Looking for an internship in Asia? Intern Abroad HQ offers exciting internships in Tokyo, Japan. Internships in Tokyo are available year round, from a minimum duration requirement of just 4 weeks. Affordable internship fees start from just US$1,230, covering in-country support, airport pick-up, accommodation, internship placement and orientation, and the Intern Abroad HQ experiential learning curriculum.
If you’re passionate about international business and marketing, choose a Business and Media Internship. In a fascinating global city that’s both traditional and progressive, a business internship in Japan provides a unique experience to enrich your career path. Education and Youth Development internships in Japan are perfect for those looking to diversify their experience while gaining essential cross-cultural competencies. Gain a fresh professional perspective, in an unforgettable city where the possibilities are seemingly endless. If you’re ready to discover our internships in Tokyo, start by checking out our most frequently asked questions. You’ll be ready to intern in Japan in no time!
- Is it okay to intern in Tokyo if I don’t speak Japanese?
- What makes the internships in Tokyo so unique?
- How will I be prepared to intern in Japan?
- How can I make the most out of a short-term internship?
- What can I expect from the accommodation in Japan?
- What might a typical day look like for an intern in Tokyo?
- How much money do I need to intern in Japan?
- How will I get around Tokyo city?
- Is Tokyo a safe city?
- When is the best time to visit Japan?
- I’m in! How can I start planning my internship in Japan?
1. Is it okay to intern in Tokyo if I don’t speak Japanese?
Absolutely! Japanese language skills are not a requirement to intern in Tokyo. Business internships in Tokyo are typically hosted by startup companies, who have a global mindset and orientation toward foreign markets and international sales. While it’s important to understand that a language barrier may still be encountered to a certain extent, interns are able to gain insight into diverse cultural and business practices, developing their own fluidity to operate within increasingly globalized industries.
For those interested in education internships in Japan, you’ll have the opportunity to use your English language skills as an advantage, by assisting students with their own willingness to learn a second language. Education is highly valued in Japan and families prioritize being able to provide their children with opportunities to excel. Although English-language exposure and immersion is an important aspect of education for students in Japan, interns should still anticipate a language barrier and come prepared with strategies to overcome this. (For example, using simple vocabulary, speaking more slowly, and being prepared to also learn some basic Japanese).
Positive experiences always require a willingness to surmount language barriers and focus on ways to connect, rather than obstacles. Anyone with the motivation to learn a new language can certainly do so and Japanese is no exception. However, it does require time and effort. Japanese language lessons are available through the internship program and we encourage everyone to give them a go - if not by taking some language lessons at home prior to the internship, then by signing up for classes in Tokyo, before you begin the internship. (We can help interns arrange the details if they want to take lessons in-country, once they have confirmed their participation).
2. What makes internships in Tokyo so unique?
There is a drive for excellence in Japan like perhaps no other country in the world. Such pride is taken in presentation, respectful etiquette, quality products, and career ambition; and interns can expect an unparalleled level of personal and professional development. It’s important to come with an open mind and willingness to adapt to a culture and work ethic that at times may feel familiar, while at other times, completely foreign. Just as Japanese people take good care and strive for quality, international interns in Japan should endeavor to share in this identity. Interns in Japan have a unique opportunity to gain focused and respectful colleagues, to shape their professional brand and work ethic, and to take pride in being a positive ambassador for their own country and culture.
3. How will I be prepared to intern in Japan?
We know that it can be both exciting and nerve-wracking to travel internationally, let alone to intern abroad! However, we’re here to help every step of the way and ensure that you feel supported, excited, and confident to begin the experience. Intern Abroad HQ will help with the logistics of planning your internship, so that you know what’s required and how to make everything fall into place. Apart from the obvious preparations, such as booking your flights and packing your bags, we’re also here to help with mental preparedness and expectations - as these aspects of your internship are essential. Once you’ve confirmed your internship, you’ll receive our Internship Manual which covers “must knows” about developing your employability, ensuring a successful internship, cultural insights, advice from previous interns, etc - as well as practical details about dress code, travel, and more. Our local team in Japan will host an online meeting prior to arrival, for an open discussion about Japanese culture and customs. They’ll also host your orientation after you’ve arrived and, during the internship itself, continue to provide ongoing support. Intern Abroad HQ remains in-touch to facilitate an experiential learning curriculum (which is designed for guided reflection and resume-building).
4. How can I make the most out of a short-term internship?
Intern Abroad HQ offers short-term internship opportunities in Tokyo from just four weeks. Having the opportunity to secure a short-term internship is a fantastic way to gain some professional insight, secure some practical experience under your belt, and broaden your horizons. As it takes time to get settled in and establish your routine, interns coming for a shorter period of time should take extra care to get stuck in from day one and be proactive.
No matter the length of your internship, we also recommend that everyone learns a little bit about their internship destination and placement in advance. Interns will receive more details about the specific company they’ll be interning with prior to their arrival, so this provides a chance for you to do a bit of due diligence and come equipped with a general understanding of the company’s mission, operations, and target markets within their industry. This approach might also help you to have some relevant questions on hand to ask your supervisor during your initial introduction to the placement, which can help to develop a relationship and rapport early on.
Whether you’re interning for 4 weeks or 3 months - always be proactive! It’s ok to respectfully ask your supervisor for more work if necessary, as they won’t immediately know how you pace yourself or how much workload you’re comfortable taking on. Let your supervisor know what strengths you can offer, in addition to what you’d like to learn. Attitude makes all the difference, so come ready to make an effort, make friends, and make a difference!
