Is It Hard To Get A Job In Japan As A Foreigner?

Working and living in Japan has become an exciting dream for a lot of people around the world.

Japan’s beautiful culture and awe-inspiring cities have made the country highly attractive to foreigners.

But is it hard for a foreigner to find a job in Japan to make this dream a reality?

in short:

The difficulty level of finding a job in Japan as a foreigner can depend on specific aspects such as your education, your work experience, and the demand for your field of work in the country. It can be easy if you have a degree and good work experience in a highly demanded area. 

  • What jobs are popular for foreigners in Japan?
  • Do you need to speak fluent Japanese to work in Japan?

Let us review these questions and other information to help you understand this process better. 

Is It Difficult To Get A Job In Japan As A Foreigner?

The answer to this question is: yes and no.

The difficulty level of finding a job in Japan as a foreigner depends on a few aspects, including your education, language abilities, and the demand or lack thereof for your particular skill set. 

If you have a degree in a business sector with a great demand for your skills, the process can be pretty easy, with the only drawn-out process being getting your working visa, which can be challenging.

However, you may not find a job in Japan as easily if you do not have a degree. 

Suppose you have a multi-lingual degree, meaning you can speak Japanese and your native language well.

In that case, you may be in demand in multiple business sectors as Japanese companies want people who can communicate well with other companies in different countries, which can help broaden their business prospects. 

Experience in specific fields is also a significant factor in getting a job in Japan as a foreigner.

This is because the companies in Japan only want to hire experienced workers that they will not need to train themselves. (Here is a list of the most commons jobs in Japan)

In Japan, you need at least five years of working experience in your field to be considered a professional, so if you have five years of experience or higher, your chances of getting hired have increased.

If you do not have dual language skills and do not have a degree or experience in a business field, your chances of finding a job in Japan are slim to none. 


As a foreigner, there are plenty of available jobs, given that you have the right degrees and some experience.

However, some jobs in Japan attract more foreign workers than others. Let us go over the most popular jobs among foreigners in Japan.

Working As An Interpreter/Translator

There is always a need for language translation in Japan, not just between English and Japanese, but also for other languages.

Many of these translation jobs are in Japan’s colossal gaming sector, as game localization and testing are needed in multiple languages.

Interpreters and translators can also freelance in Japan, including translating written works and assisting business people visiting Japan

Working As An IT Professional

Many Japanese companies hire foreign IT professionals like software programmers and engineers.

This sector is the second most common sector for foreigners to work in Japan, with the first teaching English.

This is because very little Japanese language ability is required in most of these IT jobs. 

Working As Service Staff

For this job, you are still required to speak passable Japanese as you will still need to interact with Japanese people, but it is possible to find work in the service industry as a foreigner.

The places where foreigners can find a job in this field include resorts and hotels and cafes/restaurants in tourist areas. 

These places will most likely hire foreigners for their dual-language skills, which would be an asset to their business.   

Finding A Job In Japan As A Foreigner


To work in Japan, you must have the proper requirements to qualify for a working visa.

The requirements are a degree, a valid passport, and a job already lined up. You will need to liaise with the Japanese embassy in your country.

So, how do you find a job in Japan to help with your visa? First, you need to get a degree in your chosen business field.

Once you have this, you need some work experience to make the process easier. 

Then you can use job-finding websites such as or These websites are an excellent resource for foreigners looking for jobs in Japan, as you can apply through them. 

Another way to find a job is to contact businesses in Japan in your field and contact them directly to see if they are hiring. 

You will need a degree and a TEFL certificate from a registered TEFL course to teach English in Japan.

Once you have these, the place where you studied for your TEFL qualification usually has a job board that you can look at, and they might be able to help place you at a school in Japan. 

Do I Need To Speak Japanese To Work In Japan?

If you want to work in Japan, learning Japanese will probably be a must, but this does not mean you need to speak it fluently before you go. There are plenty of jobs in Japan that require other languages, especially English. 

So, if you are a fluent English speaker, this can be an excellent asset when seeking jobs in Japan. Let us go through some jobs where English is a requirement.

Teaching English In Schools As A Foreign Langauge

This is often called TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and is essential to Japanese schools.

If you want to enter Japan’s business sector, knowing how to speak English is a must, and it is an attractive language to add to your resume.

This is because Japanese businesses like to do business with Western countries, which requires a good understanding of English.

For this reason, millions of Japanese people want to learn English, and almost all of these students prefer to learn English from a native speaker.

You do need to ensure that you take a TEFL course before you start applying for this kind of job as this will show that you are adept in English and will have some credentials behind your name in the subject. 

Jobs In Tourism

This is another business sector where being able to speak English may help you find a job. This is because a large number of visitors that go to Japan are from English-speaking countries.

Although they make up a small amount compared to other Asian countries, the number is still significant. 

The United States alone had 195,000 visitors to Japan in the first two months of 2019. This is a rise of over 12% compared to previous years.

While not all these visitors are tourists, as some are there for business, many people go there to visit. Tourist-oriented companies always look for fluent English speakers to help communicate with these visitors.

Jobs In The Digital Economy

Japan has a vast technology business sector; the scale of this sector makes it the most crucial center in Asia for IT.

The size of this sector means that large companies like Amazon and Google have a significant presence in the country. 

If you have the skills for this sector, you can try to get a job with one of these companies where English is still the working language, even in Japan.

Learning Japanese in this sector may still be necessary, but you can take a bit more time to learn the language.

You may be in high demand if you can act as a bridge to English-speaking countries through this sector.


Finding a job in Japan as a foreigner can be challenging if you do not have the excellent skill set the country seeks.

But in some cases, it can be pretty straightforward, and with some jobs, you may not even need to learn Japanese to apply for the job, making the challenging process a little bit easier for foreigners. Good luck with your job hunt in Japan! 

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