Part-Time Jobs in Japan for Students

Part-Time Jobs in Japan for Students

Anastasiia, third year iCLA student By Ashley, 4th year Japan Studies major,

Mikel, 4th year iCLA student and Hallie, Political Science graduate


Hello everyone! Today we would like to introduce the topic of “arubaito” (part-time job), colloquially known as ““baito”, one of the most important parts of student life here in Japan, especially if you need to pay for rent, daily expenses, travel, or if you want some extra pocket change to spend on something nice. Part time jobs in Japan can be difficult to get if you can’t speak any Japanese or if you don’t have any connections that can find you a job. Rest assured though, you can find part-time jobs if your Japanese is a bit shaky, and there are many opportunities to get part-time jobs for foreigners. But before job-hunting, there are a few things you should consider before looking for any arubaito while you study in Japan.

What to consider before looking for a part-time job in Japan

Man serving a bowl of food at a Japanese restaurant

1. Working permit

If you are a foreigner on a  student visa, you need to apply for approval to do part-time work in Japan. The application can be submitted at the airport when you first arrive in Japan or arranged at your local immigration office. Until you obtain this approval you are not legally allowed to work part-time during your stay.

2. Working hours

Once you get the work permit, the number of hours a foreign student is allowed to work per week is capped at 28 hours per week. During school holidays this increases to 48 working hours per week.

3. Wage

Different types of part-time jobs have different pay rates, but usually it’s by the hour. Your hourly wage can range from 898 yen (Yamanashi Prefecture’s minimum hourly wage as of Nov 2022) to 1,500 yen or more depending on where you work and the type of work you are doing. For example, Tokyo’s minimum hourly wage is higher than Yamanashi’s. A wider range of jobs will be available for you to apply as your Japanese ability increases, and you’ll probably find that jobs requiring higher levels of Japanese pay better too.

4. Payment method

For most part-time jobs, you will need to open a Japanese bank account to receive your salary. For some informal jobs like babysitting, your employers may just give you your salary in cash; however, the standard way of receiving your salary is with a monthly bank transfer.

5. Japanese language skill

As mentioned earlier, Japanese language skill is an extremely important asset to have if you want more options for arubaito. Different jobs require varying levels of Japanese. Factory work usually requires little to no Japanese, while convenience stores require a sufficient level of Japanese conversation, reading, and (sometimes) writing. Basically, Japanese language is a must for any job that requires interaction with customers.

6. Resumes

Providing a physical (usually handwritten) resume is a common practice when applying for any job. You will need to fill out your personal particulars, what days and times of the week you can work, your picture, previous working history, current status in society (student, company worker, etc.), and sometimes your education history. These resume papers can be bought at any convenience store or 100-yen shop, but since they are written in Japanese you may want to seek some help filling them out if you are not confident in your language ability.

Types of part-time jobs for international students

Worker carrying cardboard boxes

Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurant

Working in the kitchen at a chain restaurant or fast food restaurant, even a Kaitenzushiya (conveyor belt sushi) is a fairly attainable part time job for those who don’t have very good Japanese. While you should be able to understand directions from your boss and be able to ask questions, recipes are often shown to you and then you have to replicate them. This kind of training is much more accessible and doesn’t require working customer service. Some of these positions have higher pay than average hourly pay in order to try and keep workers (the turnaround in these kinds of places are quite high) and to incentivize workers to take shifts late at night or on weekends. They also tend to be fast-paced high stress environments during peak hours. They also tend to have many shifts available if you are looking for lots of hours. The main problem with these kinds of jobs is that they are high stress and high pressure, and often workers are not treated as well as they are at local restaurants. These are great for the short term but are unsustainable because of how stressful the work tends to be but are nonetheless a great place to practice your Japanese and get baito experience before moving to somewhere better. These jobs are also often easy to find because new hires can be brought in, so you can find a location a friend is working at and use that to get a job without the stress of a Japanese resume or interview.

Convenience Stores: e.g. 7/11, Lawson, Family Mart etc.

Although there are set phrases that you can memorize when doing customer service, this job requires a decent level of Japanese to get by. Customers may ask you questions, and you need to communicate with your coworkers about certain things, so just memorizing the set phrases may not be enough. Aside from the language, the actual work is simple and straightforward. You restock the products, handle the register, restock the deep-fried goods, clean the bathroom, take out the trash, manage any customer issues that come up, etc. The starting salary in the Seven Eleven I work in was 840 yen/hour, and that rose steadily the longer I worked there. If you have a confident grasp on Japanese, this job could be great for you! Working in a convenience store will improve your Japanese and teach you a bit more about Japanese working culture.


Working at a local izakaya (Japanese style bar) is a good option if you have good Japanese skills and are comfortable working customer service jobs in Japanese. These jobs pay as well if not better than convenience store or fast-food jobs and are often only open in the evening which is great for students who want to work after classes each day. However, you might be the only foreigner working at one of these bars so having good Japanese is essential to not only interacting with customers but also understanding your training. These places also tend to prefer workers who have worked service or in the kitchen of another food-service place in Japan, so if you transfer to one of these places from a convenience store or fast-food job you will already know the basics. These kinds of jobs tend to be more casual workplaces, where you can make friends with your coworkers and bosses. Many, like the one I work at, even supply you with food on the nights you work and give you a lot of freedom with when and how frequently you work. These jobs are some of the most enjoyable and relaxed but they require near N2 level Japanese to find these jobs because customer service is so important and often you work alone. So if you want a low stress job with good benefits where you can have casual interactions with customers this kind of baito is perfect.


