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Teaching English in Japan

Recently, teaching English in Japan has become a popular way to experience Japan. With its rich culture and delicious food, Japan is an interesting country to live in. If you are interested in teaching English in Japan and would like to know what kind of jobs there are and what to expect, this article is for you!

1. Reasons teaching English in Japan is popular

With its unique culture, long history and delicious foods, Japan attracts many visitors from abroad. You will get paid while really getting to immerse in Japanese culture.

2. Different English teaching positions in Japan

English teachers are in high demand in Japan now, as there are not a lot of people that can speak English fluently but it is needed for work. There is a high chance that you will need to work longer hours than you did back home, as the Japanese tend to work long hours in general. There are mainly four different positions in Japan that you can apply to.

1. The JET (Japan exchange and teaching) program

These programs are run by the Japanese government and have been around since the late 1980s. This is one of the highest paid choices you have. Native English speakers will be hired as an ALT (Assistant Language Teacher). You will teach students in public or private schools in Japan. You will work for 35 hours a week from Monday to Friday. Your first year, you will earn about 27,000 dollars and your pay will increase every year you renew your contract.

The application process for JET is known to take a long time. You will submit your initial documents between October and early December. If you are accepted, you will be placed in a school in July of the following year.

2. Private schools

There are private companies such as AEON, ECC and Berlitz that hire teachers. Children of Japan take lessons outside of their schools to learn English. Adults take classes to learn English for work or for self-improvement.

You will work longer hours than you would if you were an ALT, but you will be paid better.

3. Public schools

Some public schools recruit privately and not use the JET programs. There are organizations that arrange this. Like the ALTs, you will work about 30-35 hours a week and only on weekdays. Qualification requirements depend on the company.

4. Private lessons

Private lessons are becoming more common. Lessons are often given one-on-one in cafes. The classes are held this way because it is safer to attend classes in public places for students. There are no qualification requirements of course, but you will need to find students yourself and make sure your work is compatible with your immigration status.

A good point is, you can choose where and when you work.

3. Salaries and benefits

On average, English teachers make about 1,700 dollars to 5,000 dollars monthly. However, the money you make depends on your position and what kind of school you work at.

Common benefits a teacher gets is

  • housing
  • flight reimbursement
  • transportation passes
  • Cell phone SIM cards
  • free lunch at schools

4. How to get a job

-when to apply-

The two main seasons are from January to March and from June to August.  This is because the school year in Japan starts in April and a semester usually starts in September.


To teach English in Japan, you need a working visa. A lot of language schools will sponsor your visa application so be sure to check with yours. You will usually need a Bachelor’s degree (any major is fine) to get your visa. If you are a partner country of Japan, you can apply for a working holiday visa as well.  It will let you work part time.

-Common Requirements-

  • Having a bachelor’s degree: Any major is ok! If you are hoping to become a teacher in College, you will usually need a master’s degree.
  • Native English speaker: You must be a native from the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.
  • CELTA/TEFL qualification: This is usually preferred but if you have one, you will have a higher chance of getting paid more than you would if you didn’t.
  • Teaching experience (Preferred)
  • International driver’s license: Some companies ask their employees to drive themselves to several schools to teach. For these jobs, you will need to have a driver’s license.
  • A clean criminal record
  • Pass a health exam and drug test

5. Cost of living 

You might be wondering what it is really like to live in Japan as an English teacher. Japan is not a cheap country to live in, but you should have no trouble paying for the expenses if you work as an English teacher.


if accommodation is not included in your contract you will have to pay for rent. The living costs are usually around 45000-70000 yen per month, depending on where you are staying and what kind of accommodation you are staying in. You should expect to pay more if you are going to live in Tokyo. Share houses and guest houses are always an option. They are usually cheaper and easier to find if you live in the city.


Of course it depends on if you cook for yourself or eat out and how much you eat, but you should expect 40,000-55,000 yen a month.

-Electricity and Plumbing-

The average Japanese person who lives alone spends about 2,000 yen on water and about 6,000 yen on electricity. 

6. Closing

Teaching can be a very fulfilling job and teaching English in Japan will let you really experience Japanese culture while working.


[1] “Teach English in Japan”, Go overseas, retrieved 2022/12/6 from

[2] “How to Get a Job Teaching English in Japan”, Go overseas, Jacqueline Peveto, retrieved 2022/12/6 from

[3] “The 7 Best Cities to Teach Abroad in Japan”, Go overseas, Carey Finn, retrieved 2022/12/6 from

[4] “The 8 best programs to teach English in Japan (not just the JET program!)”, techaway, 

Alvy Carragher, retrieved 2022/12/6 from 

[5] “What Are The Basic Requirements To Teach English in Japan?”, ITA blog, Chelsea Hendrickx retrieved 2022/12/6 from

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