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Jenza Talk/ Japan

How to apply and prepare for a working holiday in Japan

The insider matcha scoop on work, play and finding your way in Japan.

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Hey I’m Ebony from Sydney and last year I made the massive leap and decision to travel to Japan for 6+ months for a season on the slopes. Even writing this down I cannot believe it's truly happening and I arrived this week.

My decision around this came one day post-nursing shift in the hospital. I walked out of the ward after a rough unpaid shift and thought to myself. I need to get out and do something different, new, inspiring and life-shaping. I’ve been studying to be a nurse for 4+ years and this course includes 840 Hours of unpaid work, many essays, many quizzes, and many classes. Over these four years, I must admit I’ve felt burnt out and in desperate need of a refresh. Hence my move to Japan. I finished my course in November and the plan is to start working in Australia the following April which gives me the perfect window of opportunity for a snow season abroad.

Pre-departure antics

Living in Sydney and biting the bullet to sign up with JENZA meant I got the ball rolling early as I had plenty of things to do before I left and heaps to organise, buy and book. My advice? The sooner you can apply, the better as there are so many pieces of the puzzle to plan and organise that you may not have even considered before chatting to JENZA.

For starters the whole visa part. For Aussie passport holders, this process was so much easier than I thought. I was super stressed about applying for this and thought things were going to be tricky. But by working my way through the JENZA guide to visa applications and following the visa application list on the Japanese Embassy website, I simply gathered all the files and forms, booked my embassy appointment, gave them my stuff and returned five days later with a working holiday visa. Bonus - it’s free too!

Been there done that application tips:

Start collecting your forms early on, follow the guidelines and make a checklist of everything you need for the application and embassy appointment.

Book your embassy appointment early (the first one in the morning if available). I was surprised by how busy that place was… in Sydney at least.

Another thing to consider is medication. I need to take certain prescription medication each day, so when I travel for months that's a hella lot of medication to bring. In Japan, there are rules around bringing in large amounts of medication. If doing so you'll need to look up and obtain a "Yunyu Kakunin-sho", which is basically an import certificate that you show customs. There is an online portal which is super easy to fill out, you just need to show proof of prescription and some information about the medication. Definitely something to think about if you need medicine while you’re away.

Get a decent amount of cash out to last you a few weeks in Japan. Most purchases you make will be with cash, so it's best to make sure you have a fair amount for all kinds of purchases.

Getting a job before you go

I must admit that getting a job was most definitely the easier part of the whole process thanks to the JENZA Job Hub. I simply just went onto the Job Hub, browsed the roles listed and applied for the job that I felt suited me the most and sent off an updated resume. After receiving my resume and application, the ski resort company contacted me to arrange a few video calls to work out what the best role for me would be and then I got sent the job offer.

The job offered was perfect for me in a few ways. Firstly the perks – they pay towards your ski pass which means skiing whenever you like. Winning! Also, most importantly, they helped to sort out and supply accommodation. This took a massive weight off my shoulders as accommodation for certain jobs can be stressful regarding travel and getting to the job etc. Lucky for me this came with the job, like a lot of the roles available, so I knew I’d be able to get to and from work easy-peasy.




Author Ebony poses in Tokyo arcade


Ebony Tremain

Work USA 12-month Roadtester

It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. Our roadtesters trial and shape every JENZA experience to make sure it serves our travel community first. Because if it didn't fly with them, it's not going to fly with you.

"I must admit that getting a job was most definitely the easier part of the whole process thanks to the JENZA Job Hub"

What to pack

Job and visa sorted now the monster task – what to pack for 6 MONTHS?! I started off by researching the weather in both Niseko and Tokyo, where I’d be spending my time, to get an idea on what I might need to buy before I got there. For the ski season – thermals and all the warm clothing was required which I had a lot of already, plus I’m lucky enough to own ski gear that I was getting transported over to Japan. Don’t own your own gear? No stress you can look at hiring or buy second-hand over there which is often a lot cheaper.

If like me you’re seeing $$$$ signs at the thought of getting all that luggage across, I advise you to do your airline research and book accordingly. I made it a priority to check out the airlines and what luggage they offered. Both Japan's main airlines (ANA & Japanese Airlines) offered 2 x 23kg bags which is ideal. This meant I could take my whole large ski bag and a clothes bag. I recommend checking airlines and their allowance on luggage because many offer good deals on the weight and amounts of luggage.

Been there done that packing tips:

Number one - packing cubes! I’m sure you’ve seen the TikToks but these are definitely worth the hype. I used packing cubes to separate different clothing items and packed my clothes into my bag neatly that I had no issues with space. Packing cubes kept things neat and accessible when I was having to go from hotel to hotel too.

Number two - Bring your essential toiletries. The products available although amazing are very different brands and types, so before you get used to that, bring some of your essentials.

Number three – Ditch your ski bag early on. I had 2 x 23kg bags, one was a 2-metre ski bag. The thought of lugging these around Tokyo between public transport and the hotel is not the one (believe me others tried it and it wasn’t pretty). So I decided to ship my ski bag to Niseko from the airport when I first arrived. This process was super easy, all I had to do was walk up to the counter, write in my Niseko future address and they sent my bag up for an extremely cheap price. I went with Yamato, and they were really easy to work with. These counters are at all Haneda airport terminals and made my experience travelling in Japan 100x easier. groomers and tree runs.

When you arrive

As someone who cannot sleep on planes, I made sure to book a flight which was during awake hours. This did mean arriving at the airport quite late at night, but I booked the first night at airport accommodation which supplied airport pickup at any hour. I recommend this if you arrive late so you have somewhere to settle in early and will be refreshed for the first day of orientation in Tokyo the next day.

There are so many things to prep both before and when you come over, JENZA and the company you get employed by are all super helpful in sorting you out with everything you need to work and travel with ease in Japan. Don't stress out, just ensure you go over everything, print any important documents and don’t be afraid to ask questions when confused! Everything will come together and props to the team at JENZA who were super helpful with all aspects and answered my many questions.


Author Ebony poses in Tokyo arcade


Ebony Tremain

Work USA 12-month Roadtester

It was a tough job, but someone had to do it. Our roadtesters trial and shape every JENZA experience to make sure it serves our travel community first. Because if it didn't fly with them, it's not going to fly with you.

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