Hello, this is Ting from Borderless House.
I’m from Taiwan and I came to Japan with a working holiday visa in 2007. It gave me a chance to explore Japan in-depth, have more adventures, and try more new things in different cities since I could stay for a maximum of one year with this program. For me, the best thing about this opportunity is to have the most freedom to figure out if I really want to live in Japan or not. So I would like to recommend it to those who have been thinking about moving to Japan and wanting to get a taste of Japan!
So in this blog, I would like to briefly introduce Working Holiday in Japan and how to apply, as transitioning to a foreign country is not an easy task and you should prepare as much as possible! I also hope it would help you to figure out if a working holiday is right for you.
What is a Working Holiday?
The purpose of a Working Holiday in Japan is to foster cultural exchanges and promote mutual understanding between Japan and its partner countries/regions. The program is designed to provide the youth (must be under 30 years of age) with opportunities to appreciate the culture and general way of life. It allows the participants to live and work in Japan without a full-time job, a university or language school course, or any visa sponsor.
Young people from various nationalities with a Working Holiday visa are allowed to be on vacation around Japan and also do a part-time job to cover some of their travel costs. The visa is valid for 1 year. And each individual can only participate in Working Holiday programs ONE time in life.
Since the main purpose of doing a working holiday is to experience the culture and lifestyle in Japan, instead of doing paid work and earning money, people who participate in working holiday in Japan can also apply for temporary academic activities, voluntary work without pay or internship without pay. Just remember, this visa is specifically designed for you to have a lot of free time to travel around Japan, then to do some work to make money so you can travel more.
Who can apply for the working holiday visa in Japan? (Eligibility)
Since 1980, Japan started working holiday programs, until now, Japan has introduced the programs with the 26 countries/regions in the world.
As of 1st April 2020, citizens of the following countries and regions are eligible for a working holiday visa in Japan:
Argentina/Australia/Austria/Canada/Czech Republic/Chile/Denmark/Estonia/France/Germany/Hong Kong/Hungary/Iceland/Ireland/ Korea/Lithuania/Netherlands/New Zealand/Norway/Poland/Portugal/Slovakia/Spain/Sweden/Taiwan/United Kingdom
A working holiday visa is a special visa for young people between the age of 18 and 30, both inclusive at the time of application for the visa.
However, for Australia, Canada, and the Republic of Korea, an applicant should be between 18 and 25 years of age except in those cases where the competent authorities of Japan agree to extend the limitation of age to 30 years. As for Iceland, the applicant should be between 18 and 26 years of age.
How to prepare for a Working Holiday in Japan?
To prepare for a Working Holiday visa, there are 2 most important parts of the processes which are gathering all the required documents and sending your application to the he Japanese Embassy, and then settling in:
The first step is to fill out the Visa Application Form which includes your basic information, such as nationality, age, and passport details. There is also a section with yes or no questions about your legal and criminal past, which means you must have a clean criminal record to participate in the working holiday visa program. A passport-style photo which was taken within six months to the application is also required.
You are also required to submit a proposed itinerary and outline of the intended activities. As I mentioned - the main purpose of the Working Holiday for you should be experiencing the country, so the Japanese government wants you to go to every corner of its beautiful country, and that’s basically what you need to write about on your proposed itinerary. You can demonstrate some detailed travel plans to show you've done the research and you’re well planned. But of course, this is flexible and you can always change your plans afterward when you get to Japan. They’d love to see you are not just visiting the capital or tourism spots, but planning to visit multiple prefectures instead.
After you get the visa and you are ready to go to Japan, the next thing you may be concerned about is probably housing. And I would recommend starting out living at a share house for sure since living in a share house gives you chances to meet many people from all over the world, it helps you to get advice and support from others and immerse yourself in the local culture and make local friends. It may bring you some good changes in your plan in Japan! And you don’t need a guarantor to rent a room at a share house. Moreover, the minimum stay at share houses is usually one month, which is about a good amount of time to explore a city. It’s also easier to cancel or extend the contract, that can keep the flexibility of your plan! On top of that, the shared house is fully furnished, so you can basically just move in with a suitcase. So I believe staying at a shared house is the best choice for when you first get to Japan and still sorting things out!
③Other necessary preparations
-Money: For the application, you are required to prove you have sufficient funds in the bank to pay for your stay in Japan (around $3,000). But Japan is considered to be one of the most expensive countries in the world, especially a big city like Tokyo, so you usually will need to prepare more than that if you don’t plan to get a job and start to work right after you arrive in Japan. Depends on each person, you can check this blog for your reference about the cost of living in Japan.
-Insurance: One of the mandatory things that you have to do before your arrival in Japan is to subscribe to the national health insurance plan.
-Internet: You will have Wifi at home if you choose to stay at a shared house, and there is Wifi access at the convenience stores, train stations, and most cafes and restaurants as well. Another handy option is a Pocket WiFi, which is usually charged with monthly payment, which is more flexible. And you can also check out some SIM card options at BIC Camera or Yodobashi Camera, there are many plan options designed for foreigners with a lower cost. Or you can check this mobile service for foreigners.
Staying in Japan after Working Holiday
If you are enjoying your life too much in Japan and you intend to stay longer in Japan rather than going back home, converting to a standard working visa is possible! But you will need a company willing to sponsor you so you can get a work visa that allows you to stay for extra 1,3 or 5 years!
So if you are interested in getting a regular working visa after your working holiday visa ends, feel free check our 【Ē・SHOKU・JŪ 】Housing & Career Support Program that helps you to land your dream job in Japan and stay for a longer period in Japan!
If you love Japan and would like to spend more time in the country to experience the culture, learn the language, or you’d just simply love to have more adventures in Japan, a working holiday program could be the best option for you! Especially if your country is one of the partner countries with Japan, you should seize the opportunity! Best of all, applying for the working holiday program is entirely free! If you meet the above criteria, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t apply. This could be a life-changing step for you :)