How to Find and Survive Part-time Jobs In Japan? – 2021 Guide For Foreign Students

Working part-time is the best way for international students to immerse themselves in Japanese society and culture. Besides, part-time jobs in Japan can help students earn a decent wage and improve Japanese tremendously in a short time. So, more and more foreign students want to expand their experience in Japan beyond just education. This article will be an ultimate guide on how international students can find and survive part-time jobs in Japan.

1. Working Regulations For International Students

1.1.Working Permission

While people with a visa status of “Temporary Visitor”, “Cultural Activities”, “Trainee” are not allowed to work, “College Student” and “Dependent” visa holders can work part-time as long as they successfully obtain a permit from the immigration office. This permission is called Shikakugai-katsudokyoka (Engaging in Activities other than Status Qualification). It will be valid until your visa expires. After that, just extend your visa as well as the permission.

parttime jobs in japan

To get a working permit, foreign students visit the Regional Immigration Bureau, provide passport, and fill out a form.

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The procedure to get permission is quite simple. You visit the Regional Immigration Bureau, provide your passport, and fill out a form. Or you submit the form at the airports such as Narita International Airport, Kansai International Airport, Tokyo International Airport … Both ways charge nothing.

1.2.Working Hours Restriction

There is a limitation to the hours a “College Student” visa owner can work. Breaking the rules may cause severe punishments, ranging from penalty fees to deportation. Check out the detailed limitation below:

1.3.Workplaces Restriction

Students are also punished if being found to work in gambling businesses or adult entertainment businesses. The list of forbidden workplaces includes nightclubs, bars, pachinko parlors …

Students can’t work at bars or nightclubs.

2. Popular Part-time jobs in Japan for International Students

2.1  Elementary Japanese level

Sorting and Packing Part-time Jobs

Many sorting and packing or transport companies like Yamato and Sagawa employ foreign students for these jobs because they involve little communication with customers. Instead, the task is mainly about sorting, inspecting, packing the commodities, and then seal them. The commodities range from groceries, goods, clothing to food. Normally, the workplace is located in a warehouse to which the companies give free bus rides.

Pros: high availability and low requirement, easy money

Cons: little help on improving Japanese level

Wage: ¥1,100 ($10) per hour (probably higher for night shift)

Sorting and packing part-time jobs for international students:

Food Delivery Part-time Jobs

Due to the covid-19 epidemic, the food delivery industry and delivery apps have never thrived so much. The need for drivers is huge so foreign students can easily land this type of job as long as they own an international driving license or a license from these following countries including Switzerland, Germany, France, Taiwan, Belgium, Slovenia, Monaco. Note that the license needs to be translated to Japanese by an authorized organization. If you work for Uber Eats, you can drive bicycles that require no license. Regarding the vehicles, the companies usually provide them. One thing to keep in mind is that tips are not common in Japan so don’t ask for tips.

Pros: flexible working time

Cons: no tips, working outside

Wage: ¥1000 ($9) – ¥1200 ($11) per hour

Food Delivery Part-time Jobs for International Students:

Hotel Cleaning Part-time Jobs

Another job that doesn’t require Japanese is the cleaning and bed-making staff in the hotel. If you stay in central Tokyo, there are a lot of luxurious hotels to work in, for example, Hilton or the Grand Hyatt . During semester breaks, you can seek jobs in hotels further in the suburbs or countryside such as Niseko (beautiful snow in winter), Okinawa resorts (nice weather in summer).

Pros: high availability and low requirement, delicious food, and nice stay, travel opportunity on breaks

Cons: little help on improving Japanese level

Wage: ¥1000 ($9) – ¥1200 ($11) per hour

Hotel Cleaning Part-time Jobs for International Students:

Go Kart Driver Part-time Jobs

Even though the slots for this job are limited, it is an extremely fun job in Tokyo. Go Kart is fun itself so many tourists visiting Tokyo want to experience it but it is impossible for them to drive without an accepted driver’s license. Therefore, if you have a license here, you can apply for a driver or tour guide position. This job also usually involves dressing up like game characters. One problem is there is no recruitment page but you can check on GaijinPot as sometimes they put go-kart ads here.

