Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in Japan

Have you been dreaming of climbing Mount Fuji, discovering Tokyo and improving your Japanese? Make your dream come true by travelling to Japan under the Working Holiday Programme (WHP). Work for a few months then explore the islands: it’s up to you! Many countries have signed bilateral reciprocal Working Holiday Visa (WHV) agreements allowing young people to work during their extended holiday in Japan.

How to obtain a Working Holiday Visa for Japan

To get a Working Holiday Visa for Japan, you must:

  • be aged between 18 and 30 (25 in some cases) on the day you apply to join the WHP,
  • be a citizen of a country which has signed an agreement with Japan,
  • primarily be planning holidays in Japan (working must not be the main purpose of your stay),
  • hold a valid passport and have a return ticket or sufficient funds to buy a ticket,
  • have sufficient funds to cover expenses at the beginning of the stay (amounts vary from one country to another),
  • not have previously entered Japan on a Working Holiday Visa,
  • not have any dependent children,
  • be in good health and have no criminal record.

Having WHV insurance (health and repatriation cover) for the duration of the stay is either compulsory or highly recommended. Do wait until your application has been accepted before taking out insurance.

The WHV for Japan is valid for up to 12 months except for Australians, New-Zealanders and Canadians whose initial stay can only last 6 months (a 6-month extension may be granted).

Applying for a Working Holiday Visa for Japan

The visa is free of charge but Japan sets annual quotas for each country participating in the Working Holiday Programme. What is the application process?

  1. Fill in the Working Holiday Visa application form,
  2. Provide the requested documents: valid passport, ID picture, resume, outline of planned activities in Japan, written reason for applying for a WHV in Japan, evidence of possession of a return ticket and of sufficient funds to support the beginning of the stay, medical certificate,
  3. Submit your application to the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Japan in your country of residence,
  4. In some cases you will have an interview with a visa officer.

Once you have the WHV for Japan

WHV approved! If you hold a Working Holiday Visa for Japan, there are some rules you must be aware of:

  • you must enter Japan within 12 months after visa was issued,
  • you must apply for alien registration at the nearest government office within 90 days of arrival,
  • the WHV allows a single entry. Re-entering Japan is possible only with a re-entry permit,
  • Some specific jobs aren’t open to WHV holders (bars, night clubs…).

To find out more about the WHP in Japan:

Check and see if your country takes part in the WHP with Japan: visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan website.
Join the WHP community in Japan on Facebook.
Join the WHP community in Japan on Twitter.

Date of publication Dec 6 2012

Other articles on this subject

Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in Chile
Fruit picking in Australia
Wwoofing: an alternative travel option
Internships in Canada: International Co-op category
Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in Canada
Working in Canada: Young Professionals category
Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in Brazil
Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in Hong Kong
Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in New Zealand
Working-Holiday Programme in Argentina: meet Grégory
Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in Argentina
Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in Singapore
Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in South Korea
Travelling in Australia on a WHV
Meet Luc and Erwan (WHV Australia)
Working Holiday Programme (WHP) in Australia
Preparing a WHP in Australia
Working Holiday Visa in Australia: photos and videos
Meet Julia and Adrien (WHV Australia and New Zealand)
Meet Sophie and Vincent (WHV Japan)