Are you an international student looking to gain work experience in Japan after graduation? Japan’s advanced economy, diverse culture, and wide range of job opportunities offer many possibilities for international students. However, finding a job in a foreign country can be daunting. You need to be aware of the immigration procedures and bureaucratic hurdles needed to make your move a success.

If you are looking to kickstart your career as an international student in Japan, then you have come to the right place. Let’s look at some of the job opportunities available for international students who wish to stay and work in Japan after graduation and the requirements needed.

Do You Need a Visa to Work in Japan?

Yes. international students need a valid working visa to work legally in Japan. Upon graduation, the student visa status will become invalid, requiring them to change the residence status from student to ‘Designated Activities’ status. The Designated Activities visa is suitable for international students intending to extend their stay for one year and engage in general work. It also allows international students to engage in entrepreneurial activities to extend their stay for two years.

There is also an option of applying for the Highly Skilled Professional visa reserved for foreign professionals with outstanding abilities and credentials for up to five years, or the Working Holiday visa available to citizens of certain countries between the ages of 18 and 30. It is a temporary visa that allows you to stay in Japan for up to one year and is ideal for students who want to travel and explore the country while looking for a permanent job.

To qualify for this extension, you must change your residence status and have proof, like a letter of recommendation from the university you were enrolled in, certifying the completion of a degree program with them and indicating your intention to stay in Japan for employment purposes.

In-Demand Job Opportunities in Japan

International students in Japan can find job opportunities, from part-time to full-time employment. Some of the popular options include:

1. English Tutor or Teaching Assistant

English Teaching Assistant is a favorite job among international students with great native English-speaking ability. It’s one of the work opportunities in Japan that has a high demand. Most positions are found through private language schools, though some public schools offer them. Hours for this type of job are usually flexible, making it a good option for international students looking for a footing in the Japanese labor market. The salary range for an ETA position ranges between JP¥2500 to JP¥3500 per hour.

Your responsibilities as an English Teaching Assistant include planning, developing, and implementing English lesson plans that follow the established guidelines and meet the needs of the students. Graduates from native English-speaking countries or those with a degree in English or Education are preferred for this role. Having a TEFL or TESOL certification is an added advantage.

For example, graduates with a bachelor of Education degree from the University of Tokyo or those who have gone through the English for Liberal ARTS Progam from International Christian University would find this role a fit.

One can also work as an English tutor. You could teach Japanese students interested in learning English and willing to pay for private tutoring. Average salaries for this role are ¥2,000 – ¥3,000 per hour for private tutoring and up to ¥5,000 per hour for group classes.

2. Hospitality Staff

Another option for international students is working in the hospitality industry. You can work in a hotel, restaurant, or even as a tour guide. The job requires a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management or Intercultural Studies and Tourism, good spoken English, and the ability to work well with people from other cultures. Hours for this type of work are often quite flexible, making it a good option for international students.

Working in a hotel or restaurant will require you to have conversational Japanese as you will be working with local customers. As you will likely work closely with Japanese staff who cannot speak your language, you need to be confident with your Japanese language level.

Salaries for hospitality jobs vary depending on the employer but are typically in the range of ¥1,000 to ¥1,500 per hour.

3. Nursing

The increasing demand for healthcare, the ongoing world health crisis, and the aging Japanese population have driven high demand for nurses in Japan. Institutions like Shukutoku University or Tokyo Medical University offer programs like a degree in nursing which is a minimum requirement for this role. However, after graduation, you must pass the national board exam for nurses in Japan before being allowed to practice nursing.

Your responsibilities include; assessing a patient’s needs and offering the best possible advice or care, clearly interpreting patients’ symptoms and liaising with the physicians to find a solution, and generally working with other doctors and specialists to devise personalized care plans that meet each patient’s needs. You also need to have comprehension and conversational Japanese language skills as you will be interfacing with Japanese patients and colleagues.

With a nursing background, one could also work as a researcher, a nursing assistant, or an educator for various medical facilities, nursing homes, or clinics across the country. Nurses in Japan are paid an average of ¥418,000 per month.

4. International Business Consultant

Many international corporations in Japan are looking for bilingual graduates to work as International Business Consultants. The activities for this role include providing comprehensive consulting services to clients in International business strategy, operations, and market entry. If you’re looking forward to working in this kind of field, this job opportunity in Japan will surely fit your taste.

To succeed in this role, you need a background in Business Administration, like a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Business from Temple University or the University of Toyama, or a related field. You also need to have an eye for the global markets and identify risks associated with international business ventures or opportunities for growth. This opportunity can lead to an even longer stay in Japan if your employer applies for your extension and if you meet the necessary eligibility criteria.

The average salary for an entry-level International Business Consultant in Japan is JP¥6,169,621 per year. For example, the average salary for a Deloitte consultant in Japan is JP¥7,271,264 per year.

5. IT and Programming Engineers

You can expect to work as a systems engineer or an applications engineer. As a system engineer, your roles include designing, developing, and maintaining computer systems and networks. You will ensure that systems are efficient and secure and meet users’ needs. As an Applications Engineer, your roles include developing and maintaining software applications. You will have to work closely with businesses to understand their needs and develop solutions that meet them.

To succeed in these roles, you need a strong understanding of computer science and engineering principles. Institutions like Kyushu University and Chiba Institute of Technology offer programs like Engineering and Technology, Computer Science, and Applied Data Science which are the primary requirements for this role. You also need to be able to code in multiple programming languages and have excellent problem-solving skills. Being fluent in Japanese is an added advantage, as most IT and programming jobs in Japan are based in Japanese companies. As new technologies emerge, you must be able to adapt and learn new programming languages and frameworks.

With Japan’s IT industry contributing to about 3% of the world’s IT market, IT remains one of Japan’s lucrative industries with rising demand for IT graduates. Salaries for IT programmers and engineers vary depending on experience and skill level. Entry-level salaries typically start at around 4 million yen per year and can increase to 6 million yen or more with more experience.


There are many work opportunities in Japan after graduation for international students as long as they meet the set visa requirements and possess the required job skills. With the right qualifications, research, and resources, international students in Japan can find the perfect job opportunity that suits their needs!


We hope this article on work opportunities in Japan for international students was informative and helpful. For more information about studying in Japan, feel free to check out the Japan Study Page. If you are unsure about what to study, you can start by perusing these open courses to explore your study options.

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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