Living in Tokyo (Working Holiday Advice)

Living in Tokyo (Working Holiday Advice)

Tokyo was a great learning experience for me and I would like to share tips and provide advice from a personal opinion.

Japanese Level

Once you get past the 日本語が上手ですね!comments and want to take it further, you should at least be a N3 level if you are starting out or looking to be an English teacher. If you have experience and want to work ever harder especially in corporate jobs, you should be at least an N2+ level
able to understand a variety of topics, articles and possibly even newspapers.

Living Tips

  • Prepare the following
    Degree Certification
    JLPT Certification
    Credit Cards/Debit Cards

  • No official hairdressing businesses for Black and people of mixed heritage so learn to do your own hair.
  • Best bank accounts to start with Japan Post Bank and Shinsei Bank. The latter is supposed to be really good with international money transfers.
  • Register at Town Hall as soon as possible (English speaking helpers will do their best to help).
  • You can buy cheaper medication at CreateSD, Aeon and Ito Yokado.
  • Get insurance (coverwise and insureandgo)
  • Social network and get your connections!
  • Go Japan when you are younger.
  • Other articles
    Things You’ll Miss about Japan after living here

Working Holiday Advice

  1. Visit the country before deciding to live there or not. Scan around as many cities and towns you go to and see if you can live there. But if you like to be surprised before travelling there, do so if you want to.
  2. Get your vaccines (if you don’t live in Asia, you’re going to a whole new continent with a whole lot of bugs, food, weather etc.) Hep A and Hep B is enough for Japan but if you want to be recommended more, see here.
  3. You can do work and holiday if you had more than £2000 and you’ve got enough to travel around and explore. But that minimum amount of money is not enough to go travelling the entire time. My recommendation is to work part time if you want to go on holiday more later. Save up a lot while working here then travel in your last three months.
  4. You are able to save money while working in Japan if you are in Japan for a short time (maximum 6 months) it’s possible. A full year or more? It depends on your plans. Just be smart about your money.
  5. For work experience, basic Japanese is a must for any job. For corporate, they will want to know if you have taken the JLPT test and what level you took. It depends with part-time jobs. If you want a job with no Japanese, you’ll have to work at a factory or cafe with other foreigners.
  6. If you’re about an N4/N3 level, you should be able to: purchase contacts, booking a coach ticket, gym membership, buying medicine and donating clothes at mode off.
  7. If you want to travel or shorten your working holiday and are worried about immigration, please check here.
  8. Racist and discrimination will happen. Before interviews, they ask you for to add your picture to your CV/resume and will still be surprised to see you when called in. The white privilege is real and I personally believe people of colour are treated much harshly if you don’t get the jokes and your Japanese is so poor to them you’ll get picked on.

What to Pack

Where to Live

  • Areas

  • Places to avoid living in (I am still in the process of re-uploading the info on why but for now please see below):
    Shiohama House (World Unite!) – Article | Photos
    GG House – Article | Photos


  • Motsunabe
  • Sukiyaki
  • KFC Christmas
  • Chazuke
  • Hayashi
  • Nikujaga
  • Kushiage
  • Wagyu
  • Chakonabe
  • Kamameshi (Kamaneshi Haru)
  • Monjaya

International/Western options


  • Hanami
  • Enoshima Beach
  • Halloween in Shibuya
  • Karaoke Places (Karaoke Mokomoko Shimokitazawa, カラオケ Ban Ban Nakano, カラオケ ビッグエコ Nishi-Arai)
  • Hakone
  • Shin-okubo
  • Kabukicho (Host clubs)

Creating an Invoice (Freelancers)

This is an example of how to create your own invoice but if you have done before, do not worry. Please find my template for you to use here.

Job Sites


Links below are for Android but ioS is written for most apps.

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