Teaching English in Japan

English is the most studied language in Japan; it plays a crucial role in all sectors of society, from business to tourism. This was not always the case as the country was in isolation of outside influences for many centuries and only recently did it open itself to the rest of the world. This, in turn, coincided with a great upsurge in the national economy and the necessity for a more outward approach to foreign policy. As a result, there are plenty of opportunities for teaching English in the country, and these can be found in a wide variety of avenues. To help you decide on the right career move, we have decided to highlight some of the different types of teaching jobs you will encounter in Japan as well as what to expect from them.


The business sector of Japan is a key player worldwide. Needless to say, a wide range of companies regularly seek to employ both part-time and full-time English instructors to engage in on-site training. There is a demand for Business English and conversational English and teachers can work with small groups or give one-on-one lessons. At a higher level, you may be able to take part in corporate training courses involving soft skills and intercultural communication strategies.

Public Schools

Schools in Japan are constantly seeking qualified instructors to help harness the potential of the the new generation. In general, the minimum qualification to teach at a school is an undergraduate degree and some relevant teaching experience. Placement in schools tends to be for a fixed period of time and is based on a renewable contract which is initially for one year. The school year in Japan begins in April so it’s no surprise that this is generally when the most jobs are available!


Academic studies of both undergraduate and post-graduate levels are taken very seriously in Japan. Generally, one will need to have a M.A. to teach at undergraduate level, and a PhD to teach at a post-graduate level. University positions are highly sought after and one-year renewable contracts are offered to successful candidates. The Academic year begins in April and ends in March and consists of two semesters.

Language Centers

Language centers cater to the full spectrum of students. They often have classes for children, students, and adults alike. There are many language schools and they often focus on specific services such as exam preparation, young learners, and tutoring, to name a few. Many of the international language school chains operate in Japan as well. In Japan, the TOEIC exam is very popular. There is also a demand for IELTS, TOEFL and other exams from both the USA and the UK/Australia. Teaching hours can vary and there are plenty of opportunities to work extra hours.

Teaching in English in Japan can be a great step for your career, and gives you the opportunity to experience the unique culture of Japan from a first hand perspective. With all the different avenues for teaching English that are on offer, it can often be challenging to make the first step and take the plunge. If you would like more information on teaching English in Japan, please contact us through info@trellis.ngo, or consider taking part in our program.