Fancy a cold one? Work a ski season in Japan.

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Jenza Work Japan

Working holidays in Japan

There’s no business like snow business. Live and work in Japan for up to a year with a pre-arranged English-speaking ski season job, arrival set up and job support for your whole visa.

Fancy a yarn? 

Let's talk

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Is it for me?

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18-30 years

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12-month visa

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Apply year round

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3-4 month ski season job

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No Japanese required

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5 nights when you land

€1,215

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What she said

"I'd never been to Asia before, let alone Japan. And I'd never done a wintersport. But I thought, what a place to learn."

Betsy, JENZA roadtester

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Cool runnings

Work Japan | €1,215

We provide the visa help, pre-arranged ski season job and arrival support to live and work in Japan for up to a year.

Japan can feel intimidatingly unfamiliar to travellers, especially when it comes to workplace etiquette. Starting in Tokyo for the first six days, our in-country partners will personally meet you at the airport and accompany you to sort out all your work and tax formalities. After that, if you’re arriving in winter, you’re free to head straight out on the piste – flying to Hokkaido to start your ski season job. Or if you’re arriving at another time of year, the team will support you with finding a job in Tokyo until winter comes.

Japan's working holiday visa allows you to work for 12 months, doing most jobs other than working in nightclubs, dancehalls and gambling venues.

Every April, a new annual quota of visas is allocated to eligible countries. Since the pandemic, these quotas haven’t always been met, but we still advise applying as early as possible to secure your visa.

The application consists of an online visa application and in-person appointment at the Embassy of Japan in your home country. Applications can take 2-3 months, and once approved, you have 12 months to enter the country. You’re only allowed one working holiday visa per lifetime.

  • You must hold one of these passports
  • Be aged 18-30 (inclusive)
  • Be living in your home country at the time of application
  • Have support funds of €2,500 and proof of a return/onward flight, or €3,500 if entering Japan on a one-way ticket
  • Able to attend an in-country visa appointment at the Embassy of Japan your home country

Confused? Our JENZA Support Squad are here to guide you through it.

Typical working holiday jobs in Japan include working as waiting staff, front of house, room attendants, housekeepers and instructors in Western hotels, restaurants and ski resorts. Or working as an English teacher or nanny.

Your visa doesn't require you to have a job before you go, but if you're arriving in winter (Nov/Dec) we can help you to secure a 3-4 month ski season job. You’ll typically earn between 1,000-1,2000 Yen per hour, with discounted staff accommodation.

You don’t need to be able to speak Japanese to work for our ski season employers, but it will improve your experience and be met with beaming smiles if you learn the basics.

Some of our travellers opt to do online courses before they go, or arrive a few weeks early to do a classroom course. We’ve partnered with the Kudan Institute of Japanese Language and Culture in Tokyo to offer 4-12 week courses. Ask us about dates and pricing.

Our ski season partners own hotels and lodges across the world-renowned ski resorts of Niseko, Rusutsu and Furano, and look for seasonal staff each year to do a range of hospitality jobs.

Niseko

  • Japan’s most popular ski resort
  • 15+ metres of snow each season
  • Famous for off-country terrain and 100+ runs
  • Known for the world’s best champagne powder
  • Bouji resort life and backpacker nightlife

    Rusutsu

  • One of Japan’s largest ski resorts
  • 14+ metres of snow each season
  • 35+ runs and 21 lifts across three mountains
  • Family-friendly with fewer crowds
  • Nearby hot springs after a day on the run

    Furano

  • Awesome all-rounder for all levels
  • 9+ metres of snow each season
  • Less snow but the finest Hokkaido powder
  • More authentically Japanese resort
  • Nearby backcountry for powder pros

While numbers are not guaranteed (especially outside of the ski season), we suggest timing your flights with our group arrival dates for the best chance of meeting other working holidaymakers.

  • 13 Jan 23
  • 10 Feb 23
  • 10 Mar 23
  • 14 Apr 23
  • 12 May 23
  • 9 Jun 23
  • 14 Jul 23
  • 11 Aug 23
  • 8 Sep 23
  • 13 Oct 23
  • 10 Nov 23
  • 8 Dec 23

What's included

Everything you need to get your visa, get hired and get on the plane – with one-on-one support from people who’ve been. 

The Japan visa process can be as confusing as a Tokyo cuddle café. But we’re there for it. (The visa bit, not the cuddling strangers part).

We’ll guide you through the process – supplying the correct forms and guidance on how to fill them out. Plus, advise on how to format the supporting documents you need for your in-person embassy appointment. These include an outline of your intended activities and letter explaining why you want to do a working holiday. (A year of ramen – while technically correct – is not an acceptable answer).

