Living in Japan

Many IES instructors often describe their experience of living and working in Japan as the most exciting and formative years of their careers. Living and working in Japan is certainly a very unique experience. Prepare yourself for hectic daily life, but in safe, ultramodern cities that are also very subtly steeped in tradition. Learn to adjust to culture, behavior, and values that will have you questioning your own comprehension of normality and culminate in a much clearer and deeper understanding of your own cultural traditions and way of life. Meet some of the most friendly, polite, and inquisitive people on earth who will provide you with cultural experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. Taste what is often described as the healthiest, most delicious, and best presented cuisine anywhere, often in surroundings that redefine Western ideas of tranquility and beauty. Challenge and reap personal reward from living up to the high expectations of your students towards their ‘sensei’.

City Commuting

Rounded Image

Japanese take great pride in their subways and trains. Nearly always new, safe, clean, numerous, and punctual, you will not need a car in major cities. The Bullet Train also provides easy travel between major Japanese cities.

Japanese Cuisine

Rounded Image

Ramen, sushi, yakitori, tempura, sukiyaki, soba; throughout Japan, there are restaurants serving food that is healthy, delicious, beautifully presented, and at reasonable prices. A huge variety of Western food is also readily available.

Japanese Nightlife

Rounded Image

Almost everywhere, you can enjoy a good evening’s entertainment (concerts, shows, movies, restaurants etc.) in often traditional settings and in the comforting knowledge of being perfectly safe traveling home.

Japanese Inns

Rounded Image

As well as sightseeing, staying at a Japanese ryokan (hotel) or minshuku (B&B) is an unforgettable experience. Many have onsens (hot spas) that are very relaxing, soothing, and at the same time invigorating.

Socializing With Japanese

Rounded Image

Japanese are famous for being friendly, openminded, interested in sharing life experiences, and inquisitive about Western ways. Traveling the country with Japanese friends is a memorable experience.

Shopping And Daily Life

Rounded Image

Department stores, supermarkets, and convenience stores provide both Japanese and Western foods at competitive prices. The cost of living in Japan is comparable to other major Western cities.

Japanese Festivals

Rounded Image

Japan has numerous festivals throughout the year. The winter ice festival in Sapporo, or cherry blossom viewing in April, or firework displays and rock concerts in August. Japanese festivals are always exciting and fun.

Japanese Temples/Gardens

Rounded Image

Visiting temples in Kyoto and Nara, or castles in Matsumoto and Himeji, or gardens in Kamakura and Yokohama, the number of unforgettable sightseeing experiences in Japan is astonishing. If you are adventurous, there's also Mount Fuji to climb!

Studying Japanese

Rounded Image

You can easily find Japanese language schools located throughout most major Japanese cities. Many instructors also exchange teaching English with Japanese friends who reciprocate by teaching them Japanese.

Cultural Activities

Rounded Image

If Sumo, flower arrangement, Kabuki, or the tea ceremony is not your style, how about visiting robot shows, the Ninja Village, or watching Japanese manga movies? Clubs for cultural pursuits are numerous and very actively pursued.

Domestic/International Travel

Rounded Image

Okinawa, Kyushu, Kansai, Kanto, Tohoku, and Hokkaido all have amazing regional differences to experience. Flying to other South East Asian destinations can also be done cheaply and easily from Japan.

Shibuya/Entertainment City

Rounded Image

IES is located in Shibuya. Shibuya's rejuvenation has recently gained it the nickname 'entertainment city'.

Since its establishment, IES management has always been guided by both Japanese and Western management practices. We strive to provide a supportive workplace that considers the welfare of all our employees in a complex, multicultural environment. We realize that relocating and adjusting to Japan will be challenging. We therefore make every effort to provide comprehensive support to help ease this transition. This support will begin by assisting you with gaining your work visa and coordinating the details for your arrival in Japan. Upon arrival, our Administrative Staff will support you finding suitable accommodation by introducting a reliable real estate agent, getting utilities attached, opening a bank account, registering at the ward office, and the myriad of other challenges that must be faced to ensure a smooth landing and settling in to your new life in Japan. Simultaneously, our teacher trainers will provide you with the knowhow, techniques, and support that will allow you to acquire the skills needed to provide effective and enjoyable lessons to your students.

