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How Much Do English Teachers Make in Japan?

Learn what salary English teachers earn in Japan and explore recommended start-up costs and cost of living expenses for teaching English in Japan.

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Japan is one of the largest markets in the world for English teachers. Of all the Asian countries, Japan, in particular, has one of the longest traditions of employing English instructors. The types of teaching jobs in Japan vary, so salaries for those teaching English can also vary. Let's dive in:

English Teacher in Japan Salary

How Much Does an English Teacher Make in Japan?

First-time English teachers in Japan typically earn between 247,700 and 286,200 Yen ($2,250 - $2,600 USD) per month. JET Program participants receive an average monthly salary of 280,000 Yen ($2,550 USD) in their first year, with annual raises.

Airfare and housing costs are typically the teacher's responsibility. However, it is worth noting that schools do assist in finding housing and occasionally will provide accommodations or housing stipends depending on credentials. 

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English Teacher Salary in Japan: Going Further

What does this mean in real terms? We would not be completely thorough if we only provided you with estimates of a Japanese teacher's salary. To understand how comfortably you can live teaching English in Japan, let's look at the cost of living and expenses in further detail.

Salary & Expenses English Teacher Salary in Japan Details
Salary between 247,700 and 286,200 Yen ($2,250 - $2,600 USD) per month
JET Program Salary 280,000 Yen ($2,550 USD) per month
Savings Opportunity $500 USD or more a month
Average Cost of Living From 193,500 Yen to 296,000 Yen ($1,700 - $2,600 USD)
Housing some free housing or housing subsidy

Cost of Living of an English Teacher in Japan

The average monthly cost of living for English teachers in Japan typically ranges from 193,500 Yen to 296,000 Yen ($1,700 - $2,600 USD). Therefore, when you consider that the average monthly salary for first-time English teachers is 260,000 Yen ($2,250 USD) to 296,000 Yen ($2,600 USD), your lifestyle really depends on your spending habits and where in Japan you live.

When traveling and living abroad, you should always consider the local cost of living country-by-country and also city-by-city. This means the cost of a bus ticket or a meal overseas might be drastically cheaper (or more expensive) than you're used to in your home country.

For instance, the cost of a meal in Tokyo will be much more expensive than it would be in a smaller city or a more rural part of Japan. Similarly, a meal in a bistro in New York City is likely going to cost more than a meal at a diner in rural Iowa.

So when choosing where you want to teach English in Japan, you should definitely keep in mind the local cost of living and determine how important saving money each month is to you. 

How Much Can I Save as an English Teacher in Japan?

Though Japan is known for its higher cost of living, excellent salaries enable those teaching English in Japan to live a comfortable lifestyle and even to save up to $500 USD or more a month in some cases. Schools typically offer 20 to 30 hours of work per week (and sometimes more), leaving plenty of time to travel and explore. 

English teacher in japan salary: what you need to know

Make The Most of Your Japan Teacher Salary: Tips for Saving Money

Get TEFL Certified to Teach English in Japan

This sounds like a no-brainer but you'll qualify for higher-paying English teaching jobs in Japan if you have a professional & internationally recognized TEFL certification. In other words, if you want to make the most of your English teacher salary in Japan, get the credentials that English language schools in Japan are looking for.

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Want the Best English Teacher in Japan Salary? Do Your Research and Explore Your Options

Thousands of English teaching jobs need to be filled across Japan in thousands of schools & language institutes. You'll have more options and opportunities to land a great position with a high salary if you make an effort to explore your options and stay patient during your job search.

This means looking at many job boards, talking to/applying to a variety of recruiters, and applying/ interviewing for a variety of different teaching jobs.

A great place to start is International TEFL Academy (ITA)'s Japan Alumni Facebook Group, where ITA students and graduates who are teaching in Japan (or are thinking of doing so) exchange questions, information, and job tips about teaching English in Japan. It is worth noting that only ITA's enrolled students and alumni can post in the group, but anybody can check out the conversation for great insights and perspectives.

Conduct as Much Research as You Can on Different Schools

We can't stress researching enough. This includes the schools' reputations. Speak to current teachers if possible for instance. You should also research individual regions where you are considering teaching, including the local cost of living, which can vary widely between different cities and regions across Japan.

You will receive great insights about any teaching English in Japan salary for a specific region if you have the chance to talk to on-site teachers. 

Learn to Live & Shop Like a Japanese Local

It's easy to fall into the trap of hanging out, eating, drinking and shopping at "foreigner-friendly" establishments in Japan. If you do, you'll likely be paying over-inflated "foreigner" or "tourist" prices.

Know that you'll save a ton more money on your Japan English teacher salary if you learn how to take public transportation, shop at local Japanese markets, and also if you avoid pricey touristy restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

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