Things you need to know if you want to study and work in Japan

The Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan now and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic makes Japan even more attractive not only for tourists but also for people who want to study or work in Japan.

If you are one of the people who plan to study or work in Japan, here are the things you need to know.

  1. Study Japanese before you jump on the plan
    You will be surprised how hard to communicate with Japanese in English when you first time visit Japan.
    The best investment for your Japan adventure is to learn Japanese before you jump on the plan.
    While some Japanese schools offer a Japanese class for absolute beginners, most Japanese school will require 100 – 150 hours Japanese study and pass the Japanese Language Profesicy test N5 (JLPT N5).
    In some cases, it is required that you have basic Japanese skills (JLPT N5 level) to apply for a student visa.
    If you want to find an internship or work in Japan, then you need at least JLPT N3.
    You can join our Japanese JLPT class and pass JLPT N5 before you go to Japan.
  2. Find a Japanese School that suits your study and life style
    There are many Japanese schools in Japan. While Tokyo has the most Japanese schools there are Japanese schools in other local cities as well.
    Study in Japan is not cheap. The tutor fee is about A$10,000 to A$15,000 per year. The living cost will be about the same. The total cost will be A$20,000 to A$30,000 per year.
    However, there are solutions to reduce the cost and still enjoy your study and living in Japan. We suggest you choose a Japanese school in a local city. Their living cost will be 30 – 50% of Tokyo, and the tutor fee is much cheaper as well.
    Recently, famous Japanese enterpreneur Takafumi Horie said “Time is life, not money”. Do not choose where to study based on your budget, choose where to study based on what kind of Japan experience you like.
    If you want to know how to find a good Japanese school and enjoy your life in Japan, please contact us.
  3. Find a scholarship to support your study in Japan
    There are many kind of scholarship for foreign students who want to learn in Japan. Scholarships from different central and local goverments; scholarships from private organisations and scholarship from schools. Australia government, big companies and some universities also offer scholarships to encourage young Australia to study in Japan.
    Please read our post “How to apply Scholarships for Japan” for more details.
  4. Gain working experience in Japan
    Due to the increasing ageing population, Japan government recently passed new regulation to allow more foreigners to work in Japan.
    If you couldn’t find a job in Australia, you may try to apply for a job in Japan and gain working experience.
    According to the Singapore Newspaper The Strait Times there are tow jobs for every applicant in Tokyo.
    The best way to get working experience is to join the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) programme.
    For more information about JET, please read our post “Want Working Experience in Japan?“.
  5. Respect Japanese culture
    No matter you are visiting Japan, studying in Japan or working in Japan, you are a guest and you should respect the Japanese culture.
    There is too much information about Japanese culture and I listed two articles below for your further reading.
    Culture is not something you can read and memorise, culture is like air, you can only feel it and adapt to it.
    My suggestion is: Respect locals and be yourself.
    At Lyrebird Language Centre, we encourage our students to mimic like a lyrebird. Mimic the language and mimic the culture as well.

Here are two articles that can help you understand more about Japan study and work.

What to know before study abroad in Japan by Mel Hattie

In this blog, Mel talked about her own Japan study experience. The guide she wish she had before she went to study in Japan. My top three points:

  1. English is less common than you might think
  2. Sign up for the JLPT in advance
  3. Culture shock is common

For more details, pleaes read her blog.

Thinking of working in Japan? It is good to know what you’re in for by Rochelle Kopp

Rochelle was one of the forein pionniors who worked for Japanese companies as non-Japanese emploees during Japanese bubble economy (80’s-90’s).

In this article published in “Japan Times” on 30 Jan 2019 Rochelle talked about the positives and the challenges of working in a Japanese company. My top three picks are:


  1. Teamwork
  2. Lack of pigeonholding
  3. Opportunity to learn


  1. The language barrier
  2. A need to read between the lines
  3. Slow to change

For more information, read Rochelle’s article here.

If you need help for study and work in Japan, please feel free to contact us.

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