Work Visa Sponsorship

Rounded Image

Acting as your work visa sponsor, we coordinate your application to the Japanese immigration authority. Your country’s Japanese consulate will then stamp your work visa in your passport.

Contract Documentation

Rounded Image

Contract documentation will be sent to you in your home country. It is written in simple, easy to understand English and provides details on your responsibilities, benefits, and associated compensation.

Ensuring Your Smooth Arrival

Rounded Image

IES will provide a step by step guide that will enable you to make predeparture arrangements to ensure your smooth arrival in Japan. Information in the guide is detailed and practical.

Initial Hotel Accommodation

Rounded Image

IES will arrange business hotel accommodation for your first few days providing a base from which you can look for housing.

Settling-In Orientation

Rounded Image

A comprehensive Settling-In Orientation is conducted the day after you arrive. Advice on key aspects of living and working in Japan as well as answers to your questions will be provided.

Support Finding Housing

Rounded Image

Our Administrative Coordinator can advise you about finding accommodation. Help will also be given with other moving in challenges.

Health Considerations

Rounded Image

All IES instructors are enrolled in the Japanese National Health Insurance Plan. This covers 70% of your medical, dental, and medication expenses. Monthly premiums are very reasonable.

Technology Matters

Rounded Image

During your Settling-In Orientation, advice will be given on how to acquire a cell phone, SIM card purchases, internet connections, WIFI options, and many other technology related matters.

Airfare Expenses

Rounded Image

Initial purchase of air tickets is your responsibility. Financial support to help cover airfare expenses is included in your contract fulfilment payment. All major airlines fly into Narita/Haneda Airports.

Work Transportation Costs

Rounded Image

For all employees, IES company policy is to use only public transportation for work related travel. On a monthly basis, IES will pay your expenses for travelling both to and from teaching assignments.

Contract Fulfillment Payment

Rounded Image

On successfully completing your annual contract, you will receive a contract fulfillment payment. This payment includes remuneration to help cover airfares and health insurance premiums.

Budgeting For Your First Month

Rounded Image

Relocating to any major city requires an initial investment. IES will provide advice on a suitable amount to bring to cover initial expenses until you receive your first pay check.

Helping others to learn is one of the most satisfying activities in which an individual can participate. During your employment with IES, you will have the opportunity to help several hundred Japanese students communicate more effectively in English. They will remember you long after you have taught them. Your teaching experience in Japan with IES will definitely help single you out when applying for positions later in your career. Relatively few Western professionals have lived and worked in Japan for an extended period of time, nor had the opportunity to learn how the Japanese conduct business. IES teaching experience will give your resume added impact, especially in the ever growing number of Japanese subsidiaries overseas. For instructors teaching primarily school classes, your experience in Japan will always be a definite plus when applying for K-12 positions in North America, Europe, or elsewhere in the world.

Training Approach

Rounded Image

The needs of Japanese business executives are very diverse. IES therefore uses a ‘customization’ approach for our business classes. School classes are based on the national curriculum.

IES Students

Rounded Image

Your business students could be senior or middle managers, young diplomats, regular employees, or freshmen. You will also teach elementary, junior high, and high school students.

Student Expectations

Rounded Image

Key characteristics of good teachers in the West are similar traits that are expected and respected in Japan. The Japanese expect their ‘sensei’ to be professional and beyond reproach.

Business Classes

Rounded Image

Classes are held at IES offices or in client facilities around Tokyo or Osaka. You will also teach at government agencies and at the subsidiaries of multinational corporations.

School Classes

Rounded Image

ALTs (Assistant Language Teachers) assist the Japanese teachers in the classroom during English lessons. You will experience elementary, junior high, and high school classes.

Teaching Schedule

Rounded Image

School schedule starts at 8:30 AM and ends at 4:00 PM. Some business classes are held during the day, but most take place in the early evenings, starting from 6:00 PM or 6:30 PM.

Teacher Training

Rounded Image

You will receive a series of teacher training sessions that focus on the courses that you will teach, TESOL teaching techniques, texts, and IES teaching methodology.

Teaching Method

Rounded Image

IES firmly believes that our Communicative Approach to language acquisition exactly matches the requirements of Japanese executives facing challenges in global business.

Coordination Center

Rounded Image

The Coordination Center provides logistical and administrative support to clients, students, and instructors both before and during each training program.

