Working Part-time in Japan on a Student Visa

Working and studying at the same time in Japan can be a challenging thing to do. Everything actually comes down to your financial situation and how to manage yourself without having to work hectic hours.

Documents and Papers

First let’s take a look at the documentation you need to work LEGALLY in Japan as a student.

• Zairyuu card: Upon your arrival to Japan, at the Airport you will receive your Japanese Identification card (zairyuu card) and on the back of the card the immigration officer will stamp a “permission to work” stamp. This will allow you to work part-time jobs in Japan for 28 hours a week during in school sessions and 40 hours a week during school holidays (but some schools do not allow 40 hours per week, even during holidays).

• Student card: The student card is issued by your school, usually on the day of school orientation.

• My Number card: This card is issued to you by your location municipal office (shiyakusho / kuyakusho). Some schools do the application for you upon your arrival, but with some schools you will have to apply for it by yourself. The new card takes approximately 3-4 weeks to be processed. This card holds all your income details during your stay in Japan and expires when your visa runs out, therefore make sure to renew your My Number card after your Visa renewal (i.e. if you renew).

• Bank account: Almost all employers request a bank account, it is advised to always have a Japan Post Bank account along with another local bank account. Most employers prefer the Japan Post Bank though. 

• Japanese SIM card: If your school finds you a part-time job you do not have to provide a phone number, however if you are applying for a job by yourself it is a must that you obtain a Japanese SIM card before hand. Japanese SIM card plans can be expensive. Here is a link you can easily apply for a Japanese SIM card online visit JP Smart SIM.

Looking for a job by yourself as soon as you arrive in Japan, it can be a challenge, especially if your Japanese language skills are below mediocre. Usually if you come via a Japanese language school it is mandatory that the school provide you a job to cover your living expenses, but some “blacklisted schools” no longer have connections with companies to do so (so be careful when you select your school).

Jobs Students Can Do in Japan

  • Factory work: The most common job is factory work or students working at a food processing factory (o bentou no koujou)
  • Convenience stores: In the cities, every 300 to 500 meters you should be able to see a convenience store. The giant convenient store chains in Japan are Lawson, FamilyMart and Seven-Eleven. Now more than ever, there is a huge increase of foreign students being recruited into convenience stores.
  • Construction sites: While the work is laborsome, the hourly is considerably high for construction sites. It is much easier for little or no Japanese speaking students to land a job at these sites.
  • Restaurants: This is also a very common place where foreign students can work. Most kitchen jobs do not require a high Japanese skill level, but working in the hall definitely does. Some restaurants provide the staff food (special meal or leftovers), which could bring down one’s cost of living.

Prohibited Workplaces in Japan for Foreign Students

  • Bars or Izakayas: If you a caught working at a bar or Izakaya by the police or immigration, your visa could be revoked.
  • Kyabakura (“health” spas, “entertainment” bars…): Just stay away from these.
  • Gambling centres (Pachinko parlor): This actually could be very tempting due to the high hourly rate, however student visa holders are not allowed to work at Gambling centres.

Here are some resources where you can find jobs in Japan.