Teach in Japan

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  • Overview

    Teaching in Japan is a chance of a lifetime to explore one of the richest cultures and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere in the world. Japan has an ancient culture full of beautiful traditions and art, amazing food, and advanced technologies, offering teachers a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a one-of-a-kind country.

    Greenheart Travel’s program is ideal if you:

    • Love the idea of making an impact in a local community
    • Want to experience a culture completely different than what you are used to
    • Love trying different and new foods
    • Can’t wait to embrace Japanese culture. Bring it on!

    Program at a Glance:

    • 12-month contracts
    • Guaranteed paid English teaching positions in 6 different areas of Japan
    • Average salary of $1650-$2300 USD/month
    • Weekend orientation in Nagoya
    • Placements in elementary, middle, & high schools.
    • 2 times/year start dates for public schools, year-round for private language centers
  • Costs and Inclusions


    Teaching Placement Only: $2,020 USD
    Ideal if you’re already TESOL certified or have teaching credentials

    Teaching Placement +  Online TESOL certification course: $2,270 USD
    Ideal if you don’t have a TESOL yet, or don’t have classroom experience

    Teaching Placement +  TESOL certification course: $3,420 USD (Offering a $100 discount on this option for all 2024 start dates)
    Ideal if you don’t have a TESOL yet, or don’t have classroom experience

    Teaching Placement +  Online TESOL certification course: $2,580
    Ideal if you don’t have a TESOL yet and don’t have a BA

    Packaged into the Price:

    • 3 weeks of intensive TESOL/TEFL training in Nagoya(if chosen)
    • 1-week cultural orientation upon arrival
    • 1 months accommodation during the course (shared housing)
    • Guaranteed job placement
    • 6 months international medical and accident insurance
    • Japanese language classes (more info in tab to the left)
    • Visa and work permit support
    • Accommodation assistance
    • Full background check on school/agent
    • Job application documentation assistance
    • Ongoing post-placement support
    • Accommodation assistance in Japan during the school orientation. Some schools will pay for the orientation accommodation, others do not.

    Our Support and Services: 

    • Visa Assistance in applying for the visa ahead of arrival, including visa paperwork and extensive directions and support.
    • Extensive pre-departure advice and support from Ana your program managers! They will be able to answer all your questions and will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Japan.
    • Highly experienced team of  in-country support staff members
    • 24 hour in-country and emergency support for duration of the program, including 24 hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.
    • Free Program Extension – You never have to pay a program fee again if you extend your contract past your first semester – it’s a one-time fee!
    • Lifetime job placement assistance in Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Costa Rica, or Myanmar upon successful completion of first contract.
    • Opportunity to apply for a Greenheart Grant to give back to your community at home or abroad

    Additional Expenses You’ll Need to Cover (Estimates):

    • Airfare to Japan ($800)
    • Visa fee or any costs associated with obtaining documents required for the visa ($100)
    • Background check ($30-$50)
    • Meals ($20/day)
    • Daily transport (this is sometimes reimbursed by the school)
    • Rent during your teaching contract (~$800/month)
    • A laptop:  Teachers are responsible for bringing a laptop computer to Japan with them for lesson planning
    • Startup cash to hold you over until your first paycheck ($2000-$2500)

    Payment Details:

    • $300 Application Fee due to move onto the interview  
      • Refunded if you are not accepted 
    • $300 Commitment Payment due after acceptance 
      • Confirms your spot on a start date 
    • Remaining Balance Due 60 Days Prior to Start Date

    Wondering where exactly your program fee goes? Here’s a breakdown:

  • Eligibility

    Basic Eligibility:

    • Fluent English Speaker
    • Ages 21-40*
      • *older applicants taken on a case-by-case basis
    • We can accept a variety of citizenships, but this can depend on whether you are interested in a public school or a private school.
    • Bachelor’s Degree
    • 120-hour TESOL/TEFL (either as a part of this program or preemptively acquired)
    • 12 years+ schooling in English
    • Be in great mental and physical health
    • Clean criminal record
    • A passport with at least six months of validity AFTER you plan to leave Japan
    • An adventurous attitude and strong flexibility are a must
    • No visible tattoos; facial piercings must be removed
    • Driver’s license (required for public schools, not required for private language centers)

    Still need your TEFL/TESOL certificate?