Learning Materials

Rounded Image

All IES programs have accompanying training plans and learning materials. IES has developed a variety of learning materials that meet the diverse needs of business students.

Pre-Class Briefings

Rounded Image

Before the start of each training program, instructors receive a ‘Pre-Class Briefing’ during which the goals, students, scheduling, learning materials, and training plan are reviewed in detail.

Customized Training Programs

Rounded Image

IES also offers communications training courses that are industry specific and customized to meet our clients’ needs. These courses focus on particular areas of specialty or professional expertise.

Various Types of Professionals Required

IES instructors have Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees from accredited universities in English speaking countries. TESOL and CELTA certification while advantageous is not compulsory, with consideration also given to each candidate’s personality, educational background, and demonstrable interest in and exposure to Japanese culture and Japanese citizens. IES deliberately employs individuals from a range of professional fields.

Positions Available

Pharmaceutical English Instructors

Pharmaceutical professionals with experience in various areas of the pharma/biotech industry needed to teach at and develop materials for leading pharma companies in Japan. Based in Tokyo, teaching is in English to small groups of Japanese pharma executives. Only applicants with pharmaceutically related degrees can be considered.

Engineering English Instructors

Engineering professionals with engineering degrees in one of the following areas: chemical & materials, civil, electronics, industrial & manufacturing, mechanical, automotive, needed to teach and develop materials for leading Japanese engineering companies. Based in Tokyo, teaching is in English to small groups of Japanese engineers. Only applicants with engineering-related degrees can be considered.

Computer/IT Services Instructors

Computer/IT Services professionals in various areas of the IT services industry needed to teach at and develop materials for leading IT companies in Japan. Based in Tokyo, teaching is in English to small groups of Japanese IT executives. Only applicants with computer/IT related degrees can be considered.

Business English/ALT Instructors

Accepting applications from university graduates to teach at Japanese corporations, government ministries, and public schools in Tokyo and Osaka. Positions starting from March and September. Japanese language skills advantageous, but not mandatory.

Additional Position Details

You will conduct classes either in IES offices or at client facilities in and around Tokyo and Osaka, teaching several types of English communication programs (depending on your background: management, engineering, pharmaceutical, computer services, healthcare services, bespoke, as well as general business communication skills) to employees selected by our corporate clients in Japanese industry, as well as to officials from national government ministries and agencies. You will also conduct English language lessons as an Assistant Language Teacher for young learners at Japanese public primary and secondary schools.

You will receive extensive teacher training on arrival supplemented with regular feedback and counseling. In your adult classes, you will be trained to use a small group, communicative, English only, coaching based approach. For all classes, detailed training plans and IES learning materials will be provided. Full administrative assistance with class logistics will be provided by our bilingual Japanese course coordinators.

You will be offered an annual, renewable contract which includes work visa sponsorship, paid vacations, subsidized health insurance payments, contract fulfillment payment (to help cover cost of flights, etc.), and travel expenses to/from teaching assignments. Your starting date is negotiable, with the biggest windows of opportunity during the months of March - June and August - October. You will also receive support with your work visa submission, hotel and other arrival arrangements, finding accommodation, and other settling-in challenges.

Qualifications Required

We are looking for individuals with excellent personable and communicative skills. Minimum immigration requirements to secure the necessary work visa are a BA/BS degree certificate from an accredited university, in an English speaking country and sponsorship by IES (work visa sponsorship is required to work legally in Japan). Teaching qualifications, TESOL/CELTA certification, and one/two years of work experience while advantageous is not compulsory, with equal consideration also given to each candidate’s personality, educational background, and demonstrable interest in and exposure to Japanese culture and Japanese citizens.

Application Procedure

Please email your CV as a pdf attachment (CV must include a chronological listing (with dates) of your educational background and work experience) and cover letter outlining your educational background and work experience) to Damian Thomas in Tokyo: Successful applicants only will be emailed additional information and an IES questionnaire used during your Skype interview.

