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Guide to Side Jobs for Foreigners in Japan

side job

Since 2023, price increases in Japan have become more noticeable, and many people are feeling that their salary from the company alone is not enough to live on.

This is also true for foreigners working in Japan.

Due to the “work style reform,” more companies are allowing side jobs, and many people are engaging in them.

Consequently, the number of foreigners who want to start a side job in Japan is naturally increasing.

In this article, we will discuss “Side Jobs Foreigners Can Do in Japan and Points to Note When Engaging in Side Jobs.”

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Side Jobs Possible Anytime, Anywhere with a PC, Smartphone, and Skills

Regardless of nationality, in the modern era, if you have a PC, smartphone, and specific skills, you can engage in side jobs anytime and anywhere.

  • Writing articles aimed at foreign markets
  • Creating illustrations such as icons and headers
  • IT-related tasks like programming and system development
  • Video editing using editing software
  • Translation

If you have specific skills at a certain level, you can use those skills to undertake side jobs.

While you can find work directly through social media, it is recommended to use “crowdsourcing sites” to make it easier to receive orders.

side job

Points to Note When Engaging in Side Jobs in Japan

As mentioned earlier, although the environment for side jobs in Japan has become more relaxed, there are still several points to note.

Residency Status

For work visas like “Technical Intern Training” and “Specified Skills,” side jobs or part-time work are not allowed.

There are no restrictions for those who have “residency status based on status or position.”

In general, you can consider engaging in side jobs within the range permitted by your residency status.

If you work for an IT company, you can use your IT skills for side jobs.

However, if you have obtained “Permission for Activities outside of Qualifications,” you can also engage in side jobs or part-time work outside the designated business scope.

Company’s Employment Rules

Despite many companies deregulating side jobs due to work style reform, there are still quite a few that prohibit them.

Check your company’s employment rules to see if side jobs are allowed before you start.

**Cases Where Tax Returns Are Necessary**

In Japan, if you earn more than 200,000 yen per year from side jobs, you must file a tax return.

Failure to do so may result in a non-filing surcharge and delinquent tax.

Recommended Side Jobs for Foreigners

Let’s mention a few side jobs that are recommended for foreigners who have obtained “Permission for Activities outside of Qualifications.”

Aside from the previously mentioned writing, translation, programming, and video editing, various other side jobs are conceivable.

Making Money on Foreign Crowdsourcing Sites While in Japan

Crowdsourcing sites exist not only in Japan but all over the world, and earning from sites outside Japan is also recommended.

Reservations for tours, hotels, and inns can earn you over 50 dollars per case.

Additionally, there are tasks like capturing photos of Japanese landscapes for which you can get paid.

side job

Tourist Guide

Previously, this job could not be done without a qualification, but now even unqualified individuals can work as tourist guides.

Register on dedicated tourist guide sites and receive requests.

With COVID-19 restrictions relaxed, the number of foreigners visiting Japan is increasing again.

These inbound side jobs are highly promising.

Product Sales Business

In Japan, many people earn side income through online auctions like Mercari and Yahoo Auctions.

For foreigners, importing products from overseas is easier, which is why it’s recommended.

You can purchase foreign products when you return home, and negotiations are easier due to no language barriers.

This is a difficult point for Japanese people, so being a foreigner can be a big advantage.

The product sales business doesn’t require you to keep a lot of inventory if it’s on a side job scale, and you can manage shipping within a few days of receiving orders, thus not affecting your main job too much.

Depending on the items you handle, like branded goods, you can earn significant income with little effort.


In this article, we have discussed “Side Jobs Foreigners Can Do in Japan and Points to Note When Engaging in Side Jobs.”

For foreigners, engaging in side jobs in Japan requires you to be within the scope of activities permitted by your residency status and not prohibited by your company’s rules.

If you are eligible for side jobs, why not try one of the recommended side jobs mentioned here?

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