    Add on a 4-week 120 hour online TESOL certification course, which you will complete before coming to Japan.

    Why should you take the our TESOL course?

    While we are happy to accept individuals who already have a TESOL/TEFL certification, if you do not yet have one, we highly recommend taking ours as this course is specially designed to prepare you to teach English in Japan and is customized for Japan’s unique education system.

    Accreditation Information

    This TESOL course is internationally accredited by the Online TESOL and TEFL Standards Agency (OTTSA). The course is audited quarterly by OTTSA staff, and will qualify you to teach anywhere in the world that requires or prefers a TEFL or TESOL certification. The certification lasts for the rest of your life!

  • Start Dates

    In -person TEFL Course + Placement Program Start Dates:

    Start Date Availability
    February 19th, 2024 Open
    April 22nd, 2024 Open
    June 24th, 2024 Open
    August 26th, 2024 Open

    Our online TESOL starts on the first Monday of each month, so you will have plenty of chances to get your certification before coming to Japan.

    Public vs Private School Hiring Dates

    Private language centers in Japan (Eikaiwas) hire throughout the year. December and January tend to be quieter hiring times but otherwise eikaiwas hire year around. Hiring for eikaiwas happens around four months in advance of the start date. 

    Public schools have two main hiring times: March and September. Hiring for public schools happens around seven months in advance. This is a good opportunity for teachers that sign up and want to have a placement confirmed far ahead of time.

    Public School Start Dates

    Start Date Deadline
    March 2024 September 2023
    September 2024 March 2024

    Applications are taken until the program is full for that date, but contact us if you are interested in applying for a start date that is not listed above. Sometimes we are able to take very last minute applicants.

  • Accommodation

    During your school orientation

    Accommodation during your school orientation will be arranged, but you may be required to pay depending on the school. The cost is anywhere from 25 – 40 USD per day for shared accommodation for the orientation. Some schools will pay for the orientation accommodation, others do not. There is also the possibility that you would be immediately put in your permanent accommodation during this time as well.

    In Your Placement City

    Accommodation will be set up for the teacher, but teachers pay their own rent. Rent is generally between USD 500 and 800 per month, exclusive of electricity and water. Accommodation is either single occupancy, fairly basic, and typically efficiency/studio apartments or a private room in a larger shared house with shared facilities. In some instances, Internet is often provided in accommodation costs, however in some instances it must be purchased separately. Teachers are typically asked to pay 1-2 months deposit at the time of moving in to the apartment.

  • Placement Locations

    Placements are throughout the country in both urban and suburban areas however the majority of positions are in the suburban areas. 

    There are a wide range of teaching environments, from more advanced, modern classrooms with small class sizes and extensive technology in the classroom, to classrooms that are standard, and lacking in technology. Some placements will have assistant teachers in the classroom but many will not.

  • FAQs

    Am I guaranteed a job placement?

    Yes, acceptance onto the program means placement is guaranteed. Placements for Japan are secured before entering the country.

    Will I be the only foreign teacher?

    In most schools you will most likely be the only teacher. However, it is very likely to have other teachers in your immediate area at other schools as well as plenty of others in the same region.

    Is Japan safe?

    Japan is among the safest countries in the world with crime rates lower than any other industrialized countries.

    Do I need to know Japanese?

    While it is not required to speak any Japanese for this program, some schools will be more excited about an applicant with even the basics down.

    Besides that, learning even just some Japanese will immensely improve your daily life, so best to start ASAP!

    Can I apply with my friend/spouse/significant other?

    We cannot place couples or friends in the same location together. They must be open to teaching in different areas in Japan. The likelihood of being placed close to each other is as follows:

    Same region: We will try our best, and the candidates would know at the same time that they are accepted on whether or not they will be in the same region

    Same prefecture: Possible, but can’t be guaranteed and wouldn’t be known until much closer to arrival

    Same area (city, etc. within the prefecture): Very unlikely and wouldn’t be known until much closer to arrival

    Able to live together: Not possible

    Will I have insurance in Japan?

