Tokyo, Japan's modern capital, is the country's economic center as well as an important cultural hub. The world's most populous urban center, Tokyo has come a long way from its beginnings as a small fishing village called Edo.

Whether shopping in Shinjuku or enjoying the sun in Ueno park, there is always something to do in Tokyo. The bright lights and bustling streets lend a sense of excitement to the city's quotidian life. The city's theaters are a great chance to check out the traditional Noh and Kabuki forms of drama as well as cutting-edge modern pieces. Tokyo is not just a place to work, but a city to fall in love with.

Tokyo is a prosperous city with a diverse economy and internships are available in a large number of fields. In addition to the domains listed below, Tokyo is a popular destination for interning in finance, non-profit work, and international relations.

Business

Tokyo is home to some of the largest investment banks and insurance companies in the world. In addition to being the world's most populous metropolitan area, the city also has the world's largest urban economy and hosts the most Fortune Global 500 companies of any city. A business internship in Tokyo provides the opportunity to gain work experience in one of the world's most fast-paced economies. In addition, interning in Tokyo will give you valuable insight into the increasingly transnational operations of today's business practices. It's hard to imagine a better place than Tokyo to take your first step into the world of business.

Media

It's no coincidence that Tokyo Tower, seen by many as a symbol of the city itself, boasts a broadcast antenna for radio and TV; Tokyo is the hub of Japan's publishing and broadcast industries. Since proficiency in the language tends to be a must in this field, a media internship is sure to take your Japanese to the next level. Interning in media for a radio or television station or a publisher in Japan is a great way to break into your field and gain experience as well as build an impressive resume.

Tourism

One of the world's most popular tourist destinations, Tokyo offers plenty of opportunities for those who want to intern in hospitality or tourism. The city's scores of museums, resplendent greenspaces, and glittering nighttime skyline can inspire you every day to help others make their all-to-brief stays in Tokyo as wonderful as possible. A tourism internship in Tokyo will allow you to get to know the city inside and out and keep you in the loop on all the awesome things to do and see in Tokyo.

When and Where to Look for an Internship

Internships are available year round, and can often be found through corporations that have headquarters or offices in Tokyo.

Cost of Living in Tokyo

Tokyo is known to be one of the most expensive cities in the world and, with constantly climbing housing costs, an apartment in the city center is out of reach for most people. Fortunately, Tokyo and the surrounding areas have excellent public transit systems. Here are some expenses to give you an idea of the cost of living in Tokyo

  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre: $711.78
  • Monthly Pass (Regular Price): $101.68
  • Milk (regular), 1 liter: $2.03
Etiquette

Kwintessential has a useful guide to etiquette in Japan. Here are some particularly important tips. Hierarchical titles are important in Japanese society as a whole and work environments in general. It is a good idea to learn the titles of your boss and coworkers and make sure to use the appropriate suffix. Foreigners are expected to shake hands or bow slightly with the head upon meeting someone. Facial expressions and non-verbal communication can be as important as what is actually said.

Language

Internships in Tokyo do exist for those who don't speak Japanese, and it is not uncommon for people in international or tourist locations to know some English. However, most people in Japan do not speak English, so knowing at least some Japanese, written as well as spoken, will make your stay in Tokyo much more pleasant and far less stressful.

Networking

An economic and cultural hub, Tokyo is a great place for networking. Since introductions are an important component of business relationships in Japan, focusing on building relationships at your internship is the best first step before having those contacts introduce you to others. Tokyo also hosts many conferences in a wide spectrum of fields, so be on the look-out for ones that peak your interest.

Work and Labor Laws in Tokyo

There are no special regulations for internships in Tokyo; most internships are unpaid. Interns staying in Tokyo for under 90 days do not need a special visa. Longer stays require a Training Visa. In addition, a residency permit must be obtained upon arrival in Tokyo and carried on your person at all times.

Contributed by Robin Goralka

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