Teach Abroad

What Salary Will You Earn Teaching Abroad in Japan?

Learn about different English teaching positions in Japan and the kind of salary you can earn.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  • English teachers in Japan generally earn a salary of around $1,700-$5,000 USD a month depending on the position and years of experience.
  • The cost of living in Japan ranges from $780-$1,240 USD a month. Tokyo, Minato, and Shibuya are the priciest!
  • The best way to find a stable, high-paying job in Japan is to go through a reputable recruiter or apply to the government teaching assistant program, JET.

Japan holds a certain mystique for many travelers, whether or not they’ve ever set foot in the country. Ask someone about the best places to earn money teaching English in Asia – chances are they’ll mention Japan.

Even with the high cost of living in Japan, you can fully enjoy your time abroad while stashing away some cash. But how much can you expect to earn as an English teacher in Japan? Read on to learn more about the salary and benefits you’ll receive teaching English abroad.

How much ESL teachers make in Japan

A woman holding a mug sits and looks at a computer monitor.

As an English teacher in Japan, the salary you can expect to earn is anywhere between $1,700-$5,000 USD (¥200,000-¥600,000) per month. Hourly tutoring rates hover around $28 USD (¥3,000) per hour.

Like in China, Japan’s ESL teacher salary packages often include flight reimbursement, accommodation subsidies, and language training.

Busier cities typically pay more than rural areas, but the cost of living should remain relatively proportional to your salary. Your salary may also be based on the type of teaching job you have. Here are some of the most popular positions for English teachers in Japan.

Assistant language teacher (ALT)

💰Average monthly salary: ~$2,120 ( ¥280,000)
Teaching hours a week: up to 25 but ALTs are contracted for 35 total hours a week
✏️You’ll be teaching: children in kindergarten through 12th grade

The Japanese Exchange and Teaching Program (JET) is a government-sponsored program that places native English speakers in public school classrooms across Japan. JETs are assistant teachers but they are responsible for planning and delivering lessons and conversation classes to students.

Private language academy teacher (eikaiwa)

💰 Average salary: $1,900 ( ¥250,000)
Teaching hours a week: 25
✏️ You’ll be teaching: children and adults

Private language academies, known as eikaiwas, are one of the top employers for English teachers in Japan. When working in an eikaiwa, you are the main classroom teacher. There is a lot of variety in this job because students are of all ages and levels.

University lecturer

💰Average salary: $2,280-$4,550 ( ¥300,000- ¥600,000)
Teaching hours a week: 10-15
✏️ You’ll be teaching: adults

English language lecturer positions often require advanced degrees in English, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), or Journalism. These are coveted positions with good hours, salaries, and vacation time.

International school teacher

💰Average salary: $1,900-$4,550 (¥250,000-¥600,000)
Teaching hours a week: 20-25
✏️ You’ll be teaching: children in kindergarten through 12th grade

To work at an international school, you generally need a bachelor’s degree and a valid teaching license. Most international schools are based in Tokyo and usually ask for at least two years of teaching experience. These jobs are competitive but if you’re qualified, they’re definitely an option.

Private tutor

💰 Average salary: $28 an hour
Teaching hours a week: as few or as many as you want!
✏️ You’ll be teaching: children and adults

Private tutoring is a good way to bring in some extra cash outside your main job. Although work benefits are nonexistent, you can set your own price and schedule, which means you have flexibility and control over your work. Teachers often find tutoring opportunities through their schools or expat networks.

Cost of living in Japan & potential savings

The cost of living in Japan is higher than other popular teaching destinations in Asia but that doesn’t mean that your salary won’t support a good quality of life. Below are the average monthly costs (in USD) and the potential savings for first-year teachers in Japan.

ALT Eiwaika teacher
Monthly salary $1,800 $1,900
Rent $350-$600 $350-$600
Groceries $250-$550 $250-$550
Transportation $30-$105 $30-$105
Entertainment $150-$350 $150-$350
Total monthly savings $195-$1,020 $295-$1,120

The amount of money you can save teaching English in Japan is dependent on your overall lifestyle. If you like to party, travel, and eat out often, you may break even every month. However, teachers living a more frugal lifestyle who take advantage of free events and outings may see higher savings.

According to Brian, the Media Manager at Interac, new English teachers should strive to come to Japan with around $3,800 (¥500,000) to cover start-up expenses before their first paycheck. This amount ensures you’ll be comfortable while getting settled in your new home.

Where to find English teaching jobs in Japan

English teaching jobs in Japan can be found right here on GO. We feature some of the best programs providers, like Interac, who help you through the entire process, from application to getting housing set-up upon arrival.

Another popular option is the JET Program administered through the Japanese government. The application process is long and detailed but if you’re organized and meet the deadlines, this is a great option.

Read more: Commonly Asked Questions about the Japanese Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program

Are English teachers in demand in Japan?

Japan has a thriving TEFL job market that welcomes thousands of English teachers every year. Jobs in both public schools and private language academies are competitive but plentiful.

Although many eikaiwas hire year-round, popular hiring seasons are January through March for April starts and June through August for September starts. The government JET program begins accepting applications at the end of September through mid-November for the following school year.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Japan: Requirements, Salary, & Benefits

Is teaching English in Japan worth it?

If you are adventurous, not afraid of hard work, and ready to jump into a whole new culture and language, teaching English in Japan is definitely worth it. There will of course be some initial culture shock but for many, that’s part of the fun!

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Live the good life in Japan

A tall red building is in the foreground with Mt. Fuji in the background.

Japan is an incredible country to visit, so it’s no surprise that many people who travel there once want to find a way to stay longer. English teachers in Japan consistently rank among the highest earners in Asia, giving them a good quality of life. Despite the higher cost of living, it is possible to live, work, save, and travel during your time in Japan.

New Teaching Jobs in Japan

New jobs are posted regularly on our job board.