    You will be covered by comprehensive international medical and accident insurance through Greenheart Travel for 1 YEAR as part of your program fee. This will cover you for most medical expenses you could incur, like prescriptions, ER visits, doctor visits, dental accidents, and hospitalizations. If you want to extend your coverage, we’ll provide the link to purchase additional coverage.

    I identify as LGBTQ+. How will I be supported?

    Our staff and in-country partners are also very welcoming and accepting of all gender identities. We can provide extra support if needed. 

    During the application process we are happy to provide information on the cultural norms of our destination countries and are prepared to advise you on the best programs based on your needs and interests. 

    Please read more here.

    I am a certified teacher/majored in Education, should I still take the TESOL Course?

    It is required to have a TESOL/TEFL regardless of prior qualifications. You are allowed to obtain your TESOL/TEFL certificate elsewhere, but it is highly recommended to obtain yours through our program as our TESOL course is specially designed for teaching English in Japan.

    When should I apply?

    For private schools, hiring takes place around 4 months prior to your start date, but even sooner is better.

    For public schools, the process takes about 7 months. If you are interested in starting in March, individuals need to be signed up before the end of August. For individuals interested in starting in September, individuals need to be signed up before the end of February.

    Do we have to find our own accommodation?

    Your school will have your accommodation ready for you. Depending on the area, there may be 1-3 options available.

    How do I get a visa?

    Our team in Japan does it all for you! After your initial documents are sent through, they immediately begin working on your visa and will guide you through the entire process.

    What if I want to stay longer than one year? How do I extend?

    Most schools will be glad to have you extend your contract as long as you do a good job! If you are interested in switching to a different location or a different country, please contact us and we can begin the process with you.

    What vaccines do I need?

    Greenheart Travel strongly recommends that travelers be vaccinated against COVID-19. A COVID-19 vaccine is no longer mandatory for placement. However, some schools still request it, so the teachers just need to be flexible in terms of placement location.

    We recommend visiting your doctor or a local travel clinic for updated advice on recommended immunizations. You should visit a doctor a couple of months before your program.

    Here is some health information for Japan:


    What are my start-up costs?

    These are the typical startup costs for our participants. This is on average for the first 1-1.5 months before they receive their first paycheck and after they arrive in Japan:

    • Travel to placement: $100
    • Food and drink: $900 ($20 per day)
    • Accommodation 2.5 months (one month deposit included here but not always necessary): $1,500
    • Transport Incidentals: $400
    • Total: $2,900
    Will someone pick me up at the airport?

    Yes! You will have a school representative pick you up at the airport. The exact details of this will be made known to you before you leave.

    Are flights included?

    No, flights are the responsibility of participants.

    Will there be a book or curriculum to follow?

    Typically there will be a curriculum for you to follow, but the exact nature of this depends on the exact school. Required books are usually used, but this also depends on the school.

    What is the most common level of English ability for the students?

    This is somewhat dependent on the age of the students. It’s best to assume it to be a bit lower than your initial expectations, as these schools are not normally in city centers.

    Will teachers be teaching alone or will there be assistant teachers?

    In public schools you will be an assistant language teacher (ALT) in which you will be teaching alongside a Japanese teacher.

    In private schools you will most likely be teaching alone (unless specified otherwise).

    What is the dress code for teaching?

    The dress code for Japanese schools is typically on the formal side (no sneakers, jeans, t-shirts, etc.). Every school varies depending on how much this is enforced, so it is best to show up dressed more formal and see what other teachers are dressing like once you get there.

    What meals are provided?

    Meals are not provided in this program.

    Can I bring my children and/or pets?

    Children and pets are not allowed on this program.

    Will I have access to internet?

    Japan has fantastic internet. In your apartment this will be either setup prior to your arrival or you will get assistance in setting it up after you arrive.

    What holidays will I have off?

    Public school teachers get approximately 1 month off of unpaid leave and all public holidays as paid leave.

    Private school teachers do not get long-term paid or unpaid leave, but do get all public holidays off.

    How am I paid? Can I save money?

    You will be paid in Japanese Yen. Salaries range from about $1,600-$1,900 USD per month. Because of the living cost in Japan, saving potential may not be as high as some other countries. The average savings per month is around $150-$400, but this will vary based on one’s personal spending habits.

