Insider’s Guide: Essential Tips For Taking A Job In Japan

Joanna Tresa

Last Updated: July 20, 2023
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Japan’s unique blend of ancient traditions and modern innovations makes it an enticing destination for job seekers. However, before embarking on a professional journey in the Land of the Rising Sun, there are crucial aspects to consider. From cultural norms and work etiquette to language barriers and the notorious work culture, understanding these nuances is essential for a successful and fulfilling experience. This blog aims to equip aspiring professionals with vital insights into what to expect before taking a job in Japan.

Cultural Etiquette: Mind Your Manners

Japanese culture places a high emphasis on politeness and respect. Bowing is a common form of greeting, with the depth of the bow depending on the formality of the situation. Additionally, using appropriate honorifics when addressing people is essential. Learning basic Japanese phrases like greetings and simple expressions can go a long way in building relationships with your colleagues and locals. Remember, it’s customary to remove your shoes when entering homes or traditional establishments, so keep those socks clean!

Work Culture: Embrace The Harmony

people working

Japanese work culture is characterised by a strong sense of teamwork and respect for authority. Long hours are not uncommon, and punctuality is highly valued. Arriving on time for meetings and appointments is essential to demonstrate professionalism. The concept of “ganbatte” or doing your best and persevering through challenges is deeply ingrained. It’s also common to participate in after-work social activities like “nomikai” (drinking parties), which provide opportunities to bond with coworkers and strengthen relationships.

Language: Kanji, Katakana, Hiragana, Oh My!

While English is often used in international business settings, having some knowledge of Japanese will greatly enhance your experience in Japan. Hiragana, katakana, and kanji are the three written scripts used in Japanese. Learning basic phrases, numbers, and common expressions will help you navigate daily interactions more smoothly. Consider taking language classes, using language learning apps, or practising with language exchange partners to improve your language skills and make your time in Japan more enjoyable.

Housing: Embrace Compact Living


In Japan’s major cities, housing options are often small and expensive due to limited space. Be prepared to embrace compact living in cosy apartments known as “apato” or “mansion.” These apartments are designed efficiently with space-saving furniture and minimalistic living in mind. Additionally, renting in Japan involves some unique aspects, such as upfront costs like key money (reikin), deposit (shikikin), and agency fees (chukai tezuryo). Researching and understanding the rental process beforehand will help you navigate the housing market with ease.

Transportation: Efficient And Punctual

Japan is renowned for its efficient and punctual transportation systems. Trains, subways, and buses are the primary modes of commuting, with extensive networks covering most areas. Consider getting a rechargeable transportation card like Suica or Pasmo, which allows for seamless travel across various modes of transportation. Shinkansen, the iconic bullet trains, provide a speedy and comfortable way to explore different regions of Japan during your time off.

Food: Beyond Sushi And Ramen

Japanese cuisine is a culinary delight that extends far beyond sushi and ramen. Prepare to indulge your taste buds in a wide range of flavours and dishes. From savoury street food like yakisoba and takoyaki to elegant kaiseki meals, there is something for every palate. Don’t miss the opportunity to try regional specialties like Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, Osaka-style takoyaki, or Kyoto’s delicate tempura. And if you’re feeling adventurous, step into an izakaya, where you can enjoy delicious grilled skewers (yakitori) paired with traditional sake.

Technology: Innovation At Your Fingertips

Japan is at the forefront of technological advancements. From high-speed internet to cutting-edge robotics and smart toilets, you’ll encounter technological marvels there. Take the opportunity to experience futuristic gadgets, explore high-tech shopping districts like Akihabara, and marvel at the convenience of vending machines that dispense everything from hot coffee to fresh eggs. Embrace the tech-savvy culture and immerse yourself in the innovations that make Japan a technological wonderland.

Unlocking Your Potential In Japan With Mentoria


Taking a job in Japan is an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in a fascinating culture and experience a blend of tradition and modernity. By understanding the cultural nuances, embracing the work culture, and being open to new experiences, you’ll make the most of your time in Japan. In addition to the incredible experiences awaiting you in Japan, Mentoria can provide valuable support to make your transition smoother. So, prepare yourself for a memorable journey filled with delicious food, breathtaking sights, and warm-hearted people. Ganbatte! (Good luck!)