Do you like being constantly in touch with new people from all around the world? Do you know some foreign languages and want to use them during your working hours? Maybe a hotel job is what suits your needs. If you want to find hotel jobs in Japan, this guide is the one for you. It will guide you throughout all you need to know in order to start a career in the hospitality sector in Japan.
This article on hotel jobs in Japan is a subsection of our ultimate guide to jobs in Japan.
Hospitality Industry in Japan
In the last 10 years, the tourism sector has rapidly increased in Japan in both domestic and international tourism. This rapid growth has been contributing to the expansion of the hospitality industry. The country and many hotel chains and individuals have started to build hotels in several forms to accommodate the increasing number of visitors.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 pandemic has forced people to stay at home. It has stopped all the international movements of people. For this reason, the tourism sector is one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic. However, evidence shows that, once the pandemic will be definitely over, the tourism sector will re-start attracting a large number of tourists because of Japan’s world-wide appeal and the number of return visitors. Maybe we will have to wait until 2023 to have a number of tourists higher than the one in 2019. But Japan has all the necessary characteristics to make this sector recover even better than it was before the pandemic.
The tourism sector is mainly related to the major cities. International and domestic tourists visit the biggest Japanese cities in order to discover the architectural beauties of the country and to enter into its culture. First of all, Tokyo registered 14million tourists in 2018 and it is the primary destination chosen by international tourists. Other cities mainly interested in tourism are Kyoto, Osaka, Yokohama, Chiba, and many others. In all these cities, you can find many hotels, which differs from luxury hotels, to business hotels, and to capsule hotels.
Thanks to the increasing weight that tourism currently has, you can find many hotel jobs in Japan. The hospitality sector is dynamic and constantly changing; here the opportunities arrange from direction and reception jobs to food and beverage jobs and housekeeping jobs. According to your skills, knowledge, and ambition, you can choose the type of job that best represents you and your working needs.
Types of Hotels in Japan
The increasing number of tourists has led to an expansion of the hospitality sector. In order to respond efficiently to these tourists, Japan has invented new types of hotels, for example, capsule hotels, to combine with the ones already known, such as Comfort hotels.
Here is a list of the main types of hotel available in Japan:
Comfort Hotels or Western Style Hotels
Typical western-style hotels are known as comfort hotels in Japan. They are guided by major hotel brands, which are known worldwide. This type of hotel provides its tourists every Western comfort they need, such as big rooms, big beds, lounge areas, and so on. However, they are one of the most expensive hotels available in Japan.
Business hotels are primarily directed to workers. They offer fewer services than western hotels, but they also have a lower price. In fact, they are a very affordable option at around 10.000-20.000 yen per night for two persons.
The Ryokan is Japanese style hotels, where the architecture of the building and its room, the cuisine, hospitality, and service fully reflect ancient Japanese traditions. The ryokans offer foreign tourists the best opportunity to personally experience the millenary traditions of Japan. Throughout Japan, there are thousands of Ryokan. However, the greatest concentration of these accommodations is in Kyoto and Nara, in the areas where the most famous spas are located, and in the historical cities of Kanazawa and Takayama.
Minshuku is bed&breakfast in Japanese style. They are smaller than Ryokan and they are mainly family-run. They are located nearby spas, ski resorts, and the sea. The bedrooms haven’t a private bathroom but there are shared bathrooms. This type of accommodation is relatively cheap, with prices that range from 5.000 to 8.000 yen per night per person.
Luxury hotels are deluxe five-stars hotels that offer a high-quality range of services to their clients. They are known worldwide and they are mainly located in big cities, such as Tokyo. Some of the most known luxury hotels are the Marriott, Hilton, Intercontinental, Hyatt, and Four Seasons.
Ski resorts are hotels located nearby ski areas. They are frequented by international and domestic tourists who love skiing. This type of hotel tends to hire foreigners for the winter ski season and the summer season, which are the periods most frequented by international tourists.
Shukubo is Buddhist temple where you can sleep. Japan is full of temples; however, just some of them offer the possibility to stay there. The most famous area is Mount Koya, where there are 120 temples, 60 of which offer tourists the possibility to sleep and follow the activities carried out by the monks.
Love hotels are hotels that provide more privacy to lovers and couples. They differ from the other hotels because they offer rooms per hour. These hourly hotels offer only double rooms from a minimum of 1 hour to a maximum of 3 hours during the day and for the whole night from 22:00. Some cities have entire districts dedicated to love hotels; for example in Tokyo, in the Shibuya district, there is the Love Hotel Hill, where there are dozens and dozens of love hotels. You can also stay in one by yourself if everything else is booked.
Capsule hotels are one of the most characteristic and cheapest accommodations in Japan. They are literally capsules. They are mainly located in big cities, such as Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka, nearby metro or train stations. The capsule hotels are primarily designed to accommodate workers and business people who, after being late for work, simply prefer to sleep in the area rather than go home.