5. What can I expect from the accommodation in Japan?
The internship program fee includes sharehouse accommodation in Tokyo. Within a sharehouse, interns are accommodated together dormitory-style. These shared rooms usually accommodate between 4-8 guests at any given time. Guests have access to their own lockers within the rooms, for storing their personal items. Efforts are made to ensure that females are accommodated alongside females, and males alongside males. However, sometimes dormitories may be mixed-gender, depending on availability/capacity logistics. Bathrooms are shared and common areas, such as lounge, kitchen and laundry facilities, are provided.
For those who want more privacy, accommodation upgrades are available at an additional cost. Twin-share rooms within the sharehouse may be arranged (sharing with just one another guest). Otherwise, you can request homestay accommodation, which provides the enjoyment of living with a warm and inviting Japanese family. Homestay accommodation upgrades ensure that an intern can have their own bedroom, with enhanced language and cultural immersion. Homestay accommodation also include meals (breakfast and dinner, Monday through Friday, and three meals per day over weekends). For people wanting a more “all inclusive” internship package, then homestay accommodation with meals covered is recommended. Otherwise, interns staying within a sharehouse coordinate their own meals, as they go.
6. What might a typical day look like for an intern in Tokyo?
Business interns in Japan can expect to have quite a different schedule from Education interns in Japan. A Business & Media internship schedule will tend to be full-time, Monday through Friday. On the other hand, many placements within the scope of Education & Youth Development internships are focused on after-school care programs and the expected schedule may be 3 p.m. till 8-9 p.m (also Monday through Friday). Weekends are available for personal time and relaxing. Life in Tokyo can be fast-paced, so the weekends provide a welcome opportunity to get some rest - but you can also take the opportunity to explore everything that the greater Tokyo area has to offer! A “typical day” will vary for everyone (and it also depends on whether you take sharehouse accommodation or prefer a home-stay). Whatever schedule you establish, you’ll find that in Japan, punctuality and routine are important.
7. How much money do I need to intern in Japan?
In Japan, US$100 per week should be sufficient to cover basic expenses such as meals and public transportation (if you opt to upgrade to homestay accommodation, which includes meals, then your weekly budget may be less than this). More should be budgeted for social and tourism activities, so it’s wise to think about what’s on your Japan Bucket List. For example, a weekend at Tokyo Disneyland isn’t going to cost as much as much as a picnic in the park with your friends.
8. How will I get around Tokyo city?
The greater Tokyo area is not just one city, but it’s an expanse made up of many cities, or “wards” (much like the boroughs of London or New York City). Due to the expanse of these urban and residential areas, it is normal to commute to and from accommodation via the Tokyo Metro. The normal commute time can be at least one hour (and may require changes of metro line and platform - Google Maps will be your best friend!) However, the system is very efficient and user-friendly, making it easy to get around and discover Tokyo. Free WiFi is available at most stations and metro routes are color-coded, numbered, and locations are written in the latin alphabet, as well as Japanese script. Once you get into the swing of using the metro - which really doesn’t take very long - you’ll realize that the city really is at your fingertips and you’ll be excited to start exploring! Typically, interns in Tokyo use prepaid cards to electronically pay for trains, buses, subways, and even many taxis. For the metro, you simply tap the card over the card reader at the entrance of the train station (or you tap it on the reader as you board a bus). These prepaid cards can be purchased (and topped up) at train/subway stations (there are user-friendly instructions in English).
9. Is Tokyo a safe city?
Tokyo is really quite special. It’s described as one of the most populous cities on earth, but also one of the most livable - and certainly very safe. Visitors often comment on how clean and organized it is, as well as noticing how polite the people are. In fact, Tokyo established a “Good Manners Project” to highlight some of the people, customs and manners that provide the constant care which keeps everything running smoothly and safely. Within the streets of Tokyo, you may even encounter the volunteer English-speaking guides, who are on hand to assist foreigners with any questions they may have while out and about. Although in many ways Tokyo is a model city, it’s still essential to take care and be aware of your surroundings – no matter where you are in the world. This means being responsible for conducting yourself in a healthy and safe manner.
10. When is the best time to visit Japan?
Internships in Tokyo begin every Monday, so the program is very flexible. However, exceptions to start date availability can occur when start dates are closed due to public holiday / festival disruptions. The three busiest holiday seasons in Japan are New Year, Golden Week (around late April and early May), and Obon festival week, which is usually mid August. Visiting Japan during these peak holiday/festival seasons can be enjoyable, but also frustrating, as trains, airports and sightseeing spots get very crowded. Both domestic and international travel activity is intense, so congested travel should be expected and accommodation in tourist areas can get booked out well in advance. If you’re in Japan over New Year, then many tourist attractions, shops, restaurants, banks and ATMs may also be closed on certain dates. If you’re planning on begin in Japan during any of these periods, then it’s recommended to plan and book flights well in advance. If you want to plan your internship in Japan according to the season, then note that the summer season typically lasts from late June through mid/late September. The cooler months are from early December to late March. September is usually the wettest month of the year. Cherry blossoms are the obvious draw to Tokyo in the springtime - from early March through early June.
11. I’m in! How can I start planning my internship in Japan?
Internships in Tokyo offer start dates every Monday. Opportunities are flexible and there’s something for everyone, so explore your fields of interest and start planning! It can be challenging to take the first step, but once that decision has been made, the experience only gets better.
Apply online first. The application process is non-obligatory and free.
After applying, you’ll receive more details on how to confirm your internship placement.
To confirm, you’ll register online after your application has been accepted. This means taking care of the US$299 Registration Fee, which enables us to provide services and pre-departure support. Affordabla internship fees can be reviewed online.
Once you’re registered, the adventure begins!