Guide to Finding a Part-time Job in Tokyo as a Foreigners
Part-time jobs — it’s daunting, stressful and physically draining, particularly when you’re doing it in a mega-metropolis like Tokyo. Some people might say it’s rewarding, while a few disheartened souls might argue they’re doing it only (and only) for the paycheck. Either way, a part-time job in Tokyo is the cherry-on-top (or the last straw, if it’s a bad shift) for international students. One way or another, it’s an inevitable part of your life in Japan — so why not embrace it with open arms?
If you’re new to the city, you might be looking to gain additional work experience or add another zero to your bank account. Navigating and finding the perfect job in Tokyo is, of course, easier said than done. Often enough, there are hardly any resources for foreigners in Japan to guide them through the nooks and crannies of does and don’ts. Worst case scenario, you’ll fruitlessly scan through endless job listings without a prospect on sight.
Why should I get a part-time job in Tokyo?
Like it or not, a part-time job in Tokyo pays better than in other areas in Japan. Working in the city gives you the benefit of having fewer working hours for a bigger income. Even some international students and foreign residence are able to support their lives financially just through their part-time jobs. And high living expenses aside, it can be lonely to move to Japan alone. Having a part-time job is a great place to make Japanese and international friends.
In this guide, we will go through with you the three steps to land a part-time job in Tokyo. We will also list some of the available jobs for foreigners and how you can apply to them.
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Step 1: Check your visa status
Only those with the following visas are allowed to apply for a part-time job in Tokyo :
- Student Visa
- Dependent Visa
- Specialized Visa (as long as within the same industry)
- Working Holiday Visa
Want to learn more about different types of visas? Check out our comprehensive page about Japanese visa.
Step 2: What’s your interest and skills?
Below, we have listed some of the most popular part-time job options for foreigners in Japan. Some of these positions are more labor-intensive than others. Your dream of becoming a barista at central Tokyo, for example, also comes with the requirement to be quick on your feet and stay active. A job as a kindergarten teacher might be more physically sedentary, but you’ll be leaning on your soft skills and great communication to get through the day. Either way, there are a good amount of part-time jobs in the Tokyo area that are specially catered to foreigners.
Convenience Stores (Konbini)
Japan: Land of the Rising Sun and, just recently, Land of Convenience Stores, too. With over 7,000 konbini chains scattered throughout Tokyo, you’ll find convenience store clerk to be the most common position for university students. Big konbini companies like Seven Eleven, Family Mart, and Lawson — known as the Big Three — have a designated website for employee recruitment. These pages are available in Japanese and English, making it easier and more inclusive for foreign students to apply for positions.
Working in a convenience store is very popular among young adults despite its minimum wage. This is because of the flexible working hours. Students can easily adjust their working hours according to their class schedules.
Konbini is also a great place for students to practice their Japanese skills, as you’ll be speaking with a lot of customers. If you enjoy interacting with people from all walks of life, then working in a convenience store would be the place for you!
Typical Wage : ¥900/hour (morning shift)/ ¥1,100/hour (night shift)
Seven Eleven: https://www.sej.co.jp/arbeit/en/
Family Mart: https://staff.family.co.jp/cofm/recruit/
Restaurants & Cafes
Tokyo is home to a variety of restaurants, from conveyer-belt sushi bars to Michelin-rated omakase. Working in a restaurant gives you the opportunity to learn many new hard skills and gain experience. Restaurants and cafes, for example, offer different types of positions such as cleaning, server and food delivery. You can even apply for a chef position should you have basic knowledge of cooking.
There are a large number of foreigners working in places like “izakaya”, Starbucks and McDonald’s all over Tokyo. However, working in the food and beverage industry often requires long working hours having the need to stand for most of the time. Some restaurants might also require you to have a Japanese fluency equivalent to N3, if not n2 and higher. Hence, only apply for it if you have the stamina for it.
The average hourly earnings for restaurant part-time jobs in Tokyo ranges from ¥800 – ¥1,200 per hour
Click here for job recruitment opportunities in the food and beverage industry in the Tokyo area.
If you have an interest in fashion or enjoy interacting with people, then working part-time in the retail industry might be the best fit for you! The retail industry offers you a chance to learn many new skills such as sales tasks, listing and tracking goods.
Tokyo itself is brimming with tons of opportunities for retail jobs with many big names on the list such as Uniqlo, Daiso and H&M.
Working in retail can be more complicated than working in the F&B Industry as in most cases, fashion companies require an interview process before hiring. This means that you would need to have at least basic Japanese conversational skills to ace the interview. Background knowledge into the world of retail is also often a plus factor!
Typical Wage: ¥1000- ¥1200/ hour
Taxi and Food Delivery Driver
Be it whether you want to be a taxi driver or food delivery driver, all you would need is a driver’s license.
Being a taxi driver can be an alternative part-time job in Tokyo. You will have flexible working hours and training sessions provided by the companies. As long as you pass JLPT N3 and above, you can apply to be a taxi driver. There are some requirements needed by the company to become a taxi driver, so make sure you carefully check for limitations before applying!
Typical Wage : 300,000 JPY – 750,000 JPY/month
Food delivery jobs are also highly in-demand, especially in Tokyo. Uber is the number one food delivery service in Japan and with the COVID-19 pandemic, food delivery has become extremely popular. This also means that these food delivery services and restaurants are in need of drivers to cope with the demand.
To become a delivery partner with Uber, all you need to do is to register an account with Uber, submit the required documents, and activate your account.
Typical Wage: ¥900- ¥1,100/ hour
Being a teacher or tutoring is one of the most popular part-time jobs for foreigners in Japan. If English is your first language, then you can definitely benefit from tutoring. However, more often than not you would require a background in teaching and at least a degree before teaching.
English has become a very prominent language in Japanese as it opens the door to more global interactions. No matter teaching children or adults, English teachers will get paid well.
Some Japanese students may ask you for lessons in a cafe or any pre-agreed location by you and your student. There are also international schools that are looking for part-time English teachers in Japan.
Typical Wage: ¥1,100 – ¥2,000 /hour
Most construction sites in Japan are foreigner-friendly from skilled engineers to inexperienced laborers.
In most cases, companies in this industry also offer compensation, health insurance, free accommodation and transport allowance for their workers.
However, working in construction can be physically demanding if your body cannot handle it hence make sure that you are fit and healthy before applying!
Typical daily wage: 14,000 JPY
Step 3: Apply for the part-time job of your choice
Now that you have gone through the different fields of interest to you, you would have selected one that best suits you. Once you have selected, it’s time to apply for jobs in that industry.
Go through the different job sites portal that we have linked above and find at least 3 jobs that you like. This is to create a backup in case of any rejection of your application.
Applying for jobs can be a tedious process as it is very likely that there would be more than one person applying for the same position. This is especially so for popular job positions like baristas or salespeople. Hence it is important that you have your resume ready with you when applying.
Last but not least, make sure that you choose a job which you would know you will truly enjoy. After all, not everything is about hourly wage. A good manager and a great working environment are just as important. Working in a job that you don’t enjoy can often make your life in Japan even more miserable and exhausting. It is crucial that you work in an area that you like.