  • Orientation

    Our optional orientation weekends happen in Nagoya and are designed to help participants to meet other teachers who are new to Japan. They will also help orientate participants to their new surroundings. In conjunction with classroom learning, participants will also take part in excursions to significant sites around Nagoya. These cultural orientation weekends happen twice per year.  The excursions will be selected from the following, typically 2 excursions will be included in the weekends. Activities may include:

    Nagoya Castle. Center of Nagoya. Famous ancient castle and home of one of the largest in Japan from the ancient period and at the time was one of the most important castles in Japan. Participants will go on guided tour of the castle and town.

    Japanese Cooking Class. Learn how to make traditional skewered Yakitori Chicken and/or sushi. Participants will partake in amazing Japanese fare with our unique cooking class.

    Walking Tour of Nagoya. We take participants on a guided tour of downtown Nagoya, including parks, viewpoints and even an anime shopping center!

    The Tokugawa Art Museum. Learn about the ancient Samurai history and also the art of tea consumption during the empires of yesteryear on our trip to the Tokugawa Art Museum, which is also is based around a beautiful park that participants can explore. 

    The weekend will be provided from Nagoya and several times per year, not when participants initially arrive. One night hostel style accommodation and 1-2 days of activities will be provided, however transportation will not be provided to the site of the orientation  Activities may include cooking class, Japanese language, meet-up party, karaoke evening, and trips to Nagoya historical and cultural sites. The specific dates and itinerary will be finalized at a later date.

  • Why Greenheart Travel?

    Greenheart Travel has been helping travel-hungry adventurers for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:

    • 33 years of experience with cultural exchange programs
    • Friendly, responsive, and professional support from your program manager, Ana.
    • Connect with alumni and others on the program via our Greenheart Travel only Facebook forums, before you even leave!
    • We try and make our program fees as inclusive as we can. We include things like extensive medical insurance for 12 months (medical maximum of $150,000 and prescription coverage with $0 copay).
    • Greenheart Atlas Program. The Greenheart Travel Atlas is a cultural training interactive guidebook alongside five videos where you will find three main topics covered: Personal/Professional Development, Cultural Understanding, & Environmental Awareness.
    • Guaranteed job placement. Take the stress out of finding a job, we 100% guarantee we’ll find one for you!
    • Our alumni recommend us! GoOverseas.com Reviews // GoAbroad.com Reviews
    • Hands on support and personal attention every step of the way
    • 24/7 emergency phone number to reach a staff member at any time
    • Pre-departure “Culture Shock and Adjustment” Webinar before you leave
    • Discounts for future Greenheart Travel programs
    • We are a non-profit, mission based organization
    • Continued support throughout your contract

    We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel teachers and alumni!

    Greenheart Grants

    Greenheart Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country. A Greenheart Grant is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.

    Greenheart Alumni Program

    We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!

    Greenheart Global Leaders Conference

    Each August Greenheart offers full ride scholarships to over 40 alumni to attend our annual conference in Washington, DC. Participants even get a chance to advocate for cultural exchange in a presentation to the US Department of State. You can see more about what GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.

  • Application Process

    1. Start Your Application Here. You will be sent more information as well as the link to our application portal to begin your formal application.

    2. Submit Basic Program Information: The first step in our application portal will be basic things like your chosen start date, etc.

    3. Submit your Application Fee: A $300 fee is required in order to apply for the program. This is subtracted from your total program fee. If we are unable to accept you following your interview (very unlikely!) we will refund your Application Fee in full.

    4. Complete Application & Documents: Provide more detailed information about yourself in Part 2 of the application. In this section, you’ll tell us more information like your work history, motivations for joining the program, travel history, and emergency contacts. You will also submit your documents (below) within your portal account.

    5. Zoom Interview: Once you have submitted your online application and paid your application fee, you will be asked to schedule a video interview with a Greenheart Travel representative.

    6. You’re Accepted! Woohoo! We are usually able to accept people within 1-2 weeks of their interviews.

    7. Commitment Payment: Once you are accepted to the program, you will need to submit a $300 commitment payment within 14 days to confirm your spot on the program. Once you submit your commitment payment you will unlock the acceptance portion of your portal, which includes things like pre-departure videos, travel and arrival information, the Greenheart Travel Atlas, and more.