Working holiday visas Japan are free for most nationalities, and currently cost £21 for UK passport holders. This must be paid in cash at your embassy appointment.

We include a 3-4 month ski season job in either Niseko, Rusutsu or Furano on the Japanese island of Hokkaido. Typical jobs include guest services, concierge, front desk, bell hop, housekeeper, bus driver, bartender, chefs and ski instructors. As soon as you’ve paid your deposit, we’ll give you access to our JENZA Job Hub where you can start applying for positions.

You must be available to work the full season from Nov/Dec through to Mar/Apr, and be available to interview via video call from Jul/Aug. Jobs are filled on a first come first served basis, so apply early to secure your preferred position.

If you’re arriving outside of winter or would prefer to work in Tokyo instead, your arrival orientation includes comprehensive job support. This lasts for your whole visa, so you can tap in for year-round jobs before or after your ski season.

Your Work Japan ride or die, all our JENZA Support Squad have worked overseas, so can give you firsthand advice on moving abroad. As well as being a geeky bunch of travel nerds and visa whisperers, we're also all mental health awareness trained. Which means we know how to connect like humans – not customer service bots.

On top of pre-departure visa and job support, we also include online intercultural Japan training and a group call with a live FAQ before you go to answer all your Japan questions.

While you don’t need to speak Japanese to get hired, sorting all the formalities to legally start work when you arrive can be near impossible without a Japanese speaker. This is where our amazing in-county partners (and job hunting ninjas) World Unite step in.

Someone from the team will personally accompanying you to the relevant offices in Tokyo to get everything set up.

  • Airport meet and greet
  • 5 nights’ accommodation at a househare in Tokyo
  • Discounted staff accommodation for 3-4 months (ski season jobs only)
  • Accompanied appointments to sort your residence permits and health system registration
  • 90-120 minute job counselling session to run through all the available jobs and how to apply
  • CV translation and cover letter support
  • One-on-one job and translation support for your whole visa from the team in Tokyo

This is all the un-sexy stuff, but essential and legal stuff you need to start working in Japan. When you arrive, the World Unite team will help you set up:

  • Japan bank account
  • Tax number registration
  • SIM card

Free (or close to free) stuff Our favourite F word. Score hundreds of overseas discounts with our virtual JENZA X IYTC card.

Earn extra cash Shot it? Share it. We pay for blogs, vlogs, images and videos. DM us on Insta and send us a pitch.

Find a friend Meet people like you. Connect with travellers arriving at the same time on our JENZA Discord group chats.

Book now pay later Secure your spot with €115 deposit, paying the balance eight weeks before you fly.

About our pricing Our mission is to make working abroad more accessible. Meaning we do everything we can to pay our team, support our partners and make a profit – without screwing over the people who matter. Read about how our pricing works and the people involved in making your JENZA happen.

We also walk the walk, donating 5% of profits to our overseas scholarship fund.

What’s not included

Support funds for Japan (€)

You must have support funds of €2,500 and proof of a return/onward flight, or €3,500 if entering Japan on a one-way ticket.

Travel insurance

To cover against cancellation, we recommend taking out comprehensive travel insurance as soon as you book.

Japan visa fee

Your working holiday visa Japan is currently free. Yay!

Flights

We don’t recommend booking flights until your visa is approved.

Japan language course

Ask us about optional 4-12 week language courses in Tokyo.

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Polite society

Included intercultural training

Trains as fast as bullets, restaurants run by robots and toilets that clean your... Japan may live in the future, but its customs are firmly rooted in the past. From leaving your shoes at the door to finishing your food, we include social etiquette training before you go.

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Where to do your ski season

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The powder playground

View all

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Why do a ski season

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Travel you can trust

Our Extra Mile Promise

Every JENZA experience has been shaped by our Youth Advisory Panel, roadtested by our travellers, and backed by 60+ years of work abroad expertise. But if we still don’t rock your world, we’ll refund the part of your JENZA program you’re not happy with. T&Cs apply

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The JENZA blog

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All the inspo and intel on life in Japan

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Need to know / Japan

Everything you need to know about a working holiday in Japan

Betsy Lake

How to work a ski season in Japan. When you don’t speak Japanese. Or ski.

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Travel Guide / Japan

A guide to Tokyo’s coolest neighbourhoods

Saki Ueda

Tokyo can seem crazier than a Saturday night scramble across Shibuya. Thankfully, Saki is here to break it down.

More ways to work the world

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Did someone say ‘gap decade?’

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