The babysitting that I experienced was informal, and I worked once a week for 3 hours per session. I was paid 1000 yen/hour. The pay came irregularly, but this was not an issue since I was close and in direct contact with the child’s parents. You can also find a babysitting job via a company or job board, but you will also need a decent level of Japanese to communicate with your kid, with the company, or with the parents.

English Teaching

Another common baito for international students is teaching English, which you can do either at a language school or as a private tutor. These tend to be infrequent, and you don’t work many hours in a month but the pay per hour is high. Becoming a private tutor is more informal and simply involves finding someone who is trying to learn English, picking a textbook, and preparing lessons. Often you can make upwards of 2,000 yen an hour doing this, but likely will only work an hour a week per client. The advantage of private tutoring is the control gained by privately organizing the lessons and the curriculum. Additionally, there are English “teaching” jobs that simply ask you to have conversations in English. You don’t need to teach any particular syllabus, just talk with your student/client in English and have a nice time while also giving English tips here and there. The pay for this is also usually 1000 yen per/hour or you get paid by the session. There are a number of job boards in Japan that advertise English teaching positions.

Delivery Company

One of the students here works at a delivery company, and his job is to unload packages from the shelf. The working conditions are good, and afternoons are especially busy. My wages are 1580 yen per hour, and there are no strict requirements when applying to the job. Even if you can’t speak much Japanese, they may hire you.

Cafés and coffee shops

Quite a few of the students here work or have worked as a part-time barista at Starbucks. When deciding your shifts, you must submit a “shift request” two weeks in advance, and you show up to the shifts that you are assigned to. If there are any sudden reasons where you can’t show up to a shift, you need to find someone else to take over for you and let them know. Promotion happens if/when you learn a new skill/job. For example, you would start first at the back kitchen washing dishes, etc., and then you learn to handle customers at the drive through, mixing drinks, serving customers at the register, and so on. With promotion, your salary also increases, with the starting salary being 890 yen. When applying, you send an application online via their website where you need to input your personal particulars and information, then they will contact you to schedule an interview. Japanese is essential for this job since you will be communicating with customers, coworkers, and learning skills in Japanese. There are a number of other cafés and coffee shops around the local area which may also have opportunities for part-time work.

How to find part-time jobs

Woman working in a cafe holding a cup cake

Job boards

While these require some level of Japanese, online job boards like baitoru are a fast and easy way to filter, search, and find baito you are qualified for and interested in within a given area. You can even search by criteria like ‘having piercings’, ‘only working once a week’, or ‘being a foreign student’ to make sure you are a good match before reaching out for an interview.

Asking businesses directly

Additionally, you can also approach directly at the place you want to work at. Stores and restaurants will often have a sign put up on the window or storefront saying that they are looking for staff or part-timers. This sign will usually have this Japanese written on it:スタッフ・アルバイト募集中, which translates to RECRUITING STAFF/PART-TIMERS. If a store has this sign on it, that means they are recruiting. Usually there is also a phone number written with the sign so you will have to call the store first rather than entering directly. The typical process is: a phone call, arrange a time for an interview (bring your resume with you), have the interview, and then they will contact you again if you’ve been accepted.

Employment at the University

At iCLA, you can volunteer as a Language Café Assistant, where you help with the various events that the Language Café at iCLA organizes, but this is irregular and not a job where you can put in shifts every week. There are also other jobs you can do at your school if you just approach the administration or check the many flyers at the bulletin boards or around school. One of the other ways is if your friend or teacher introduces you to a position. With connections, it is almost guaranteed that you will get the job you’ve been introduced to, so make some good friends!


Man stacking shelves in a supermarket

Finding a part-time job as a foreigner in Japan can be difficult or easy depending on the situation you’re in. If your Japanese language is sufficient, you can apply to almost any part-time job available that does not require any specific qualifications. At the same time, getting a job is a piece of cake if you have the right connections – no matter your language skill. There are plenty of kind people in Japan that will take in foreigners who are less than comfortable with Japanese, because they enjoy diverse company as well! But keep in mind that there are also those who can be quite rude when they think your Japanese is not up to par, so if you make phone calls and keep getting shut down, don’t lose hope! Keep trying and you’ll surely find a job. One last thing before you go: be wary that having tattoos can make job-hunting ten times harder. Some jobs where you aren’t seen by customers such as hotel cleaning can be forgiving of this, but they may also require Japanese language skill, so just be aware that tattoos can set you back a bit; however, not all hope is lost! Especially in Yamanashi, any kind of person can help with the fruit farms (grapes, peaches, etc.) so just keep trying your best and asking around – an opportunity will surely arise.

About the Authors
Ashley - Former iCLA Student Ambassador
Ashley is a fourth year student at iCLA from Singapore who majors in Japan Studies. In Japan she has worked as a babysitter and at a 7/11 convenience store. She enjoys ice skating and literature. She is also a former iCLA student ambassador.
Hallie - iCLA Graduate
Hallie is an iCLA graduate who majored in Political Science. While at iCLA she worked in a Sushi restaurant, an Izakaya and as an iCLA student ambassador. While at iCLA, her studies focused on post-normalization Japanese Korean relations and Japanese women’s politics. She enjoys hot lattes, fluffy cats, and the occasional remote hike. She also was one of the original founders of the iCLA table-top circle, which has moved on to become its own small alumni network of current and former players who keep up over discord.