How to get a TEFL job in Japan – The amazing ‘how to’ guide you can’t miss

TEFL Japan

If you’re looking for an exciting and challenging teaching opportunity, Japan may be the perfect destination. Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) in Japan can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to understand the process of finding a job and what to expect once you’re there. In this blog post, we’ll provide an overview of the TEFL job market in Japan and offer some tips on how to find the right position for you. So if you’re ready to embark on an adventure in one of the most fascinating countries in the world, read on!

Why is teaching English in Japan so good?

There are many reasons why teaching English in Japan can be such a great experience. For starters, the country is rich in history and culture, and there’s plenty to see and do both inside and outside the classroom. The people are also incredibly friendly and welcoming, which makes the transition to life in Japan much easier. Additionally, as an English teacher in Japan, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about and experience a different way of life. And of course, let’s not forget the financial benefits – teaching English in Japan is a great way to earn a good salary and save money.

If you get a TEFL job in Japan you’ll be able to:

  • Experience a different culture
  • Learn about a new way of life
  • Make new friends
  • Earn a good salary
  • Save money

There are so many interesting things to do in Japan that you might not expect, like riding a bullet train, exploring ancient temples, or eating delicious sushi! Japan is also a very safe country, which is another big plus for anyone considering teaching there.

How much do TEFL teachers in Japan earn?

The salary you can expect to earn as an English teacher in Japan will depend on a number of factors, including your qualifications, experience, and the type of position you’re applying for. That said, most TEFL teachers in Japan can expect to earn between ¥200,000 and ¥600,000 per month (approximately $1700 – 5000 USD) before taxes. In addition to your salary, many schools will also provide their teachers with free or discounted housing, airfare reimbursement, and health insurance. If you do private tutoring outside of school hours you can expect to earn about ¥3,000 – 5,000 ($25 – 40 USD) per hour.

What requirements are needed to get a TEFL job in Japan?

There are a few things you’ll need in order to get a TEFL job in Japan. Firstly, you’ll need to have a university degree, which can be in any discipline and be a native English speaker. You’ll also need a TEFL certificate (120 hours or more), however you could also consider having a CELTA or DELTA qualification to improve your employment chances in a competitive market. Some higher level jobs will actually have CELTA as a minimum requirement.

Additionally, it’s always helpful to have some prior teaching experience, even if it’s just a few months in your home country.

There are a few other things that will make you more attractive to potential employers, such as being able to speak Japanese (even at a basic level), having an understanding of Japanese culture, and being willing to commit to a one-year contract.

Additionally, some schools will require evidence that you have a clean criminal record and are in good physical health.

You’ll need to obtain a work visa before you can start working in Japan, and your employer will usually help you with this process.

What is the job market like for ESL teachers in Japan?

The job market for English teachers in Japan is relatively good, especially if you’re a native speaker with a university degree and a TEFL certificate. However, the competition can be tough, so it’s important to make your application stand out. In addition to the qualifications and requirements mentioned above, many schools will also be looking for candidates who are outgoing, friendly, and culturally sensitive.

Can I get a TEFL job in Japan if I have tattoos?

In Japan tattoos are not as socially accepted as they are in other Western countries, so it’s important to be aware of that before you apply for a job. That said, there are some schools that are more tolerant of tattoos than others, so it’s definitely worth doing your research before you start applying for jobs.

Having visible tattoos in Japan is generally seen as taboo and can limit your employment opportunities, so if you have them it’s important to be prepared to cover them up while you’re working. Many teachers use long-sleeved shirts, Band-Aids, or medical tape to cover their tattoos while they’re teaching.

At the end of the day, it’s up to the individual school to decide whether or not they’re willing to hire someone with tattoos. If you’re really set on teaching in Japan, it might be worth applying to a few different schools to see what their policy is.

It’s also important to note that some establishments will not allow those with visible tattoos to enter, such as some Onsens (hot springs), gyms, and pools.

What is the best time of year to look for a TEFL job in Japan?

