have at one time been employed as an English teacher. This website aims to help find you that job!
- Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program – The official Government program which has been sending foreigners to teach English in Japanese public schools for over two decades. The initial pathway to Japan for many Australians who now work in or with Japan in other capacities.
- Region-specific classifieds – Magazines catering to the expat communities contain classified sections if you’re looking to land a job in a particular region. See Metropolis for Tokyo, Kansai Scene for Osaka and surrounds, and Japazine for Nagoya. If you’re casting your net more widely, check the classifieds in the major newspapers, like The Japan Times.
- Seek – Jobs and internships in the Asia Pacific, you can narrow your search down to ‘Japan’.
- Indeed– Like in your home country, Indeed is widely used by the Japanese community for Job Hunting. So, you can easily find jobs no matter what field you’re in.
Working or studying is only one component of life in Japan- Japan boasts an extremely enticing culture, a rich history, an invigorating nightlife and a vibrant foodie scene. From small little bars and restaurants hidden away in side streets to fancy Michelin star-rated dining, Japan has it all covered.
Before moving to Japan, there are a number of questions you need to ask yourself about what type of accommodation you want to live in. Whether you are moving over for study, work, or for a short-term stay, there are many options you will have to choose from.
Most universities in Japan have residential dormitories that welcome international students. Staying in a dormitory is usually cheaper than living in an apartment, however, dormitories in Japan uphold rules that require dorm residents to follow a wake-up time and/or curfew (around 11pm). Bathrooms and kitchens are commonly shared amongst residents. Dormitories are conveniently located within the university campus’ neighbourhood, making transport to and from school the least of your worries.
Japan’s guarantor system can be a headache for newly-arrived foreigners looking for long-term accommodation in regular apartments. A guarantor (rentai hoshonin) is a person who co-signs the lease to share liability with the tenant. As landlords prefer relatives as guarantors, it is extremely difficult for foreigners to secure accommodation in apartments. On top of this, renting an apartment in Japan usually requires a security deposit (shikikin) and/or key money (reikin) to be paid upfront to the landlord. If you are studying abroad, your host institution may act as your guarantor. If you are working in Japan, you may be able to arrange for your company to act as your guarantor, however, this may be problematic if your company decides to no longer be the guarantor or if you decide to find a new job.
For those who value living alone more than anything, don’t fret! Foreigner-friendly real estate agencies like Sakura House and Oakhouse in Tokyo can help you dodge the unaccommodating inflexibilities of the guarantor system in Japan. These agencies offer directories of all sorts of accommodation (such as apartments, share houses, and dormitories), allowing foreigners to rent apartments with ease of mind. Share houses and gaijin houses are also becoming increasingly popular options amongst Japanese locals and foreigners in Japan. Most of these share houses are located in centralised areas/major cities in Japan. Affordable, fully furnished and convenient, staying in a share house is a great way to develop your network amongst Japanese locals and foreigners – many of whom are young professionals.
If you want a taste of the local community, residing in Japan under a homestay program may be the option for you. Homestays can run from three months to one year, however, short-term stays are also possible. Host families usually provide daily meals to guests. Furthermore, homestay is a great opportunity to improve your Japanese language skills and become accustomed to Japanese culture. You will also experience things you wouldn’t necessarily be able to experience living elsewhere, such as eating okaasan/otoosan‘s flavoursome homemade food! You can find countless homestays in Japan through Homestay.com and Homestay in JAPAN.
Mentors & Peers
Outside of experiencing it for yourself, the best way to get a sense of Japan is through the eyes of others who have lived it. Check out our in-depth discussions with some of these people here.