7 Ways to Live in Japan in 2019

  • HOW TO
  • JOBS
  • LIVE and WORK
  • VISA
  • WORK
  • Are you interested in living in Japan? Living in Japan is a dream for many people, but many are not able to make this dream come true because it seems the opportunities are too limited or expensive. This is not true! There are a myriad surprising opportunities to live in Japan for high school students, college students, young professionals, seasoned professionals, and even retirees. This article will help you find the right one.

    1. WWOOF Japan

    WWOOF Japan, or World Wild Opportunities on Organic Farms Japan, is an organization that connects Japanese organic farmers and fishermen with international visitors. Participants work reasonable weekday hours in exchange for accommodation and fresh organic Japanese meals prepared by your hosts. You can expect to learn some Japanese and connect with Japanese citizen volunteers looking escape the busy city life.


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    As the minimum age to participate is just 16 with no upper age limit, WWOOF is a great opportunity for high school students or even retirees. While exchange programs can cost tens of thousands of dollars, one only needs to cover transportation costs to and from host locations in order to participate. As all living costs are covered by your hosts, participants can spend an entire summer break in the beautiful Japanese countryside for less cost than visiting Tokyo for a week.

    The membership cost for WWOOF Japan is only 5,500 yen (roughly $55), and anyone with a tourist visa can participate for a maximum of 90 days. For those looking for an authentic and affordable living experience in Japan and are willing to get dirty, becoming a “WWOOFer” may be the best option for you!

    WWOOF Japan Official Website

    2. Japanese Working Holiday Visa

    If you are a citizen of a participating country*, a Japanese Working Holiday Visa program is one of the best opportunities to live in and explore Japan for an extended period with or without a college degree. Visa holders can enjoy life in Japan for up to a year while working to supplement their travel funds.

    General Requirements:

    1. Between the ages of 18 and 30**
    2. Currently reside in your country of nationality***
    3. Unaccompanied by dependents or children
    4. Good health
    5. No previous issuance of a Japanese Working Holiday Visa
    6. A valid passport and return ticket or sufficient funds for a return ticket
    7. Stated primary intention of vacationing over working and studying
    8. Approximately US$2500

    Requirements differ slightly from country to country, so please follow the link below to find information tailored to your nationality.
    Working Holiday Visa holders are free to take Japanese language courses and work with few restrictions. This is a great way to get the linguistic, cultural, and professional experience that would qualify you to pursue further employment or study in Japan!

    *Unfortunately, citizens of the U.S.A. and Mexico are not eligible to participate in Japan’s Working Holiday Visa program.

    **Citizens of Australia, Canada, and the Republic of Korea must be between the ages of 18 and 25 except with authorized approval for an extension to the age of 30. Citizens of Iceland must be between the ages of 18 and 26.

    ***Citizens of must have a valid HKSAR or British National Overseas passport. Citizens of Taiwan must posses a valid passport of Taiwan.

    ****This fluctuates depending on your country of origin, please check your specific country’s requirements.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Working Holiday Program Official Website

    3. Teach English in Japan

    With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics rapidly approaching, demand for English teachers is high. In order to become an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher), all you need to possess is a bachelor’s degree from a credible university. The most competitive and prestigious program through which to teach English is the government-run JET program (Japan Exchange and Teaching). However, there are many other reputable companies to which you can apply.

    Many programs, such as the JET program, Interac, and AEON, typically place ALTs in rural locations, although a lucky few get rural or suburban placements. Salaries waver around US$22,000, but the lower cost of living in rural Japan affords ALTs a comfortable quality of life. Teaching English is the most secure way for college graduates to live long-term in Japan.

    How to Find a Job as an English Teacher in Japan
    JET Program USA Official Website

    4. Study Abroad in Japan

    If you are a student at a large public or private university, it is very likely that your university offers opportunities to study abroad at the most prestigious universities in Japan. This is the best option for students looking to get academic credit, take intensive Japanese coursework, and experience urban living alongside Japan’s brightest individuals. Check your university’s website for general requirements and available coursework in order to pick the university that best fits your degree plan.


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    If you are a high school student, you have the unique opportunity to study abroad at a Japanese high school. Programs such as AFS and EF arrange homestays with a host family and enrollment in a local Japanese high school for up to a year. The immersion of these programs is often more daunting than studying abroad at a university, where students are likely to be surrounded by other international students. However, you are guaranteed to achieve command over the Japanese language and make local friends you will keep for life. Talk to your advisor for assistance finding the right program for you.

    AFS Official Website
    EF Official Website

    5. Enroll in a Japanese University

    Enrolling in a Japanese university is a great option for those about to graduate from high school or college and are looking to make a definitive commitment to a new life in Japan. Most university programs enroll foreign students in a year or two of intensive Japanese language classes before enrolling in normal university courses.


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    With the ongoing “300000 Foreign Students Plan” offering many financial incentives to prospective students interested in all industries, there is no better time to enroll than now.

    Study in Japan: Comprehensive Guide by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    6. Intern at a Japanese company


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    Internships are not a normal phenomenon in Japan, but some businesses such as CRCC Asia and ICC have programs that pair people with both international and Japanese host companies in their respective industries. These programs can provide housing, professional resources, and cultural activities to interns, although this may very. An internship in Japan is a great way for those looking for an “in” into an industry in Japan outside of teaching English.

    CRCC Asia Tokyo Official Website
    ICC Internship in Japan Official Website

    7. Work in Japan

    If you are a working professional with a specific skillset, there are a myriad of companies looking to hire you. This is because Japan’s aging population and low birthrate is creating a labor shortage that will get more severe in the coming years. Large domestic and international corporations such as Amazon and Google hire foreign workers with competitive salaries and benefits, especially if you have some degree of proficiency in Japanese.

    With a myriad of Japanese employment opportunities comes a myriad of opportunities to live in Japan. Why not make the jump to the next stage of your life?

    Find a Job in Japan

    *Featured Image: PhotoAC