The best time to look for a TEFL job in Japan is generally from March to June, as that’s when most schools are hiring for the following academic year. However, it’s always worth checking with individual schools to see when their hiring process starts, as it can vary from school to school.

Additionally, many schools will also hire teachers mid-year to fill vacant positions, so it’s worth checking in with schools throughout the year to see if there are any openings.

What are the most common types of TEFL jobs in Japan?

The most common types of TEFL jobs in Japan are teaching positions at private language schools, known as eikaiwas. These schools typically cater to students of all ages, from young children to adults, and offer a variety of classes, such as conversation classes, business English classes, and exam preparation classes.

Other common types of TEFL jobs in Japan include teaching positions at universities, colleges, and private companies. These positions usually require a higher level of qualifications and experience, but can be very rewarding.

Finally, there are also a number of volunteer TEFL positions available in Japan, such as teaching English to Buddhist monks or working with refugees. These positions are often unpaid, but provide a great opportunity to give back to the community and gain some valuable teaching experience.

What is the application process like for TEFL jobs in Japan?

The application process for TEFL jobs in Japan can vary depending on the school or organization you’re applying to, but there are a few things that are usually required. These include a resume, a cover letter, a recent photo, and copies of your university degree and TEFL certificate. In some cases, you may also be asked to provide letters of recommendation or a writing sample.

Once your application is submitted, it’s common for schools to conduct a telephone/Skype interview before inviting you to an in-person interview. If everything goes well, you’ll then be offered the job and asked to sign a contract. It’s always a good idea to read over the contract carefully before signing it, as it will outline your rights and responsibilities as an employee.

What are the most common problems that TEFL teachers face in Japan?

One of the most common problems that TEFL teachers face in Japan is cultural adjustment. It can take some time to get used to living in a new country with a different culture, and it’s not uncommon for teachers to experience homesickness or culture shock.

Other common problems include long working hours, challenging students, and difficult working conditions. For example, many schools in Japan do not have air conditioning, which can be very uncomfortable during the hot summer months.

There can also be a lot of pressure to meet students’ expectations, as they often have high hopes for their English classes. This can be tough to deal with, but it’s important to remember that everyone learns at a different pace and that not every student will be able to reach the same level.

Despite the challenges, there are also many great things about TEFL jobs in Japan. These include the opportunity to live in an amazing country with a rich culture, the chance to learn a new language, and the opportunity to save up some money.

Additionally, many TEFL teachers find that their students are motivated and eager to learn, which makes teaching a very rewarding experience. And finally, working as a TEFL teacher in Japan can open up doors to other opportunities, such as travel writing, teaching online, or working in education administration.

TEFL Japan

What are the most common scams for TEFL jobs in Japan?

There are a few common scams that target people looking for TEFL jobs in Japan. One of the most common is the “employer” who asks for money upfront in order to secure a job. These types of scams are usually easily avoided by doing some research on the company or school before you apply, and only applying to reputable organizations.

Sometimes a bad school will try and trick you into working longer hours for less money than you agreed to in your contract. If this happens, it’s important to stand your ground and remind them of what you agreed to. If they still refuse to comply, you can contact your embassy or the local labor board for help.

There are also a few scams that target newly arrived teachers, such as offering “free” housing in exchange for teaching private lessons or working at an English conversation school that doesn’t actually exist. These types of scams are usually easy to avoid by doing your research and not rushing into any decisions when you first arrive in Japan.

Another scam targeting new teacher promise to help with finding housing or other services. These offers are often made by people who claim to be affiliated with a school or organization, but are actually just looking to take advantage of unsuspecting teachers. If you’re ever approached with an offer like this, it’s best to just say no and find housing on your own.

Overall though, there are less scams in Japan than in many other countries, and as long as you do your research and are cautious, you should be able to avoid them.

What are some tips for avoiding scams?

