Being a student can be tough – You’re not working full time and money is a persistent issue. Then we’re not even talking about the stress of living in a foreign country! If you’re a student in Japan, and you’re hoping to make a bit of money, freelancing might be the way to go. In this article, we’ll tell you how to freelance as a student in Japan, answering questions like:

  1. Is it possible to freelance as a student in Japan?
  2. How many hours can I work?
  3. Where can I find freelance work as a student in Japan?
  4. How do I balance work and study?
  5. More tips for students who want to freelance in Japan

What Kind of Freelance Work Can Students in Japan Do?

It’s possible for qualified designerstranslatorsinterpreters, or engineers to find freelance work in Japan, but it might be a bit more difficult if you are still studying. You can try your hand at teaching your native language, or finding an internship/part-time job in your field of study.

1. Is It Possible to Freelance as a Student in Japan?

Yes, it is.

However, you’re not automatically allowed to work on a student visa, and you’ll first have to apply for permission to engage in activity other than that permitted under the status of residence (shikaku gai katsudou kyoka 資格外活動許可). We recommend applying before arriving in Japan. The process can take a while, so this will save you time.

2. How Many Hours Can I Work?

You can work up to 28 hours a week on a student visa, according to Japanese law. You can have multiple jobs, but altogether, they cannot exceed 28 hours a week. Your studies are your first priority and main activity in the country. If you do not attend lectures or pass exams, it could jeopardize your visa.

3. Where Can I Find Freelance Work as a Student in Japan?

Once you’ve got the all-clear to work part-time, you can start looking for work. We recommend the following:

  • LinkedIn, so you can start networking.
  • Gaijinpot, for part-time jobs (they especially have a lot of teaching positions).
  • Meetups for your specific industry.
  • Creative Tokyo and other communities where students are welcome.
  • Freelance websites to find potential clients.
  • Talking to friends or classmates. They might be able to give you a reference, or even just some advice.
  • Chatting with your university student support center – they can help you and may even have tips for possible jobs.

We help tech professionals

With World in Pro, you will find:

  • English-language jobs – No need for Japanese proficiency.
  • A variety of job openings – Work for top tech companies and startups in Japan.
  • International applications accepted – Find a job before arriving in Japan.

4. How Do I Balance Work and Study?

Balance might be your biggest challenge as a working student. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Your studies come first. Do not neglect your studies for part-time work.
  • Do not take on too much at once – it will lead to burnout.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice when you feel overwhelmed.
  • Look after your health – eat nutritious meals, get enough sleep, and move your body when possible.
  • If you plan to do an internship, it’s better to do so during university breaks – this way both your studies and internship get the attention they deserve.

5. More Tips for Students Who Want to Freelance in Japan

Now that you know how to find a freelance job as a student, let’s look at some final tips:

  • Make sure you know the laws around working as a student in Japan. If there’s something about your specific situation you’re unsure about, just ask.
  • Vet potential employees carefully – organized crime groups have been known to target students.
  • You are not allowed to work at any adult entertainment establishments (bars, arcades, pachinko parlors, and so on) in any capacity.
  • You may need to pay income tax, depending on how much you earn every year.
  • Many universities have career centers to help prepare their students for the workforce – this is a great resource for advice and jobs.
  • Consider studying Japanese to further set you up for success. (Although it is possible to work in Japan without any Japanese, it’ll definitely be far more challenging to build a career.)
  • If you plan on staying in Japan after graduation, it’s good to learn about Japanese job interview etiquette and Japanese work culture
  • Check out our ultimate guide for everything you need to know about freelancing in Japan.

Kickstart Your Career in Tech

Inbound Technology helps foreign tech talent find work in Japan. Talk to one of our friendly career advisors here or on LinkedIn.