Salary: What are you worth?

Will your Salary be Enough? The cost of living in Japan can vary widely

(Pictured: Some of the French maids of Akihabara, photo by PaulCanosa)

One owner reminded me that all salaries are not equal. For example: 250,000 Yen in Tokyo is much less than the same pay in Okinawa or Tohoku --where rent is cheaper, and in Okinawa where rent, food, and the cost of living in general is much cheaper. He pointed out that Japanese often make only 160-200,000 Yen per month. So a payment of more than 230,000 is generous compared to that.

Salaries of the Big Schools in Japan

Aeon: 36 hrs/week! 270,000 Yen/month

Shane 25 hrs/week 250,000 Yen/month Completion Bonus: 65,000 Yen

Geos: 29.5 hrs/week 250,000 Yen/month

ECC 29.5 hrs/week 252,000 Yen/month

Gaba Pays per lesson 1500-2200Yen/40 min. Lesson

Berlitz 23 hrs/week 250,000 Yen/month Salary: Calculate these salaries into your country`s currency now.

Oricon ranks the Big school chains in Japan



(Photo of Fresh food by Paul Canosa)


Though I would suggest that the Japanese making the above salary are very young, and are usually living with their parents and paying virtually no rent. So that total salary is theirs. Moreover, they probably get bonuses twice a year that greatly increase the amount of that seemingly low salary. Personally, I wouldn`t feel comfortable myself with offering anything less than 250,000 a month, just as a matter of principle. We offer the above and a 100,000 Yen contract completion bonus, and our schools are in a lower cost of living area, near enough to Tokyo to get reasonably priced food, but far enough away to get cheaper rent.

Teachers making the salary above in southeast Kanagawa prefecture have ranged from a man who was able to easily save 100,000 Yen a month, a woman who was also able to save a lot in three years and used it to study in Scotland after working for KES, and a teacher who was often destitute at the end of each month. Everyone is different and has varied spending and saving habits.

Teachers need to take a look at themselves and be very careful with their money when they first come to Japan. It takes time to realize how much things cost and what you can get away with spending.


The Cost of Living is probably higher in some of Japan`s Biggest Cities

Some of Japan`s biggest cities include:

Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kyoto, Sendai, Kobe, Hiroshima, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo; will be much more expensive.

Employers Get What They Pay For

Indeed, you get what you pay for and that includes hiring personnel. If you pay someone more, they generally perform better for your company.

However, a salary of 230,000 Yen in Okinawa might be better than 250,000 Yen in Tokyo in terms of saving money. Teachers do your homework!

Best to ask around at some of the forums on living in Japan or livingin Okinawa specifically. As the Lonely Planet Guidebooks state: things change and prices go up. So check around on the internet.

Ask those all ready living in the area you are thinking of going to.

Okinawa I will add has the mixed blessing of the American military presence. This allows for cheap imports of food and other things from "home." Yet it seems that rents are cheap there too.

Indeed, all owners should outline on their homepage the current cost of living in their area. This will give teachers an idea of how much they can save. Which I know myself, from past experience, is very difficult to determine when you have never been to Japan.

Teachers too have to go in with eyes open. Of course you should never totally believe what is written on the official website of a school. You need to do your own research. Too many teachers come to Japan without knowing much about this great country. That really is a shame and tragic for the school that hires you, and dangerous for you the teacher.

Learn about the country before you come, you will be spending a year or more of your life in it.

Do your homework!

Caveat: Don`t believe everything you read on internet forums where posters are usually anonymous!

Elsewhere at this site I state avoiding the forums, but perhaps it is best to read them with a VERY critical eye.


Pictured: a walled house in Japan by Richard Baladad


More on Saving Money

Many teachers that have taught for our company have saved significant amounts of money--1,000 dollars US or more per month.While others have been broke from pay check to pay check. It really depends on your lifestyle. Japan can be cheap if you are careful or expensive if you are not!

Most schools will pay you around 250,000 Yen/month, plus you can pick up some part-time work raising your salary to between 3-400,000/month. On that salary you can live well and save a lot. I was able to save 10,000 dollars in four months.


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