40 Frequently Asked Questions

Please visit the Japanese government's official page concerning eligibility at
BA/BS degree is a minimum requirement. Teaching qualifications (PGCE, and TESOL/CELTA, etc.) are advantageous but not mandatory with equal consideration given to each candidate's personality, educational background, and work experience.    
Please forward your cover letter and CV/resume to Academic Director:
Working Holiday Visas are short term visas that are valid for one year (depending on nationality they can be extended) and are intended primarily for individuals who are planning to visit Japan mostly for vacation. Individuals should apply for Working Holiday Visas independently of IES.
A 'Specialist in Humanities' Visa requires sponsorship by IES. Applicants MUST possess TWELVE years of primary and secondary education in a country where English is the language of instruction and a degree from an English speaking university. 'Specialist in Humanities' Visas are valid for one to five years and are renewable. For instructors joining IES on a full time basis, IES will provide the necessary sponsorship needed to apply for a 'Specialist in Humanities' Visa.
Depending on the time of year (spring is particularly busy), the Japanese Immigration Office (from documentation submission to approval) can take from four to eight weeks to issue a pre-approval visa.
Holders of a 'Dependent's Visa' can apply to the Japanese Immigration Office for a work permit that usually allows them to work up to a certain maximum number of hours per week.
The Japanese Immigration Office sends your pre-approval visa to IES which we then forward on to you. You must then visit the nearest Japanese Consulate in the country in which you are residing to have your work visa stamped into your passport.
IES offers instructors an initial contract term of one year (renewable). All full time instructors are expected to complete at least one contract term.
Your starting date is negotiable, with the biggest windows of opportunity being during the months of March-June and August-October. You are therefore encouraged to apply at least three to four months in advance of your preferred arrival date.
Most instructors are based in Tokyo. A few teaching positions are available at our branch office in Osaka. Although IES will make every effort to accommodate your requests, IES reserves the right to decide where each instructor is based.
You will be contacted within two weeks of your interview with an offer of employment. After IES receives your initial acceptance by email, we will then forward contractual documentation along with a brochure providing detailed explanations for each step required to adequately prepare for getting the necessary working visa and logistics for your arrival in Japan.
You are responsible for organizing your own transportation to Japan, including airfare. You are also responsible for the transportation costs from either Narita or Haneda airports to your assigned downtown hotel.
If you wish to send clothing or other possessions to Japan prior to your arrival, please feel free to do so, addressing your packages to yourself in the care of IES at:

