EU nationals are permitted to enter and stay in Japan for up to six months without needing a Visa. Initially you are only allowed to stay for three months but after this time can contact the Immigration Department in Japan to apply for a three month extension. If you intend to work in Japan you will need a work Visa for which a sponsor, for example your employer, is needed. Before obtaining a work permit you will need to find a job.

Teaching English

Although the demand for English teachers is not as high as it used to be there are still opportunities for this type of work, mainly in cities such as Tokyo and Osaka. Vacancies are usually competitive so any experience and TEFL qualifications will always be to your advantage. English teachers are also typically required to have a degree, so employment in this field is not so easy to gain access to for pre-university gap year students.

The Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) arrange placements for UK nationals as English teachers in Japan. Successful applicants will work in schools, local governments, and boards of education as English teachers. Workers are paid an annual salary of about 3,600,000 yen (approx. �19,448), but monthly deductions are made for health insurance and pension funds. Contracts last for one year; accommodation for this length of time is not provided but the organisation with which you are placed assist in finding a place to stay.

Agricultural Work

Agriventure run projects in Japan for between five and fourteen months. Workers live with a host family on their farm and assist in the day to day running and maintenance of the land. Accommodation and food are provided, as well as a weekly wage. You are expected to pay for your own travel, insurance, and Visa expenses. Applicants must be aged between 18 and 30 and usually need to show some experience in the agricultural industry and must hold a full driving licence.

GAP Activity Projects

GAP arranges placements specifically designed for gap year students. One project in Japan focuses on care work in Cheshire Homes for the elderly, disabled, and people with Cerebral Palsy. Volunteers can also work in the Kobokan Community Care Centre in Tokyo where work is centred around the resident children, playing with them and accompanying them on camping activities. Further work is available in hospitals on medical projects, for example on the island of Tokunoshima you can work in a hospital or teaching in a school. Further teaching opportunities are available at a High School in Osaka. Accommodation is usually provided by GAP, this can vary depending on the placement but volunteers often live with host families or other volunteers and workers in houses or hostels near their place of work.


Volunteers work in groups with children and communities in a number of countries throughout the world. Projects last for up to three weeks, in the summer months. All volunteers are supplied with food and accommodation and are required to pay a fee of �75 to register with Concordia.

Involvement Volunteers Association Inc. (IVI)

IVI runs various volunteer projects in Japan including on farms, in youth hostels, and in schools. Volunteers can work on a farm in Kyushu where they will help with farm work and looking after the children. Workers are needed in youth hostels to help the running of the kitchen, reception etc. and are provided with food and accommodation. Youth hostel vacancies are available in Hirosaki, Hamasaka, and Abashiri where volunteers must speak Japanese. Alternatively IVI have placements in a private nursery school and primary school in Osaka where volunteers assist with caring and educating the children. Again, food and accommodation are provided.

Project Trust

The Project Trust currently has two placements available to volunteers. The first is in Junten High School in Tokyo where volunteers work as assistants in English conversation classes. Furthermore, volunteers teach English to local workers, take Japanese lessons, and learn sign language. Accommodation is provided in the community of Oji where the school is located. The second post is on the Toya Board of Education in Hokkaido. Work includes helping at local schools and with adult classes as well as assisting with work in a nearby hospital. The work here places volunteers right into the community and accommodation is again provided.

Useful Links


Jet Programme



Concordia for more information about volunteering with IVI

Project Trust