  • Doing some research before you apply for any job is always a good idea, but it’s especially important when you’re looking for a TEFL job in Japan.
  • Make sure to read reviews of any school or organization you’re considering working for, and only apply to reputable companies.
  • It’s also a good idea to network with other TEFL teachers in Japan, as they can often offer advice about which schools are legitimate and which ones to avoid.
  • If you’re ever asked to pay money upfront for a job, it’s almost certainly a scam. Just say no and move on to another opportunity.
  • If it seems too good to be true it probably is. Be wary of any offer that seems too good to be true, especially if it’s coming from someone you don’t know
  • Remember that you can always say no. If you’re ever feeling uncomfortable or pressured into doing something, just say no. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Don’t be tempted to work with promises of future payments. Many scammers will promise to pay you later, either through wire transfer or by sending a check. However, these payments will never come and you’ll be out the money you spent on getting to Japan in the first place.
  • Check out the average wages and working conditions for the position you’re interested in. This will give you a good idea of what to expect and help you avoid any surprises down the road.
  • Be sure to get everything in writing. Any promises made by an employer should be put in a contract. This will protect you if there are any problems later on
  • Don’t sign anything you don’t understand. If you’re not sure what something in a contract means, ask for clarification before you sign.

Do I need to speak Japanese to get a TEFL job in Japan?

No, you don’t need to speak Japanese to get a TEFL job in Japan.

Of course, speaking some Japanese will make your life a lot easier, and it will also give you a better chance of landing a job at a top school. If you’re interested in learning Japanese, there are many resources available online and in most major cities. Also, some schools will offer free Japanese lessons as part of the employment package.

Learning Japanese also will help you to avoid scams, as you’ll be able to communicate with people more easily and won’t have to rely on someone else to translate for you. Plus you’ll be able to make friends with the locals and really experience all that Japan has to offer!

What are the working conditions like for TEFL teachers in Japan?

Overall, the working conditions for TEFL teachers in Japan are pretty good. Most schools will provide you with a place to live, and many will also offer health insurance and other benefits. The hours can be long, but you’ll usually have at least one day off per week.

The salary is not always great, but it is possible to save up some money if you’re careful with your spending. Keep in mind that the cost of living in Japan is higher than in many other countries, so you’ll need to budget accordingly.

In the classroom, you can expect to have between 10 and 20 students. The level of English will vary, but most of your students will be beginners. Classes are typically 40 minutes long, with a few breaks in between. Classrooms are generally well-equipped, and you’ll have access to a library of resources.

One thing to be aware of is that the Japanese school year runs from April to March, so if you’re looking for a job outside of that time frame it may be difficult to find one. Additionally, many schools have a summer break in August, so you may not be able to work during that month if you’re interested in teaching at a traditional school.

There are also many private language schools in Japan which hire teachers on a part-time or freelance basis. These jobs often have more flexible hours, but the pay is usually lower.

Best Places to Teach English in Japan


Not surprisingly, Tokyo is one of the best places to teach English in Japan. There are many schools to choose from, and the salary is generally good. The cost of living can be high, but there are also many ways to save money if you’re careful. Plus, Tokyo is an exciting and vibrant city with something for everyone.


Osaka is another great city for teaching English in Japan. It’s smaller than Tokyo, but there are still many schools to choose from. The salary is generally good, and the cost of living is a bit lower than in Tokyo. Osaka is also a great place to live if you’re interested in Japanese culture. Osaka is well known for its food, and there are many great restaurants to try.


If you’re looking for a more traditional Japanese experience, Kyoto is the place for you. It’s a smaller city than Tokyo or Osaka, but there are still plenty of teaching opportunities. The salary is generally good, and the cost of living is relatively low. Plus, Kyoto is full of historical and cultural sites. If you’re interested in Japanese history, this is the place for you.


Fukuoka is a smaller city on the southern island of Kyushu. It’s a great place to live if you’re interested in beaches, shopping and temples. The salary is not as high as in Tokyo or Osaka, but the cost of living is relatively low comparatively.


If you love snow, Sapporo is the place for you. It’s the capital of Hokkaido and is popular for its ski resorts. The salary is generally good, and the cost of living is relatively low. Sapporo is also a great place to try some delicious seafood.