Mr. or Ms. (Your Name)
c/o International Education Services
Rose Hikawa Building
22-14, Higashi 2-Chome
Tokyo 150-0011
Like in all major cities around the world, prices vary considerably. If you are willing to live and dine in a similar way to most Japanese, the cost of living is no more expensive than in any other major Western city.
Living in Tokyo and Osaka is a unique experience. In addition to those aspects that are truly Japanese, Tokyo and Osaka are very modern cities with all the amenities, shopping, entertainment, and nightlife, as well as cultural and sporting events that are to be expected in any major metropolitan area.
Indigenous Japanese culture is very rich offering numerous opportunities to experience a wide variety of foods, traditional festivals, and nature throughout the 51 designated regions. Japanese cities are among the safest in the world, with extremely low crime rates. Japan boasts one of the fastest, most comprehensive, and reliable transportation systems in the world. You do not need to worry about purchasing automobiles nor the associated expenses for fuel, insurance, maintenance etc. Japan is also perfectly located as a starting point for either brief or extended visits to other countries in Asia either during or after completion of your employment with IES.
IES will arrange hotel accommodation for incoming instructors arriving in Tokyo/Osaka. Choice of hotel will be at IES' discretion. You will be informed of the details pertaining to your initial accommodation prior to your departure. Please ask for further details on initial hotel accommodation and reimbursement for associated expenses during your interview.
Most IES instructors rent apartments. IES' Administrative Coordinator will provide support in your search for a reasonably priced and conveniently located apartment, contact utility companies about connecting water, gas, and electricity, explain about the garbage disposal system in your living area, etc. IES' Administrative Coordinator will also provide support in opening a bank account and registering at the Ward Office, etc. All foreigners are obliged by the Japanese government to register at the Ward Office in the area where their accommodation is located.
Typical monthly rents for a 'ONE LDK' apartment in Tokyo (one main room/kitchenette/bathroom & toilet) range from 65,000 to 75,000JPY.
Nearly all apartments in Japan are unfurnished. With the increasing popularity of discount stores and 100 Yen shops, furnishing costs are cheap. To move into the apartment, however, following the traditional Japanese rental system, you should prepare for an initial outlay equivalent to three month's rent. One month's rent is paid to the realtor (not recoverable), one month's rent is paid in advance (recoverable), and one month's rent is used as a deposit (recoverable minus any costs for repairs and cleaning). For more up market apartments in key locations, sometimes one month's rent is paid to the owner as 'Thank you' money (not recoverable).
To cover the costs of moving into your apartment and initial daily living expenses until receipt of your first pay check, IES recommends that you bring a minimum of 300,000JPY.
Once your work visa has been issued by the Japanese Consulate nearest you, you are asked to email or phone IES advising us of your visa number and issue date, and your tentative arrival date. IES will then review our staffing requirements and approve a definite date of arrival. Plane tickets should not be purchased until a definite arrival date has been discussed with and approved by IES.
Please ask for further details on compensation during your interview.
The income tax rate for your first year in Japan is between 5% and 7% depending on your income.
Costs for transportation to/from teaching assignments are reimbursed by IES.
You are entitled to join the National Health Insurance Program. You pay 30% and the Japanese Government pays 70% of medical and hospital costs. Please ask for further details on health insurance during your interview.
After six months of employment, paid time off days can be taken. Please ask for further details on time off during your interview.
You will be paid on a monthly basis by bank transfer. You will therefore need to open a bank account. You cannot open a bank account without a Residence Card (issued at your port of entry).
Other opportunities are available at IES, for example, by accepting teacher trainer responsibilities or becoming involved in learning material development activities.
Any instructor joining IES must participate in our Teacher Training Program. Each session in the Teacher Training Program is referred to as an 'orientation'. The type of orientations provided will depend on the types of classes that you will be asked to teach. After receiving a 'Settling-In Orientation', instructors can expect to receive comprehensive, intensively scheduled orientation sessions. Observations of experienced instructors will also be scheduled. All IES instructors are regularly observed by IES orientators followed by detailed feedback sessions either in face to face meetings or by telephone. Clients and students are also regularly consulted for their feedback which will be passed on to you by one of the members of our Coordination Center responsible for that particular class.
Teaching assignments will start after your orientation sessions have been completed.
Japan is still rather conservative concerning dress code and you will be expected to wear business attire on all teaching assignments and when visiting IES offices.
The daily number of teaching hours may vary. Instructors agree to be available for eight hours per day and for five days per week. Please ask for further details on daily teaching schedules during your interview.
Your students and assignments with IES will depend on your professional background and our current openings. You may be assigned to teach young learners in elementary, junior high, and high schools. In addition, you may be assigned to teach English to Japanese employees in corporations and government agencies.
IES prides itself on teaching a wide variety of business topics using our own learning materials specifically developed to meet the needs of our Japanese students and clients.
The curriculum and learning materials used in your public school classes have been developed by the Japanese government.
Public school classes usually have 35-40 students. Business classes are offered privately (one student), semi privately (two students), and in small groups (4 - 8 students).
You will be expected to teach English to students who have a wide range of English fluencies from introductory (e.g. public school classes) to very advanced (e.g. senior executives returning to Japan after working for several years overseas).
Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Sundays/National Holidays Closed

Tel: 03-3498-7101
Fax: 03-3498-7113

International Education Services (IES) is a language training consultancy headquartered in Shibuya, Tokyo. In 2019, IES celebrated 50 years of experience conducting business, engineering, and customized training programs for Japanese corporations and governmental organizations, as well as providing ALTs for Japanese primary and secondary schools. While English predominates, IES also teaches Chinese and numerous other languages to Japanese executives being deployed overseas. IES management consists of Japanese, American, and British nationals, supported by bilingual Japanese employees. Our instructors are primarily from North America, Europe, and Australasia.

Working Principles

“Innovation in training through challenges, experience, and creativity.”



Rose Hikawa Building
22-14, Higashi 2-Chome
Tokyo 150-0011
Tel: 03-3498-7101
Fax: 03-3498-7113

Tokyo Office Map


Hasetora Building
6-15, Koraibashi 4-Chome
Osaka 541-0043
Tel: 06-6202-7355
Fax: 06-6202-7356

Osaka Office Map

Keep in touch?

We are always interested in your comments, suggestions and enquiries, either in Japanese or English, about our training programs and websites. Should you wish to contact us.