Japanese culture is a fascinating mix of the traditional, the modern and that which is endearingly eccentric to those in the West.
Teaching ESL and immersing yourself in this most enigmatic of countries is a fantastic way to get under its skin. It’s also offers some of the best-paid ESL jobs anywhere, so it’s a great place to start your ESL career.
All the Essentials:
Details about i-to-i ESL jobs in Japan
You can earn as much as 250,000 Yen ($3300*) each month and will receive plenty of holidays, leaving lots of opportunities for sake, sushi and searching out the hidden corners that tourists rarely find. Contracts range from 2 to 12 months depending on your departure date.
- Salary: Up to 250,000 Yen ($3300*) each month.
- Accommodation: Full assistance will be provided to help you find an apartment. Expect to pay 40,000 – 80,000 Yen per month.
- Arrival: Although this varies, you’ll usually be met at the airport when you arrive. On the rare occasions when this service cannot be provided, you’ll be given clear instructions for travelling from the airport to the hotel where your training will be held.
- Locations: Mainly Fukoka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Hamamtsu, Yokohama, Chiba City, Hitachi and Tokyo (not central Tokyo).
- Contract length: March 12 Months, April 11 Months, May 10 Months, August 7 months, September 6 months, October 5 months, November 4 months, January 2 months.
Visa regulations restrict US and Canadian citizens to the main intake months of March and August.
- Student age range: Between 6 and 18 years of age.
- Japanese lessons: Free Japanese lessons are provided.
- Cost of living: Approximately 70,000 Yen ($730*) per month.
*Currency conversion accurate at time of publication.
i-to-i's Overseas Partner has set the following requirements for all candidates:
- Native English speaker – you must have a native English passport (UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, USA or Canada). South Africa is also accepted, as English is the first language.
- ESL-certified (100-hour or 120-hour ESL course recommended).
- 12 years' education in English-speaking schools and colleges.
- Holder of a university degree.
- Aged 21 years or older.
Teaching and Employment
- What age and level of students will I be teaching? From 6 to 18 years old.
- How many students will there be in each class? Between 30 and 40.
- How long are the classes? Usually 45 minutes.
- Are there any teaching resources? Yes. The schools are well-resourced.
- Will I be teaching alone or team teaching? You will be working together with a Japanese teacher.
- What kind of school will I be teaching in? State schools, but private tuition is possible in your own time.
- How much will I be paid? Your salary will be 250,000 Yen ($3300*) per month before withholding taxes, which average 7%. This includes an attendance bonus which you receive monthly if you fulfill all of your professional responsibilities. There are some positions that pay 10-30,000 Yen per month more, depending on specific criteria such as location.
- Do I receive a bonus or flight re-imbursement? This depends on the position you are offered.
- How many days holiday will I receive per year? There are 19 school holidays each year, plus the school holidays.
- When will my teaching position begin? You’ll usually start five to ten days after arrival, following your training and orientation programme; however, if you plan to start at the beginning of September, you should arrive by mid to late August. If you arrive after August, you’ll be an “alternate” (ALTs) covering positions, so your exact start date will depend on what’s available. Your salary and contract will still begin after the training, whether or not you start work immediately; however, you may be expected to perform some admin until a position is available.
- What are my working hours? Monday to Friday, between 8am and 5pm.
- Can I renew my contract? Possibly, but you should discuss this with your school.
- What happens if I need to break my contract? Your visa is linked to your contract, so your stay would become illegal. You’d also lose your right to a bonus and any other related payments.
- What will my accommodation be like? You will be fully supported in your apartment search. As teachers come and go regularly, it’s often possible to take over other staff's accommodation.
- Can I be placed with somebody else? This is no longer likely. If you still wish to apply with a friend or partner, March and September (the two main intakes) are the best times, but nothing is guaranteed.
- What is the application process? Once you send the required documents to i-to-i, we’ll pass these onto our partner who will arrange an interview and demonstrate your teaching skills (more information will be provided closer to the time). If you pass this, they will apply for a Certificate of Eligibility which is taken to The Japanese Embassy and converted into a working visa. This can take up to two months, depending on your country of residence.
- When should I book my flights? You’ll have to purchase and book your own flights, but it’s best to wait until your teaching contract is signed.
- Who is my contract with? Your contract will be with your employer: the language school or institute itself. It will not be with i-to-i or with our overseas partner. If you have any problems while working, you’ll have to take them up with the employer themselves, rather than i-to-i.
- What visa do I need? Our in-country partner will help you with the visa requirements and application. This is partly why the job requirements are so important: some are also essential requirements for the visa.
*Currency conversion accurate at time of publication.
While you can find work with limited ESL skills, our in-country partners suggest taking our top course, the 120-hour Weekend ESL Course, to give you the best chance of finding a good job. This will qualify for more specialised and challenging ESL jobs with higher salaries.