    After submitting your commitment payment you will move onto the document, visa, and job interview portion of the process:

    Step 1: Once are approved,  a member of our team in Japan will reach out to you to complete your profile to make the following:

    1. Introduction video – the requirements for this are different depending on whether you are applying to public schools or private language centers. 
    2. Professional resume – the requirements for this are different depending on whether you are applying to public schools or private language centers.
    3. Cover letter expressing your interest in a teaching position in Japan

    Once this is complete, we begin marketing you to our school network in Japan.

    Note: With some schools, there may be an additional requirement to provide two professional references.

    Step 3: Our team will coordinate interviews with school partners. The interview process is generally anywhere from 1-3 calls with the school for placement. Most commonly, the interview comprises of a 1 to 1.5 hour formal interview. A teaching demonstration may be required (depending on the school) and if so, information will be provided in advance to help you prepare. No TESOL/TEFL is needed at the time of the demo. The schools just want to get an idea of your commitment to preparation and your tone and manner. We have instructors on hand to guide you in preparing for the demo lesson. Note that not all schools will require a teaching demo. 

    Step 4: Placement is offered by the school partner. We will send a letter to you confirming the placement offer and basic information. Typically placement location is not known at that time so it is not provided in the initial offer letter.

    Step 5: A full teaching contract and visa application documents and guidelines to apply are sent you. Note that the contract does not typically include the actual location of the placement. In many cases this is only finalized near the time of arrival or once you arrive in country. You will then send the signed contract, Certificate of Eligibility application form and supporting documents to the school. 

    Step 6: Once the school receives your documents, you will apply for the visa paperwork from the Japan immigration department. This process typically takes 1-2 months to arrange. However in rare circumstances it can take up to three months for the COE to be issued. When the documents have been processed by immigration a Certificate of Eligibility will be issued and sent to you via post.

    Step 7: Once the visa paperwork is sent to you, you then apply for your visa from your local Japanese embassy.

    Step 8: Once the visa is granted and received from the Japanese Embassy, you are then free to buy your flight and travel to Japan.

    Note that in some circumstances you must provide before arriving in Japan a doctor’s note stating that you are in good health. You may also be required to take a Tuberculosis test prior to arrival or during in-country orientation. This is only the case with some schools. These items are the only medical related items required for your application to teach through our school network in Japan.

    Total timeline for placement only from signup until arrival in country is outlined in the table below. Please note that this an approximate time and conservative estimate. It could go over or be a bit less time. We estimate anywhere from 3 to 6 months from initial program signup until visa is in hand and you are ready to travel to Japan.

    Estimated Timeline
    Initial Signup Day 1
    Initial call Day 7
    Teacher profile completed Day 21
    Initial Interview Day 30
    Final interview Day 37
    Contract and supporting docs sent to participant and returned to school Day 45
    School applies for Certificate of Eligibility (COE) Day 55
    School receives COE; Participant applies for visa in home country Day 105
    Visa received, flight booked Day 120
  • Schedule a Call

    Have questions or want to talk to program manager? Set up a time to have a phone call below.

  • Free Japanese Classes

    We have partnered with a reputable Japanese language school to offer all teachers signed up for our program 4 free Japanese classes!

    These include one live 80-minute class per week, plus weekly materials to be completed before the class.

    These classes are designed for those who prefer to have weekly set classes to prepare for in order to stay on task and keep motivation high. This program consists of live language practice sessions which can be set 100% around your schedule. Below is a brief breakdown of the course components:

    1. Course Materials: These materials are provided free of charge and will be sent out at the beginning of the month in order to prepare for your language classes
    2. The Live Practice Sessions: At the same time each week (you can choose a timeslot that best suits your schedule), you meet with your teacher and a small group of other students of a similar level to practice what you have learned in the week’s materials. Classes are available both online or in-person (based in Nagoya), depending on your availability and schedule
    3. Continuing your learning: After the first 4 weeks, you are free to then continue with the school and pursue getting your Japanese ability up to the next level.

    This is a great and engaging way to learn the language, taught by experienced and qualified Japanese language teachers in small groups with others who are looking to learn the language too.

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