Pros: fun, travel around Tokyo

Cons: limited, not available during social distancing

Wage: ¥950 ($8) – ¥1,100($9) per hour

2.2 Intermediate Japanese Level 

Apparel Store Staff Part-time Jobs in Tokyo

Retail or apparel stores need cashiers and other sales staff to interact with customers mainly international tourists. Some common stores are electronic and clothing. Besides sales tasks, listing and tracking goods are part of everyday tasks by store staff.

Pros: high availability

Cons:

Wage: ¥1000 ($9) – ¥1200 ($11)  an hour

Store Staff Jobs for International Students:

Cafe/Barista and Restaurant Part-time Jobs

Many students like working in the Café where they can make tasty coffees, welcome, and serve young customers. But cleaning the floor, washing dishes, and registering sales are some of the responsibilities too. Moreover, there are a lot of restaurants ranging from traditional Japanese ramen to modern dining out, which opens the door for foreigners to work as kitchen staff or waiters.

Pros: training and knowhow about the hospitality industry, free coffee,  food discounts, and even transportation expenses

Cons: may require experience, interview in Japanese, ability to write in Japanese

Wage: ¥990 ($9) – ¥1200 ($11) per hour

Cafe/Barista and Restaurant Jobs for International Students:

Convenience Store Clerk Part-time Jobs in Tokyo

If you prefer flexible working hours, a convenience store clerk is a suitable choice since the store opens 24/7. However, good command of Japanese is a must to handle customers’ queries.

Pros: flexible schedule

Cons: Japanese proficiency requirement especially Kanji, facing different types of customers

Wage: ¥1000 ($10) – ¥1300 ($12)  per hour

Convenience Store Jobs for International Students:

2.3 Upper-intermediate to Advanced Japanese Level 

Hotel, studio, or gym receptionist

The duty of these jobs comprises of stating the services and communicate polite Japanese confidently with customers. It is especially demanding when it comes to grand hotels. Please note that in the Japanese services industry, omotenashi (‘wholehearted hospitality), is really important. So, language is not enough, a person who can be picked should have good manners and ethics.

Pros: Professional workplace

Cons: Japanese proficiency and manner requirement

Wage: ¥1000 ($10) – ¥1200 ($11)  per hour

Hotel Receptionist Jobs for International Students:

Interpreter Jobs

Bilingual Japanese and English can make use of this advantage to get a high-paid translator job. Whether spoken or written translation, this job usually offers a flexible schedule and workplace as many interpreters work at home.

Pros: High wage rate, flexible schedule, and workplace

Cons: Advanced Japanese proficiency (at least N2)

Wage: ¥1,500 ($14)  – ¥3,100 ($28) per hour

2.4. Foreign Language jobs

English Teacher

English is considered the international language that everyone needs to know. Therefore, students from English speaking countries can make use of their mother tongue to earn money in Japan through English teacher part-time jobs. No matter teaching children or adults, English teachers get paid well. Even though, some schools will require English teaching certificates, for instance, TESOL or even teaching experience; others welcome freshers. But you still have to go through some essential recruitment steps such as paragraph writing, interview, and demo class.

Pros: High wage rate, high availability

Cons: not available during social distancing

Wage: ¥1,100 ($10) – ¥2000 ($19) per hour

English Teachers Jobs for International Students:

Other Language Teacher (Chinese, French …)

Even if English is not your strength, there are always other jobs vacancy for Chinese, French, Spanish … speakers. But it is certainly not as available as English, which means you will find it harder to seek such jobs.

Chat Host at English Cafe Part-time Jobs

In case, you fail to land an English teaching job in professional institutions, you can tutor at an English café. The business model of English café is that customers can access not only drinks but also the hosts who are English speakers. The hosts will act as conversation facilitators, focus on practicing speaking skills for customers.

