English teacher in Japan sat a computer desk using a laptop to calculate how much he can save per month teaching in Japan

Teaching English In Japan: Salary & Benefits (2023)

The role of an English teacher in Japan offers a wealth of personal and professional benefits. Not only will you be plunged into a mesmerizing new culture, but you’ll also acquire invaluable teaching experience, paving the way for your future career path.

Given the high demand for English teachers, teaching English in Japan offers a good salary and many employment perks. But exactly how much can you earn teaching English in Japan?

Let’s find out the teaching English in Japan salaries for different roles, the benefits you’ll receive, and how much you’ll likely save each month.

Key Takeaways

  • Teaching English in Japan offers a chance to live and work abroad while earning a good salary from US$1,900 to US$4,500.
  • English teachers in Japan consistently rank among the highest earners in Asia and can expect to receive various employment benefits.
  • Requirements to teach English in Japan include being a native or near-native English speaker, having a bachelor’s degree in any field, a clean criminal record, a valid passport, and a work visa. 
  • Teachers with TEFLs, CELTAs, or degrees in teaching are likely to command the highest salaries
  • To find a high-salaried English teaching job in Japan, one can use government-sponsored programs, apply directly to schools or language academies, use recruitment agencies or job boards, or network with other teachers.
Job NameWage/Salary (Average)Hours Worked (Teaching)
Assistant Language Teacher (ALT)$2,12025 hours per week
Eikaiwa Teacher$1,90025 hours per week
University Lecturer$2,280 – $4,55010-15 hours per week
International School Teacher$3,917 – $5,87520-25 hours per week
Private Tutor$21.25 – 28 per hourFlexible schedule

Why Teach English in Japan?

Although we focus on salaries in this article, there are many non-monetary reasons to teach in Japan.

Salary and Benefits

There’s a high demand for English teachers in Japan, so you won’t have trouble finding a job.

The salary and benefits of teaching English in Japan are very competitive. You can expect to earn a comfortable salary that allows you to live a good life and save money.

Many schools also offer benefits such as health insurance, paid holidays, and even help with finding accommodation. Teaching English in Japan is not just a rewarding experience but also a financially stable career choice.

Culture and Respect

Besides money and benefits, English is seen as key to achieving Japan’s goal of competing in the global market. So, as an English teacher in Japan, you’ll be highly valued and respected by both students and employers.

Teaching English in Japan gives you the unique opportunity to experience a new culture and lifestyle. Japan is rich in history, traditions, and customs, so every day will be a chance to learn something new.

You’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in Japanese culture, try new foods, and meet new people. And it’s a great way to learn Japanese (note: you don’t need to speak Japanese to teach English), which is an increasingly important language in the global market.

Making friends

Teaching English in Japan is a chance to make friends and build relationships. The Japanese people are known for their warm hospitality; you’ll find they’re eager to welcome and help you. 

You’ll have the opportunity to meet other teachers from around the world who share your passion for teaching and exploring new cultures.

a young teacher outside a school in Japan thinking about teaching english in Japan salary

How Much Can You Earn as an English Teacher in Japan?

You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much you can earn as an English teacher in Japan.

Various positions are available, ranging from Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) to private tutor, and salaries can range from $1,700 to $5,000 USD per month, depending on your experience and position.

This makes Japan comparable to Korea as one of Asia’s highest-paying countries for English teachers.

  • As an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) on the JET program, you can expect to earn an average monthly salary of around $2,120, with 25 teaching hours per week and a contracted 35-hour work week. Source: JETProgramUSA.org.
  • Eikaiwa teachers earn an average monthly salary of $1,900, with 25 teaching hours per week teaching children and adults.
  • University English teachers earn an average monthly salary of $2,280 to $4,550 and teach adults for 10-15 hours a week.
  • International school teachers earn an average monthly salary of $3,917 to $5,875 and teach children in kindergarten through 12th grade.
  • Private tutors can set their own prices and schedule, teaching children and adults for as few or as many hours as they want and earning an average of $21.25 per hour.

While the cost of living in Japan is higher than other popular teaching destinations in Asia, it’s still possible to live, work, save, and travel during your time there. English teachers in Japan consistently rank among the highest earners in Asia, giving them a good quality of life.

With the thriving TEFL job market in Japan, there are many opportunities for English teachers to find stable, high-paying jobs through reputable recruiters like GABA or the government JET program.

What Employment Benefits to Expect When Teaching English in Japan

Benefits tend to be pretty good in Japan, particularly compared to ESL jobs in other Asian countries.

English teachers in Japan typically enjoy the following benefits.

  • Health insurance covering 70% of medical expenses
  • Airfare reimbursement for flights to and from Japan
  • Housing subsidy with free or subsidized accommodation
  • Training and support through orientation programs, mentoring sessions, workshops, and online resources
  • Parental leave options, both paid and unpaid
  • Bonus payments for performance or other criteria
  • Vacation time for personal relaxation and travel
  • Commuting allowance to support transportation costs
  • Pension plan for long-term financial security
  • Language classes to improve your language skills

You can expect to receive health insurance from most teaching jobs, covering 70% of medical expenses. This means you can focus on your work without worrying about the cost of healthcare.

Some teaching jobs offer airfare reimbursement, partially or fully covering the cost of your flight to and from Japan. This is an excellent advantage for those who want to travel home in the holidays without breaking the bank.

A housing subsidy is another benefit provided by some teaching jobs in Japan. You can expect to receive free or subsidized accommodation, either in shared apartments or private studios. Finding an apartment in Japan can be a nightmare, so this is a great way to save money on rent and live comfortably while teaching.

Some teaching jobs offer training and support for their teachers, such as orientation programs, mentoring sessions, workshops, and online resources. This means you can improve your teaching skills and get valuable feedback from experienced teachers.

