Finding part-time work can be a daunting task, even in one’s home country; when living in a foreign country, it may start to seem like an insurmountable challenge.
However, in Japan, finding part-time work is actually more straightforward than one might assume, though what options are available to you can largely depend on your level of Japanese.
Today, I’m going to walk you through some basic tools for finding part-time jobs （アルバイト arubaito／バイト baito） in Japan.
First things first!
Before doing anything else, it is essential to make sure that you are allowed to work in Japan. Those who are in the country on a Work Visa need not worry about this, though those with a Work Visa are also unlikely to need a part-time job.
The majority of foreign part-time workers in Japan will likely be on Student Visas; if you are in Japan on a Student Visa, it is important to make sure that you apply for, and are approved for, a work permit（資格外活動許可／shikakugai katsudō kyoka）.
You can apply for a work permit at immigration; upon approval, you will receive a stamp on the back of your residence card, and you will be permitted to work up to a maximum of 28 hours per week split between any number of jobs, though few students will have time to work more than one or two.
It is very important that you get this permit if you plan to work; working without the proper permissions can result in deportation, so tread carefully.
If you already have your permit, or are here on a Working Holiday Visa, you can get straight to job hunting!
For those who speak little to no Japanese
While it can be severely limiting, a lack of Japanese is not necessarily an obstacle to finding part-time work in Japan.
The easiest work to find for non-Japanese is language tutoring, which generally comes in a few flavors.
Most of this article’s readers, I assume, are English speakers, and English teaching jobs are abundant and come in multiple flavors. One of the most common types of jobs is referred to as Eikaiwa (えいかいわ・英会話）, which translates to English conversation.
These jobs tend to pay the minimum wage and involve slightly more conversation than actual teaching, as the name would suggest. Additionally, Eikaiwa establishments will also often advertise job openings around schools with healthy foreign populations.
Private tutoring is also an option, though this job can be slightly more difficult to find. However, the flipside to this is that private tutoring almost always pays much better than Eikaiwa or other types of English teaching, so it may be worth it to put out feelers.
If you are a student, you can often find tutoring work through your school; some schools have internal tutoring programs where the tutors are paid, and some even have partnerships with other universities where students from one school will be paid to tutor students of another.
There are many websites where job openings for foreigners will be listed; the most famous of these is Gaijinpot, which often has a bevy of English teaching jobs listed.
For those who speak Japanese
Part-time job hunting is significantly easier if you speak Japanese, truth be told. Convenience stores, restaurants, and other standard establishments will often be open to hiring foreigners (convenience stores in particular!).
If there are openings, there will often be signs posted with contact information outside of the establishment. For these, it will generally be a phone number that you should call, or an email address for you to contact. Through these methods, you’ll be able to (hopefully) set up an interview.
In addition, most convenience stores will have free booklets with a list of job openings in the area; these will often be set up by the copy machine in a magazine rack. However, it is also worth noting that these pamphlets can be difficult reading, as they are designed for native Japanese reading levels.
Is it required to Have a Japanese-style resume?
While it’s not a bad idea to have a Japanese-style resume, it is possible to find work without one. English-teaching jobs especially are known to hire based on fluency and an interview, so you can quite easily find work in that field without one.
If you are looking for work that does not involve English, however, it’s probably a better idea to have one made. It is important to note that the format of a Japanese resume is different from western ones; examples and templates can be found easily through Google, so I would recommend searching that up.
Jobs that foreigners are not allowed to Do
To be specific, it is important to note that foreigners in Japan are actually forbidden from working certain types of jobs. “Immoral” jobs are strictly forbidden to foreigners on pretty much any type of visa; these jobs include (but are not limited to): working as a host, escort work, bartending (at a bar or at a nightclub), working at cabarets, or working in any sort of gambling hall.
This is taken very seriously; just like those working without a permit, those who violate these rules face deportation, often with no questions asked. While these are not often peoples’ first choice of workplace, it never hurts to exercise caution, and if you are uncertain about a certain establishment, it may be best to just give it a miss.
Also, for those of all Japanese skill levels, if you have foreign friends in Japan, it may be worthwhile to ask them for leads, as well. It may sound silly, but never underestimate word of mouth! You may find some non-standard job opportunities this way, though it’s important to be cautious here, as well; while most “non-standard” jobs are fine, legally speaking, there are those who would try to rope unsuspecting men and women in to less savory trades under this guise.
However, with some thought and double-checking, these less savory ventures should be relatively easy to sniff out.
These are the basics of job hunting in Japan. While far from comprehensive, this should give you a good jumping-off point to start your search. Though the pandemic might make things more difficult, there are still plenty of part-time jobs available for those willing to put in some leg work.