Pros: Easy to get hired

Cons: lower salary than normal English teacher, inconsistent income

Wage: ¥1,000 ($9) – ¥1,300 ($12) per hour

Chat Host at English Cafe Part-time Jobs for International Students:

2.5. Other jobs

Modeling

Many agencies like foreign models for products, magazines,s or even TV commercials. Modeling is typically high-paid but the competition is high too. This is also a complicated industry, sometimes, you will end up with scam campaigns that make you pay for makeup or even overdue the wage. So it is vital to do research in advance.

Pros: High wage rate

Cons: high competition, inconsistent income

Wage: Dependent (Magazine work can earn up to ¥10,000 – ¥20,000 per shoot)

Modeling Part-time Jobs for International Students:

Freelance Tour Guide Jobs

For a travel guru, no job is more perfect than showing people around the best destinations in Japan. All you need is maybe English proficiency, intermediate Japanese, good knowledge about Japan, and definitely a good sense of direction. However, it requires a lot of transportation and traveling so it can probably affect the study.

Pros: Traveling free

Cons: Traveling too much, not available during social distancing

Wage: Dependent

Links to Travel Guide Positions

3. How to find part-time jobs in Japan

You can usually access these job sites via web or mobile app. These job sites not only optimize the searching process but also allow you to apply online which is pretty convenient. A few days after your application, the employer will call you and arrange the interview.

4. How to survive part-time jobs in Japan

4.1. Memorandum about the working hours and working conditions

Unfortunately, many businesses in Japan traditionally don’t take the initiative to provide working contracts for part-timers. Therefore, employees should ask for it themselves to protect their rights. After the interview, some basic information should be recorded including working time, wage, payment time, contact person details … Furthermore, you should keep track of the payment and the hours to work too. These types of records will prevent any possible misunderstanding and trouble.

4.2. Inform the boss of absence or late arrival

Even though it is just a part-time job, it doesn’t mean you can let yourself easy and be late for no good reason. You should be punctual and hard-working. If you have to take a day off or be a little late, ask for permission or at least contact the boss beforehand.

4.3. Pay Tax

International students who work part-time will have to pay two sorts of taxes. The first one is Income tax (or National tax) which is deducted from wages by your employers. This is because they will pay the tax to the department of revenue on behalf of you. The rate ranges from 10% – 20% depending on the annual income. During the period between February 16 and March 15, taxpayers need to report to the National revenue office by filling out a form. The officers there normally are kind enough to guide foreign students through the procedures. The second tax is “Local municipal tax” which is also calculated by the National revenue office. But the local offices will be the ones to charge you.

4.4 Contact Consulting Offices In case of accidents or troubles

If there is an unresolvable dispute with employers or unexpected accidents, the best place to contact is the Bureau of labor offices. In Tokyo, for example, international students can pay a visit to Labor Consultation Information Center and receive free consultations during office hours on weekdays. Find more details on the center website: http://www.hataraku.metro.tokyo.jp/soudan-c/center/e/

FAQs

Do international students usually have part-time jobs in Japan?

Yes. Over 75% of international students in Japan work part-time.

Are there other ways for international students to find a part-time job in Japan?

Yes. At any school, there is usually a bulletin board for job postings. Besides, universities or colleges have a Job placement office as part of their affairs or welfare section. Students can visit the office to get introduced to different exclusive jobs.

What is the hourly rate for a part-time job?

Approximately ¥1,000 ($9). But it will be much higher if the working hours are later than 10 pm.

How to avoid fraud or job scams?

First, be aware of some symptoms belonging to scams such as misspellings errors in job advertisements, personal contact email, monetary deposit, or asking for your bank account information. Secondly, don’t trust easy money schemes and only find jobs from reliable sources.

About Yuu Sato

Yuu Hiasa has been working in hospitality industry since 2003. In the past, he used to work as a tour guide and now he is running his business of supplying comfortable accommodations in Japan. Thanks to this experience and his passion for writing blog, the articles by him provides awesome tips and things to do when you are traveling in the country of cherry blossoms.