As you can imagine, these types of hotels are really different from each other and only some of them tend to hire foreigners and/or non-Japanese speakers. Among the types that hire foreigners, there are Comfort Hotels, Ski Resorts, and Luxury Hotels. These hotels are characterized by an international clientele and offer services in English. On the contrary, Ryokan, Minshuku, and Shubuko have mainly Japanese staff and a domestic clientele. Foreigners go to these hotels just in case they are well recommended on TripAdvisor or similar websites.
Types of hotel jobs in Japan
As you can see, there are many types of hotels in Japan and many of them are open to hiring foreigners. For these reasons, you can find many hotel jobs in Japan. The type of jobs available differs according to the type of hotel you would like to work for. For example, luxury hotels need more staff in reception and in food and beverage; instead in Minshuku, there are less of these positions.
Here is a list of some of the hotel jobs you can find in Japan, divided between 4 main areas:
First area: Management
Between the jobs related to management, there are:
General Hotel Manager
The Hotel Manager is responsible for the management, organisation, and development of a hotel. He or she manages the hotel in all its aspects: the economic resources, the staff and the services offered. His/her main duties are: achieve the economic and sales objectives, guarantee the standards of service for the guests, and manage costs.
This job profile is presented in hotels with at least four-starts. He or she is responsible for managing relations with large clients, resolving complaints, and coordinating staff within the various teams, with the supervision and support of the general hotel manager.
Second area: Reception
Between the jobs related to reception, there are:
Receptionist or Front Office Clerk
The receptionist is in charge of welcoming guests, offering information and suggestions regarding the accommodation. From an organisational point of view, he/she checks accommodation availability by registering reservations. This figure is constantly in touch with the clients and must have good communication and language skills.
Back Office Clerk
Whereas the front office carries out operations in direct contact with the client, the back office carries out internal management operations. These operations include secretarial activities, bureaucratic management of human resources, and economic management of the hotel.
Portier or Concierge
The hotel concierge takes care of the first reception of guests in a hotel. He or she (even if this figure is mainly occupied by men) greets guests on arrival, picks up luggage and personal effects, coordinates the porterage service, and takes care of the parking of guests' cars. This job profile is mainly presented in luxury hotels.
The bellhop takes care of bringing the guests' luggage into the rooms. As for the Concierge, this role is mainly occupied by men, as it requires physical strength. You can find this type of job mainly in luxury hotels, comfort hotels, and ski resorts.
Third area: Housekeeping
Between the jobs related to housekeeping, there are:
The position of a maid is usually occupied by women. A maid is responsible for the cleaning of the hotel rooms. Every day, she cleans each room, makes the bed, changes the towels, and so on. Once a client finishes his/her stay, she sanitizes the whole room for the next client.
As for the maid, this position is usually occupied by a woman. The laundry officer is responsible for all laundry services. She ensures that all laundry services within the hotel meet the highest quality standards.
Fourth area: Food and Beverage
Between the jobs related to food and beverage, there are:
Food and Beverage Manager
The Food & Beverage Manager manages all the activities related to catering. The Food & Beverage manager is responsible for ensuring that the hotel's image is respected. His/her main activities are budget definition and cost control; control of the quality of the products; control of the hygiene; storage and consumption of food and beverages.
The executive chef is responsible for whatever happens within the hotel’s kitchen. He/she is expected to have a high-quality cuisine. He/she decides the menu, coordinates the team, assigns each member of the team his/her dish, and supervises the entire work.
A waitress is a person who serves the menu to the hotel’s clients. He/she is the person who shows his/her face and who has to answer customers if something goes wrong. In addition to serving the dishes, he/she also takes care of the customer.
The sommelier is a wine professional, responsible for the selection and service of wines. The main competence of a sommelier is the wine tasting: he is able to carry out an organoleptic analysis of the wine, he knows how to evaluate the type, the chromatic tones, the qualities, the olfactory characteristics, the state of preservation. This job profile is mainly presented in luxury hotels.
The Barman prepares and serves drinks in hotel and nightclub bars. He or she plays an important role as he works closely with customers. In addition to preparing cocktails and long drinks, he takes special care of their presentation.
Skills needed for Hotel Jobs in Japan
In order to enter into the world of hoteliers, you should develop several skills and knowledge. These skills change according to the type of job you are looking for. These skills range from practical skills, such as computer skills and Japanese language skills, to personal skills, such as communication and teamwork skills.
Here is a list of some of the most important skills you must have if you want to find hotel jobs in Japan:
Nowadays, information technologies are part of our everyday life and they touch almost every type of job. Also, hotel jobs have to face them. For example, reception jobs use computers to register clients who arrive and leave. Moreover, the food and beverage manager uses computers to make a list of what he needs to buy and what is in the pantry.
Japanese Language Skills
Another useful skill you should have in order to find hotel jobs in Japan is the knowledge of the Japanese language. As you will be constantly in touch with clients, you should be able to speak at least the language of the country you are working in.
If you want to improve the knowledge of this difficult language, here is an article on how to learn Japanese based on your starting level.
If you already have Japanese basic knowledge and you want to become fluent in this language, you should read the BFF Tokyo article about How to Reach Advanced Level Japanese and Beyond.