Hiroshima is best known for being the site of the world’s first nuclear bombing. However, it’s also a beautiful city with many temples and gardens. Hiroshima is a great option if you’re looking for a smaller city with a lower cost of living. The salary is generally good, but it’s not as high as in some of the other cities on this list.


Nagoya is another great option if you’re looking for a smaller city with a lower cost of living. It’s located in central Japan, and it’s a convenient base for exploring the rest of the country. Nagoya is known for its food, and it’s a great place to try some delicious sushi.

These are just a few of the best places to teach English in Japan. There are many other great cities to choose from, so be sure to do your research before you decide where to apply.

TEFL Japan

How to get a TEFL job in Japan

Do your research

The best way to find a job teaching English in Japan is to do your research. There are many schools and organizations that hire English teachers, so it’s important to take the time to find the right one for you. Once you’ve found a few potential employers, take the time to read reviews and learn more about their hiring process.

Make sure you understand what you will have to do as an ESL teacher in Japan and that it suits your interests, skillset and goals.

By reading blogs like this one and other online resources, you can learn a lot about what it’s like to work as an English teacher in Japan. This will help you decide if teaching English in Japan is the right choice for you.

Research also means you are less likely to get scammed or end up in a situation where the working conditions are not what you expected.

Get TEFL certified

Most schools and organizations that hire English teachers in Japan require applicants to have a TEFL certificate. A TEFL certificate is an internationally recognized teaching qualification that will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful English teacher.

There are many ways to get TEFL certified, but the most important thing is to make sure you choose a reputable program. There are many scams out there, so it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re getting a quality education.

Once you’ve been accepted into a TEFL program, you’ll need to complete a course that lasts anywhere from four weeks to six months. The length of the course will depend on the program you choose.

After you’ve completed your course, you’ll be ready to start applying for jobs teaching English in Japan.

Get CELTA qualified

CELTA is another internationally recognized teaching qualification that will give you the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful English teacher. Like TEFL, CELTA is available through many different programs, so it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable one.

CELTA courses are usually four weeks long, but some programs offer shorter or longer courses.

CELTA is the next step up from a TEFL certificate, and it’s a great option if you’re looking for a more advanced teaching qualification or are looking for a job in a competitive market like Japan.

Don’t forget to network!

In addition to doing your research and getting TEFL certified, it’s also important to network. Attend job fairs, meet with other English teachers in your area, and join online communities. These are all great ways to meet potential employers and learn about new job opportunities.

Facebook and Reddit are great places to start networking. There are many groups and communities dedicated to helping English teachers find jobs in Japan.

Get your documents in order

Before you can start applying for jobs, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary documents. This includes a resume, cover letter, copies of your degree and transcripts, and letters of recommendation.

You should also have a recent photo of yourself to include with your application.

It’s important to have all of these documents ready before you start applying for jobs, so you are all organized with the information at your fingertips, and don’t have to spend time scrambling to find it all when an employer asks for it.

Have a look at some job descriptions to see what you may be asked for as part of your application.

Create your resume

Having a great resume is essential when applying for jobs. Your resume should be clear, concise, and free of any grammar or spelling errors.

Include your contact information, education, work experience, and any relevant skills or qualifications you have. Be sure to tailor your resume to each job you apply for, highlighting the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position.

If you don’t have any teaching experience, that’s okay! There are many ways to make your resume stand out. Include any customer service experience you have, as well as any leadership roles you’ve held in previous jobs.

You can also highlight any volunteer work you’ve done, especially if it’s related to teaching or working with children.

ESL resumes are quite different to what most people are used to, so it’s important to do your research and make sure yours is up to par.

Make sure your resume has correct spelling and grammar, and that all your contact information is up to date.

For more tips on creating a stand-out resume, check out our guide on how to write an ESL resume.

How to Write a Great TESL/TEFL Resume

Write a great cover letter

Your cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself to potential employers. This is your chance to really show off your personality and explain why you would be the perfect fit for the job.

