Skip Navigation

Part-time Job Information for International Students in 2022

Many international students may find it difficult to get a part-time job in Japan because of differences in their language and culture. However, according to a survey conducted by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) of more than 7,300 international students in 2021, 67% of respondents reported working part-time in Japan. In this article, we’ll be looking at what the most popular part-time jobs for international students are, what you should pay attention to when working part-time in Japan, and more, putting together all international students need to know about part-time jobs in Japan.

1. Popular part-time jobs and what makes them unique
According to the JASSO survey, 35% of foreign students reported working part-time in the restaurant industry and 30% in sales at convenience stores.

Compared to convenience store work, which includes a wide variety of services, the conversations in which staff engage in the restaurant industry are somewhat limited in terms of menu and what the facility offers, so this type of work may be easier for international students to participate in as well. In addition, part-time jobs in the restaurant industry are also popular among Japanese students, so they can be used as a place for making friends. On the other hand, the atmosphere and cleanliness of a restaurant is very important, so workers will need to be keenly aware of the rules regarding how to present themselves. For example, there are many cafés and restaurants where wearing accessories or having your nails done is prohibited. Before entering into an employment contract as a part-time employee, be sure to check what the rules are.

N2 level Japanese is required for part-time jobs at convenience stores, and N3 level is required for café staff. If you are still not confident in Japanese, you can also consider cooking positions at restaurants and showcase preparation at supermarkets. For more, please refer to this guide for useful information when working part-time in Kobe.

According to a survey conducted at the end of 2020 on the second most popular convenience store in the country, Japan currently has nearly 56,000 convenience stores. Since there are many stores that operate 24 hours a day, one of the attractions of working here seems to be the ability to go to work after school hours. Work at convenience stores includes setting up product displays and manning the cash register, simple cooking, and providing drinks. Compared to the café work we mentioned earlier, the conversations you’ll have with each customer are shorter. However, because you’ll serve many customers throughout the day, and convenience stores in Japan offers a wide range of services, including the purchase of food, drinks, and daily necessities, payment for public utilities, and the shipping of packages, convenience store work is a great option for people who want to make wide use of their Japanese, and learn a lot about Japanese society.

2. Points of caution while working in Japan
In addition to the precautions we mentioned above, there are several other things you should be aware of when working in Japan.

One is time: it is very important to carefully manage your working hours. Not only should you get to your workplace in time to start work, but you’ll also be expected to be prepared to start working when your hours begin, including preparation you’ll need to do in advance, like changing your clothes and preparing any tools. Don’t assume it’ll be alright to be just a little bit late: if it seems like you might arrive five minutes late, make sure that at a minimum, you contact your place of work as soon as possible.

Second is hospitality, to provide quality service to customers. Although there is no tipping culture in Japan, you’ll still be expected to provide customers with the best service possible. You may be expected to voluntarily go above and beyond even without a specific request from a guest, for example by making sure you position yourself at the customers’ eye line when speaking with them. This kind of service may be different from the norm in your home country, but cultural differences are part of the fun!

3. Laws concerning part-time workers
Japanese law stipulates that workers must receive a break of at least 45 minutes if they work more than six hours, and less than eight per day. If one day’s working hours exceed eight hours, workers are owed a break of one hour. If this rule isn’t followed at your place of work, please consult with a teacher or someone you trust.

In addition, in order for foreign students to work part-time, they need to obtain “Permission to engage in activities other than permitted under the status of residence.” There is also a limit of up to 28 hours of work that students can perform per week, so you are not allowed to work beyond this limit. Be very careful not to forget and break one of these rules.

And there you have it! Points to note and cultural differences when foreign students work part-time in Japan. If you want to do a part-time job in Japan, please take a look at our article on finding a part-time job for international students, too.