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Internships in Japan ?!


Hey guys,

I have a question about internships in Japan. Currently I am in my Junior year in University here in the states and I would like to acquire programming knowledge in other countries. Does anyone know how internships work in Japan? Would I be better off just trying to find a programming gig sans degree? once I feel completely comfortable with a certain language should I just start applying and see what happens?

Currently I am on hiatus for the summer and and brushing up on my frameworks, and auxiliary tools knowledge (which in the states they haven’t taught me yet).

Any information would be greatly appreciated.



Internships in Japan are tricky. Generally speaking, Japanese students don’t do internships. The most common kind of “internship” here is something more akin to a seminar about the company, where students don’t actually do any real work. It is starting to change, and some students do western style internships where they do work for a company, but it still isn’t so common.

Your situation is further complicated by the visa situation. I know to do an internship you’ll need some sort of visa, but I’m not sure which one. To get a normal working visa, you need a university degree. There must be some other visa, as I’m familiar with the the Canada-Japan Co-op Program, but I’m not sure what it is. Because of the visa situation, even if you were to find some internships aimed at Japanese students, you probably couldn’t get them.

The best chance would be to see if your university offers some sort of program to get you an internship here. It’s a bit of a long shot, but I think it is unlikely you find something otherwise.

My suggestion would be to get a paid internship with a local company, save up your money, and then when you graduate in a year, come here and look for a job.

Paid internships in japan -- software development

When i went to Japan a few weeks ago I met up with some devs that were pretty cool. As soon as I got back I asked if they did internships in which he replied yes but i would have to learn Japanese. Not a problem since I would like to think that I have a year and he didn’t say that I had to know how to read or write (I figured that would be easier once I’m there).

I understand that you would need a visa for working in Japan but if I’m only there for the summer (less then three months) technically I wouldn’t need one. I’m not sure how far a Japanese company would bend the rules in this case. especially for an intern. This company also feels like a start up but i don’t really know. I guess the point in this post was to give you guys a little information and additionally get some of your input. I’ll try the university route although i don’t think they would really have a program for devs wanting to travel abroad.

Anyway, what are your thoughts? Is networking a valid approach like it is in the states? More or less so?


Sounds like you’re already ahead then. I think networking is the best place to get a job here or anywhere, as you find opportunities like the one you mention.

Even if it is an unpaid internship, you still may need a visa. Now as long as there is no paper trail, immigration probably won’t find out, but be aware there’s a possibility you get in trouble for it.


I don’t know if anyone is still watching this post, but most companies (like Rakuten’s internship program) will take you on as a student visa and have you apply for “Permission to Engage in Activity other than that Permitted under the Status of Residence Previously Granted”.

This will allow you to get paid for your internship.