9 Useful Tips to Know Before You Start Work in Japan

As one of the driving economic powers in East Asia, Japan has become a prime target for businesses and companies seeking to expand in the Pacific region. For the foreigner seeking work in Japan, they will find it’s a country filled with opportunities and also challenges. But as long as you keep in mind these 9 tips for getting by in the Land of the Rising Sun, you should find your time spent in Japan to be rewarding and invigorating.


Explore our Japanese courses with qualified native teachers in your city or online.


1. Make sure you have a work visa ahead of time

Nearly every aspect of Japanese life is tied up by their bureaucracy, and things will go much more smoothly if you make sure you have all your paperwork in order as soon as possible.

2. Invest in an electric heater

Most houses and apartments in Japan are built without central heating or air conditioning.  While such appliances are deemed necessities in America, they often exist only in the most modern accommodations in Tokyo.

3. The typical work schedule is very intense

You’ve probably heard stories about how much pressure the Japanese put on themselves to excel at work, and unfortunately, this is true.  People will often put in 15-hour workdays, and to fit in you may be expected to do the same.

4. You probably will not need a car

Japan’s public transport system is easy and efficient and one of the safest in the world.  Unless your job places you out in the countryside, you will probably be better off taking the bus or metro to work and back.

5. Japan has an ingrained culture of politeness

The Japanese are renowned for going out of their way to ensure they behave properly, without insulting or offending anyone.  Japanese culture also designates great respect and reverence to the elderly, so always keep this in mind when interacting with someone older than you, whether it be somebody’s grandparent or a senior partner at a firm.

6. Japanese food is healthy and delicious

Being an island nation, Japan is famed for its seafood, particularly sushi and sashimi, as well as plenty of seaweed-based dishes.  Even inexpensive meals at places such as noodle bars will be tastier and of higher quality than fast food in America, so take advantage of this culinary opportunity!

7. Japan’s wealth is reflected in its prices

The fact that Japan is one of the wealthiest nations in Asia can cut both ways; on one hand, living there will provide you the highest standard of living in the continent, as well as a salary reflective of a healthy economy.  On the other hand, prices, especially in Tokyo, can be exorbitant.

8. Keep tattoos hidden in public

In Japan, having tattoos is associated with belonging to the Yakuza clan, Japan’s crime syndicate.  If you sport tattoos, they will be deemed unprofessional at best, and you may be looked upon with suspicion.

9. Learn Japanese before you get there

As with any foreign country, travel and living will be exponentially easier if you know some of the local language. Why not take a Japanese language placement test, or send us an inquiry to find out what course would suit your needs.

Explore our Japanese courses with qualified native teachers in your city or online.