Planning on moving to Japan for higher studies? Wondering how to finance your expenses during the stay? A part-time job may be the perfect experience to complement your education in Japan – and getting one of these jobs may be easier than you think!
It is estimated that more than 75% of foreign students enroll in part-time jobs while studying. Commonly known as arubaito (アルバイト), these jobs are available for students in a variety of industries with the service sector being prominent, including restaurants, convenience stores, cafes, fast food shops, hotels, teaching jobs, delivery positions, and more.
Part-Time Job Visa Procedure and Work Restrictions
As a student visa holder, you are allowed to work a maximum of 28 hours per week and up to 40 hours during long holidays. But first, you need to apply for the shikakugai-katsudokyoka (engaging in activities other than status qualification) and get permission from the immigration office. Click here for more.
Students are strictly prohibited to work in adult entertainment businesses including nightclubs, izakayas that provide hosts/hostesses for customers, gambling parlors (pachinko slots, mahjong parlors), etc.
Finding a Part-Time Job
In most universities and language schools in Japan, you can find international student advisors who will guide you in finding the perfect job. There are also a number of online job recruitment websites available in multiple languages for you to choose from:
How to Apply
You can either visit one or more of the above recruitment sites and apply online or use popular mobile apps (such as Town Work or Baitoru) and expect a reply within a few days. Some shops also have a poster displayed at the store for vacancies where you can directly call the shop to apply.
Types of Jobs Available
Depending on your Japanese ability, there are a variety of jobs for you to choose from. Even if you are not good with the language and can barely manage a conversation, there are many jobs available for you as long as you are willing to try! You just need to find the type of job you are qualified for!
Beginner Level Japanese (N5)
Packing jobs do not require interactions with customers. You will be directed to follow simple instructions related to packing (i.e. what to put in the box, moving stuff, etc.) which does not require complicated Japanese and can easily be learned by watching other staff. These jobs are usually warehouse work and often provide transportation to all major cities or stations around the area.
Example: bento factories
This job requires a low level of Japanese, as you do not need to interact with customers. Many transportation companies recruit workers to move and sort out their luggage which might involve labor work and overnight shifts, where the hourly wage can be pretty high in comparison to other jobs.
Example: Yamato and Sagawa
- English Teaching
Teaching English is the most common job of many foreign students who are not proficient in Japanese, and the hourly wage can be quite high depending on your ability. Although not necessarily required, basic knowledge of Japanese will be an added advantage.
This includes labor work such as hotel cleaning, bed making, and dishwashing. The job requires a very low level of Japanese, and the barrier to employment is low.
- Delivery Staff
Although delivery staff don’t need to be proficient in Japanese, a conversational knowledge of Japanese can be advantageous. These positions include delivering fast food and other packages to places, and in most cases, you should possess a valid driving license to get hired.
Eg: Uber Eats
Conversational/ Intermediate Level Japanese (N4/N3)
- Convenience Stores
Working in convenience stores is the most common job among many foreign students with a good knowledge of Japanese. Since you will be dealing with many customers on a daily basis, employees are expected to have good conversational skills and some understanding of kanji, as they are required to operate the cash register and deal with customer requests. The work in convenience stores may not be as easy as it seems, with tasks such as making utility bill payments and arranging home deliveries.
Eg: Lawson, Family Mart, Seven-Eleven
- Restaurants and Cafes
Restaurants and café work may not be so complicated compared to convenience stores, especially if you are working in the kitchen which only requires a conversational knowledge of Japanese. However, for the hall staff (such as servers and bartenders) you need to have a high level of Japanese as you will be mostly interacting with customers and fellow Japanese staff while taking orders and serving.
- Store Staff
Work in retail stores is highly recommended for applicants with a high level of Japanese as it includes a lot of paperwork, listing and tracking items, and interacting with customers.
Eg: Yoshinoya, Daiso, Clothing stores
Advanced Level Japanese (N2 or higher)
Many hotels, gyms, department stores, and studios recruit foreigners proficient in Japanese for their receptionist and floor staff positions. You should be able to fluently handle conversations with customers and explain the services offered. Proficiency in multiple languages including English is an added advantage if you are planning to apply for these kinds of jobs.
- Call Center Agent
Call center agents will be answering phone calls from Japanese people and will be helping them with their inquiries. Complicated as it seems, the hourly wage for the job is really high. A native level of Japanese with a basic knowledge of computers is required to apply.
Part-Time Job in Japan: An Invaluable Experience for Students
It is always recommended for students to work for at least a few hours per week. This will be the best way to improve your Japanese skills and to become culturally fluent. Part-time jobs in Japan teach you many local customs and are one of the best ways to get acquainted with the rules and regulations related to work in Japan. If you are planning to work in Japan after your studies, your work in arubaito will have been a priceless experience for your job hunting!
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