Teaching English in Japan

Japan is the most sought-after destination for English teachers. There is no other location more popular than teaching English in Japan.

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Japanese culture is an interesting mix of modern technology and traditional architecture. It’s well-organized, safe, and has a lot of opportunities to advance. Especially if you can speak the language, you have lots of space to grow and develop your career. Japan is the most sought-after destination for English teachers. There is no other location more popular than teaching English in Japan(1).

If you want to teach English in Japan, you need an undergraduate degree and a criminal record check. TEFL certification is recommended so you have basic teaching skills before your first class. You don’t need to be a native speaker of English. But there is a bit of an unspoken preference for native speakers. Comparatively, Japan offers the best balance between work and play. Teaching hours are generally less and vacation days are more generous.

No other country in the world is as well-organized as Japan. They say you can set your time on a train’s arrival time. The atmosphere is a bit formal in Japan and work is taken very seriously. Most likely, your employer will want you wearing a suit and tie on the job. But don’t wear a black tie or they’ll think you’re attending a funeral.


JET Programme – The JET Programme has sent more than 70,000 participants from around the globe. JET hires foreign teachers to work in schools, boards of education, and government offices throughout Japan. The hiring process is rigorous to get accepted. But it’s worth the time and effort.

Eikaiwa – An Eikaiwa is a specialized English Language school. For Japanese people who want to improve their English, they go to an Eikaiwa to interact with a native speaker. For example, Nova, Interac, and Berlitz are some of the largest Eikaiwa and recruit year-round.

Direct Placement – Japan is such a large country that people come in and out of schools all the time. Because of the massive amount of turnover in Japan, some recommend just traveling to Japan. Once you’re there, you can look for schools that are directly hiring to replace someone who is leaving.

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A large Eikaiwa in Japan that employs foreign teachers in before and after school programs.

JET Programme

JET hires teachers to work in public schools, boards of education, and government offices throughout Japan

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English teacher salaries are some of the most competitive in the world in Japan. You can earn anywhere from 200,000 to 600,000 yen ($1,700 – 5,000 USD) per month teaching English in Japan. 

But keep in mind that Japan has some of the highest costs of living in the world. The countryside is much cheaper for living costs. But larger cities like Tokyo and Osaka are the most expensive.

Another benefit of teaching English in Japan is that schools chip in for housing and flight costs.  Some of the common benefits are subsidized rent, airfare allowance, medical insurance, and earning a bonus on completion.


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A long-standing certificate provider with 20+ years of experience in TESOL.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much can you make teaching English in Japan?

You can make anywhere from 200,000 to 600,000 yen ($1,700 – 5,000 USD) per month teaching English in Japan.

Do you need a degree to teach English in Japan?

Yes, you need a Bachelor’s degree or better to teach English in Japan.

Is Japan safe?

According to the Global Peace Index, Japan is one of the top 10 safest countries in the world. You don’t have to worry about your wallet getting stolen as it has a very low crime rate. But don’t leave your bicycle unlocked because they tend to get borrowed by salarymen.

Do you have to speak Japanese to teach in Japan?

Although it’s helpful, you don’t have to speak Japanese to teach English in Japan. If you can learn the basic grammar structure, it’s useful for picking up on mistakes from your students.

What are the requirements to teach English in Japan?

You need a Bachelor’s degree and a police background check. Some schools also request teachers to obtain their TEFL certification.

What’s it like teaching English in Japan?

Although every situation is different, students are generally more respectful towards teachers. Japanese people tend to keep to themselves and are more introverted.


  • Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world.

  • Roughly 73 percent of Japan’s area is mountainous.

  • Japan is the oldest monarchy in the world and still has an emperor.

  • Life expectancy is the second highest in the world.

  • Japan is made up of four islands – Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku, and Hokkaido.

  • There are more than 1,500 earthquakes in Japan every year.

  • Japanese cuisine is some of the finest with rice, fish, and vegetables as the staple foods.

  • Vending machines are everywhere (about 23 for every person)


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