We’ll outline the best side jobs in Japan foreigners can find both online and in-person, as well as a basic overview of the taxes in Japan and visa regulations that may come into play when taking a job other than the one claimed on your visa.
How can you make extra money in Japan
Tokyo has long been a city infamous for its industrious spirit and hard-working citizens. Japanese jobs are notoriously secure, with young people often entering a company assuming they’ll be employed there for life.
Foreigners, however, are often a different story– with most English teaching jobs sitting firmly at 250,000 yen to 350,000 yen per month. This has caused many foreigners to look for a second job in Japan, so they can afford to enjoy all the amazing things Japan has to offer!
You can make extra money in Japan in a variety of ways.
Part-time jobs in Japan are called arubaito. Generally, average wage anywhere from 1000 yen to 1600 yen per hour in Tokyo.
The minimum wage in Japan is 790-1013 yen per hour (depending on the prefectures) with a slightly lower rate for under the age of 18 or over 65.
These jobs are often in the service industry, and higher rates are usually paid for odd hours or extra-busy locations. Convenience stores are also great options for those looking for their first job to work part-time.
Best side jobs in Japan for foreigners
There are many part-time jobs in Japan for English speakers.
Teaching & Translation
Part-time teaching jobs and part-time Japanese translation jobs are the most common for Native English speakers. These tend to happen more organically, as many who are already employed to teach English in Japan full time end up making connections.
There are, of course, other arubaito for foreigners in Japan. The actual minimum wage in Japan for arubaito vary from region to region, but Tokyo’s remains the highest, with 2019 legislation increasing it to 1,013 yen per hour.
Convenience stores & Restaurants
If you have basic Japanese skills, working in convenience stores or restaurants can be a great way to meet other Japanese people and practice your practical language skills!
Hotels & Tourism
Hotels and hostels are often looking for workers as well, as English is the language of travelers. Various positions are available, front office staff, restaurant staff, wedding & event catering staff, and more. Some places could work 2 or 3 times weekly, so it would be nice to take as a side job.
The better your Japanese, the better your chance of getting a decent-paying part-time job! Bilingual employees are invaluable, especially in Tokyo, and is becoming a necessity as tourism skyrockets.
Retail stores like Apple and Uniqlo are the most well-known, and also include discounts as part of job benefits. Other languages like Thai, Korean, Chinese, and French are also invaluable skills that can increase your base pay.
Best online side jobs in Japan for foreigners
If you’d rather work from home, (an understandable sentiment, considering the current climate), there are several online jobs in Japan for foreigners.
The most common online jobs are, of course, teaching and translating, especially since many schools were forced to change to online models as a result of COVID.
Online job rate
Rates vary widely, depending on factors like clients, location, and experience. Highly experienced business English teachers in Tokyo with the best credentials can charge 10,000 yen per hour with very little fuss.
A brand new teacher with very few credentials and limited experience, however, would be more in the range of 1,500-3,000 yen per hour. Translations are often along the same lines, though my personal recommendation is never to accept less than 3,000 yen per hour for a professional translation job.
Freelancing is quickly becoming the most common type of online work, as more and more companies do away with traditional models of hiring to move towards a gig-based model.
In order to fill this void, freelance websites and listservs have become more and more popular as a way to make a few extra bucks without scouring the corners of the internet and applying to hundreds of places to find jobs.
Top 10 freelance websites to find online side jobs
Our top ten websites are as follows:
Upwork is one of the leading freelance websites, especially for writers. It’s important to note that while they accept most applicants without testing, they have quotas for certain languages and types of work, so the more niche you can get, the better.
Another con: you have to pay a nominal fee to apply for jobs, usually less than a dollar per application (with higher rates for higher-paying jobs).
Unlike Upwork, where freelancers submit resumes, Fiverr allows you to upload a portfolio and allow potential employers to peruse your work and make offers.
This is a platform loved most by graphic designers and artists, or other freelancers who work best in visual mediums.
This is the largest website in terms of sheer volume, with over 30 million users. This is a double-edged sword: more freelancers means more employers will be using the website, but also stiffer competition, which drives down rates.
This is the top-rated of our paid service listservs, at 14.75 USD per month. Since it costs a little extra, it’s great for those looking to transition into freelancing full-time, rather than just a side-hustle. These jobs are not limited by country and the paid service offers technical support and vetted companies.
If you’ve already been freelancing for some time, Toptal is an excellent service, selling its site as an executive option that only accepts the top 3% of freelancers.
While not technically entirely online, this directory is great for someone who can still get out and around and has various skills without results in the digital world.
Online part time teaching jobs in Japan
If you want to try using the Japanese platform, there are more chances. You can make money as a side job on skill-sharing platforms likewise “skillshare.com”.
You can create your lessons like teaching English or translation, and decide your work hours. It would be great flexible online part-time jobs in Japan.
Side job VISA & TAX rules
But for that extra job in Japan, side job tax law can be something of a black box. You must always be extremely careful to meet all visa requirements and pay taxes on time and in full, as a failure to do so can cause serious problems down the line.
Firstly, you must check with your employer’s contract about second job. Some directly state a non-competition clause, meaning you can’t work for another similar employer while you’re at your current job. It’s best to get a verbal affirmation from your employer, so you aren’t in trouble if they find out.
Once you’ve okayed the extra work with your employer, you must start the process to change your japan work visa for side jobs. Fill out the “Application for Permission to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted.”
NOTE: You can download the printable pdf form directly from the immigration website.
Bring the completed form, a document stating the responsibilities of the new job, and your passport and residence card to your regional immigration office (NOT your local tax office).
If working for another company, ask for their guidance– after all, they need you there too!
Japan’s income tax deductions are usually taken directly out of a paycheck, but like in the United States, some employers choose to file you as an independent contractor rather than an employee. If you can, having your inhabitant taxes and other taxes taken out directly is by far the best for a stress-free tax return.
When you make over 200,000yen annually, you will need to fill out an additional form called the Kakutei Shinkoku that adds up the additional income from things like side jobs, medical deductions, and public competitions.
If you dot your eyes and cross your t’s, we’re confident you can find a side job that gets you the extra money you want without feeling lost trying to figure out taxes or visas. Happy Hunting!
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