Teaching English in Japan

Everything you need to know about teaching in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Japan has drawn in English teachers for decades with its ancient culture, diverse and glorious nature, and neon-blazing mega-cities. Whether you want to spend your off hours in an onsen in a small town, a shrine with in-dwelling monkeys, or a trendy club in Shibuya, read on to learn more about the possibility of landing the job that will get you there.



Between $1,700-$2,800 per month



Choose between a bustling metropolis which never sleeps or a laid-back life off of the main island.



Japanese, with some English spoken by younger generations.



Hot summers and cold winters with plenty of snow for skiing!

TEFL Wages in Japan

Entry level wages in Japan have remained stable for some years, and are fairly similar regardless of location or whether the school is a government public school or private eikawa (conversation school).

The three largest private industries (eikawas) are ECC, Gaba, and Aeon, and they advertise heavily. The most popular public K-12 school placement mechanism is the JET program (though positions as an ALT or assistant language teacher can be applied to directly), which is a popular route to take in approaching opportunities in public schools across the country.

Position: Wages:
ALTs in public schools 200,000-250,000 yen p/m
Eikawas 250,000 yen p/m
JET program 280,000 yen p/m
International schools 250,000-500,000 yen p/m
Universities 300,000-600,000 yen p/m

If you have found a job through any of these recruitment methods at an Eikawa, a public school, or a kindergarten, you can expect your wages to start around 200,000-250,000 Yen per month, with opportunities for enterprising teachers to organize private lessons to augment salary (3,000 yen per hour). While base salaries tend to be very similar, working conditions and lifestyle may differ dramatically among these options and between cities and more remote towns.

International Schools may offer higher salaries to those with some experience or a teaching credential. The most highly sought-after jobs in the country are university teaching positions, which often pay very generous salaries. Most of these will be a reward for those willing to earn a master’s degree and gain competency in speaking advanced-level Japanese, or of marrying a local with some family connections.

Overall, Japan offers some of the most competitive wages in the region, and despite high cost of living in the cities, most teachers are still able to save several hundred of dollars per month. On top of the good salaries, the quality of life is also a huge advantage, with Japan having famously good transport, a clean environment and great public services.

Where to teach English in Japan

When you say ‘Japan’ most people will associate it with one of two things: the mega city of Tokyo, and the majesty of Mount Fuji. While that’s true, there’s also a lot more to offer than these two icons of the East.

Here are some of the most popular teaching destinations in Japan:

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Food in Japan

Japan might well have the most iconic and best-known cuisine in Asia. However, from our experience we can tell you that no matter how good that sushi restaurant is in your home city, it’s nothing compared to the real deal – and twice the price!

Real, authentic cuisine in Japan is a way of life, and is taken very seriously. Every step of the journey, from the boats and fields to the plate in front of you has been repeated down family lines over hundreds of years. Here are some of the dishes to look out for:

English teaching requirements in Japan

As with most destinations in Asia, you should be from a native English-speaking country and have a bachelor’s degree in any subject to qualify for a work visa. Though a TESOL or TEFL certificate is not a strict requirement, it is very helpful in competitive markets and can open doors to higher salaries.

Non-native speakers: If you don’t have a passport from the UK/US/CAN/IRE/AUS/NZ/SAyou can still legally teach English in Japan. You can apply to teach through the JET programme, which is a government programme in Japan responsible for hiring teachers for public schools in Japan.

If you don’t meet all these requirements, check out our blog post on tips, or get in touch to find out what other opportunities are available to you.

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