Be sure to tailor your cover letter to each job you apply for, and include any relevant skills or experience you have. If you have any questions about the job, be sure to include them in your cover letter.

And don’t forget to proofread! A well-written cover letter is essential in making a good first impression with potential employers.

Start applying for jobs

Now that you have your resume and cover letter sorted, it’s time to start applying for jobs!

There are many different ways to find job openings. Obviously Just ESL Jobs is where you should start, but you can also check out job boards like ESL Cafe and Indeed. You can also search for jobs on social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. If you are going to use LinkedIn, make sure your profile is up to date and includes a recent photo. Facebook has many groups such as English Teachers in Japan that post job openings.

Another great way to find jobs is by networking. Attend job fairs, meet with other English teachers in your area, and join online communities. These are all great ways to meet potential employers and learn about new job opportunities.

Another great way to find jobs is to contact schools directly. Many schools post their job openings on their websites, so be sure to check out the websites of any schools you’re interested in working at.

When applying for jobs, be sure to follow the instructions in the job listing. If a job listing asks for a certain type of document (like a photo or a copy of your degree), be sure to include it with your application.

When you find a job you’re interested in, be sure to read the job description carefully. Make sure you meet all the qualifications listed before applying.

Apply to multiple schools

When you’re job hunting, it’s important to apply to multiple schools. This increases your chances of getting a job, and it also helps you compare different offers so you can choose the best one for you.

Be prepared for interviews

Once you’ve applied for jobs, the next step is to start preparing for interviews. Interviews for English teaching jobs can be conducted in person, over the phone, or via Skype.

Some schools will ask you to do a demo lesson as part of the interview process. This is your chance to really showcase your teaching skills, so be prepared!

If you’re doing your interview via Zoom or Skype , be sure to do a test run before your actual interview to make sure your internet connection is good and that your camera and microphone are working properly.

Also think about what questions may be asked and how you will answer them. Practice with a friend or family member if possible.

For more tips on nailing your interview, check out our guide on how to prepare for an ESL interview.

Common ESL Interview Questions and the Best Way to Answer Them

How to Write a Great ESL Resume so You Land The Job You Want

Top Tips for Teaching English in Japan

There’s been a lot of information in this blog! Here are some of them condensed!

  • Get certified

While it’s not required, getting certified to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL) can really help you stand out from the competition. It shows that you are serious about teaching and that you have the skills to do the job well. Plus, many schools will actually require certification.

For more information, check out our guide on the best TEFL courses.

  • Learn some Japanese

Learning at least some basic Japanese will make your life a lot easier in Japan. It will help you with things like getting around, communicating with your students, and making friends. And if you can show your potential employer that you’re making an effort to learn the language, it will really impress them.

  • Be flexible

If you’re set on teaching in a specific city or region in Japan, you may have to be flexible with your job search. Many schools are looking for teachers who are willing to work in rural areas, so if you’re open to working anywhere in the country, you’ll have a much better chance of finding a job.

  • Start your search early

The earlier you start your job search, the better. Many schools start hiring in late spring or early summer for positions that start in the fall. So if you want to be sure to get a job, it’s best to start your search in the spring.

  • Be prepared to negotiate

Once you’ve been offered a job, you may be able to negotiate your salary and benefits. It’s always worth asking if the school is willing to offer more money or provide additional benefits like housing or airfare.

  • Be aware of culture shock

Japan is a very different place from most Western countries, so it’s important to be prepared for culture shock. Things like the food, the language, and the customs can be quite confusing at first. But if you go into your experience with an open mind, you’ll quickly adjust and start to enjoy life in Japan.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the best way to increase your chances of getting a job in Japan is to have the right qualifications and to be flexible in your job search. There are many different types of schools and positions available, so it’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to consider all options. With a little bit of effort, you should be able to find the perfect TEFL job for you in Japan. Applying for a job can be a little daunting, but just remember to be yourself and sell your skills and experience.

Good luck!