Parental leave is an essential benefit provided by some teaching jobs in Japan. Depending on the contract and the employer, you can receive paid or unpaid parental leave. This is great news for those who want to start a family while teaching in Japan.

Bonus payments, vacation time, commuting allowance, pension plan, and language classes may be included. They may vary depending on the job, but they all contribute to a better quality of life and a more fulfilling teaching experience.

What Are the Requirements to Teach English in Japan?

Here are the four main requirements for teaching English in Japan.

  1. You must be a native or near-native English speaker. To teach English in Japan, you must have a strong command of the English language. You should be able to speak, read, and write fluently. As a non-native speaker, South Korea may offer more opportunities.
  2. You must have a bachelor’s degree in any field. This is a mandatory requirement for most teaching positions. Some employers may also require a degree in education or a related field. (Note: You don’t need a degree if you are a Japanese citizen or on certain visas)
  3. You must have a clean criminal record. You must provide a criminal background check from your home country before obtaining a work visa. Any criminal history may disqualify you from being able to teach in Japan.
  4. You must have a valid visa and passport. The visa application process can take several months, so it’s important to start the process as soon as possible. Your employer will typically sponsor your visa application.

Meeting these requirements will ensure that you are eligible to teach in Japan. However, some employers may have additional preferences or requirements, such as a TEFL certificate, teaching experience, or Japanese language skills. 

How to Find a High-Salaried English Teaching Job in Japan?

To land a well-paying English teaching job in Japan, it’s essential to explore various avenues.

Applying through JET

One way is to apply through a government-sponsored program like JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching). JET offers its teachers a competitive salary, benefits, and a support system.

However, the application process can be lengthy and highly competitive. You’ll need to meet the program’s strict requirements and have excellent communication and interpersonal skills to succeed in a JET teaching job.

Apply to schools directly

Another option is to apply directly to schools or language academies online or in person.

Many language schools offer high salaries, but the workload can be demanding. You may have to work long hours with little or no break time. Additionally, some schools have strict requirements on teaching experience and educational qualifications, and may even prefer it if you speak Japanese.

However, applying directly to schools can be a more straightforward process, and you may have more control over your work schedule.

Recruitment agencies 

Using a recruitment agency or a job board is another option that can help you find high-salaried English teaching jobs in Japan. Recruitment agencies often specialize in placing teachers in specific regions or schools and can help you navigate the application process.

Job boards like GaijinPot and JobsinJapan offer a wide range of job opportunities, but you’ll need to research to ensure that the job is legitimate and meets your requirements.


Networking with other teachers or ex-pats in Japan can also be a valuable way to find a high-salaried job. Joining professional organizations, attending job fairs, and participating in social events can help you meet people in the industry and find job opportunities. 

Even a chance meeting with another English teacher in a bar might find you a well-paying job.

How Much of Your Salary Can You Save?

Saving money as an ESL teacher in Japan is not only possible, but it’s also a smart financial move that can lead to a significant amount of savings each month.

The average saving potential for ESL teachers in Japan ranges from ¥50,000 to ¥300,000 (US$425-$2,500) per month.

English teacher in Japan sat a computer desk using a laptop to calculate how much he can save per month teaching in Japan

However, the amount you save will depend on several factors such as your salary, cost of living, and spending habits. Also bear in mind the cost of living difference between Tokyo, Osaka, and Okinawa can be significant.

To give you a better idea of how much you can save, here’s a table that shows the estimated monthly expenses and savings of an ESL teacher in Japan:

ExpenseEstimated Cost
Total Expenses¥130,000
Total Savings¥120,000

As you can see from the table, an ESL teacher in Japan can potentially save ¥120,000 ($1,000) per month if they live frugally and stick to a budget.

Of course, this amount can vary depending on your personal preferences and lifestyle choices. For example, if you prefer to live in a more expensive area or eat out at restaurants frequently, your expenses will be higher, and your savings will be lower.

To maximize your savings potential as an ESL teacher in Japan, you may want to consider some of these tips.

  • Try to find a teaching job that offers more benefits, such as health insurance, airfare reimbursement, or housing subsidy.
  • Live like a local and learn how to shop for groceries, cook meals, and use public transportation.
  • Set a realistic budget and stick to it.
  • Consider sending a portion of your salary home or putting it in a savings account to accumulate more savings over time.

Teaching English in Japan can be a financially rewarding experience, especially if you’re able to save a significant amount of money each month.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the living expenses like in Japan, and how much of my salary will go towards them?

Living expenses in Japan can vary depending on your lifestyle and location. Rent, transportation, and food are the main expenses to consider. Expect to spend around 30-50% of your salary on these expenses, but with careful budgeting, you can still enjoy the freedom to travel and explore the country.

What is the typical work schedule for English teachers in Japan?

English teachers in Japan typically work Monday to Friday, with weekends and national holidays off. Teaching hours vary, but most teachers work around 8 hours per day. Some schools may ask you to work on Saturdays.

How difficult is it to obtain a work visa for teaching English in Japan?

Obtaining a work visa for teaching English in Japan can be challenging, but not impossible. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree, a job offer from a school, and to pass a background check. Be patient and persistent, it’s worth it for the opportunity to live and work in Japan.

What is the average length of a teaching contract in Japan?

Teaching contracts in Japan typically run for one year, with the possibility of renewal. Keep in mind that changing jobs frequently is difficult due to visa restrictions, so choose your employer carefully.

How important is it to have prior teaching experience or a teaching degree when applying for English teaching jobs in Japan?

Prior teaching experience or a teaching degree can increase your chances of getting hired for English teaching jobs in Japan. However, it’s not always required. Passion, flexibility, and willingness to learn and adapt are important traits to possess.