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English Language Skills and others
Certainly, the knowledge of the Japanese language is not enough. In a hotel, you will work with people from all over the world. For this reason, knowledge of the English language is essential. You will not find a job in a hotel if you are not fluent in English. Furthermore, knowing other foreign languages, apart from English and Japanese, will be an added value. Other most in demand languages in the tourism industry are Asian Languages because of the territorial proximity, such as Chinese and Korean, and some European languages because of the importance that Japan has recently acquired, such as Spanish and German.
This is a must-have for any hotel jobs. In a hotel, you will be constantly in touch with people and you will be expected to be able to communicate efficiently with them. This means that you must listen to the client’s problems, understand their needs, and then be able to answer their requests and needs correctly. The way you behave and communicate with the clients will influence the client’s decision of coming back to your hotel for future holidays or change location.
The whole hotel works as a unique machine, where every person has his/her duties but also has teamwork duties. The final goal of each member is the clients’ satisfaction and this can be reached only if the hotel staff collaborates. For example, the waitresses should cooperate with the other kitchen members but they should also cooperate with the reception section in order to know how many clients they have, etc. This happens for every job in the hotel.
Time Management Skills
Time management skills are also a compulsory step for having hotel jobs in Japan. Whatever your job within the hotel is, you must respect the time you have for doing that task. For example, maids must clean all the rooms within a certain hour, chefs must prepare the whole menu for midday, receptionists must welcome customers at the appointed time. If one person is not able to manage the time, the whole hotel machine doesn't work.
Problems and unexpected events always happen, in particular working with people. For this reason, problem-solving skills are essential. Working in a hotel, you will have to find a proper solution to your guest’s needs and problems in a rapid time.
Other skills that a hotel worker should have are relationship-building skills, empathy, attention to detail, and so on.
Salaries for Hotel Jobs in Japan
If you want to start a career in a hotel in Japan, you will be surely interested in how much these jobs are paid. It is difficult to say in general how hotel jobs in Japan earn because these include a wide range of jobs. Salaries change according to several things, such as the years of experience, the level of education, the knowledge of the Japanese language, and, in particular, the type of job you are doing.
Here is a list of some hotel jobs in Japan and their earnings, considering the years of experience as a distinctive factor:
Hotel General Manager
A hotel general manager with less than 2 years of experience earns 6 million yen per year. When he or she reaches 5 years of experience, he/she can earn 8 million yen per year. Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 11/12 million yen per year. At the end of the career, a hotel general manager can expect to earn 16/17 million yen per year.
A receptionist with less than 2 years of experience earns 1/2 million yen per year. When he or she reaches 5 years of experience, he/she can earn 2.3 million yen per year. Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 3 million yen per year. At the end of the career, a receptionist can expect to earn 4.3 million yen per year.
The general salary of a hotel maid or housekeeper can vary from 1.6 million yen per year to 3.4 million yen per year. In this case, the change in salary based on experience can vary significantly according to the location of the hotel and on its career field. For instance, a hotel maid working in a luxury hotel in a well-known resort will gain a higher income than a hotel maid working in a business hotel near a metro station.
An executive chef with less than 2 years of experience earns 2/3 million yen per year. When he or she reaches 5 years of experience, he/she can earn 3.4 million yen per year. Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 4/5 million yen per year. At the end of the career, an executive chef can expect to earn 6/7 million yen per year.
A barman with less than 2 years of experience earns 1.4 million yen per year. When he or she reaches 5 years of experience, he/she can earn 2 million yen per year. Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 2.7 million yen per year. At the end of the career, a receptionist can expect to earn 4 million yen per year.
Where to find hotel jobs in Japan
So where do you find hotel jobs in Japan? What companies hire foreigners?
There are several ways to find full-time and part-time hotel jobs in Japan. One of the most well-known ways is by searching on social networks and job advertisement sites. This is the most useful way for those who don't speak Japanese because the majority of job ads are in English. Here are some examples of sites where you can find hotel jobs in Japan:
- LinkedIn Hotel Jobs
- Indeed Hotel Jobs
- Glassdoor Hotel Jobs
- Rikunabi Hotel Jobs
- JobsinJapan Hotel Jobs
- GaijinPot Hotel Jobs
- Daijob Hotel Jobs
Other useful links to find part-time jobs in Tokyo are:
Here you can find some positions in Niseko and Okinawa:
- Niseko/Okinawa Hotel Permanent and Seasonal Positions
- Niseko/Okinawa Hotel Season Positions- Front Desk Receptionist
- Hotel Okinawa HYATT Room Careers
- Hotel Okinawa HYATT Guest Service Staff
The second way to discover the full-time or part-time jobs in Japan is by looking at the website of the companies you are interested in. Many companies have within their websites a specific section dedicated to new candidates. This is usually called “work with us”, “join our team” or “career”. Here they publish their job offers and available positions. Otherwise, they give you the possibility to send your CV as a spontaneous application.
Finally, if you are interested in finding hotel jobs in Japan, you can enroll in some recruitment agencies. A recruitment agency helps people find a job. In Japan there are more than 100 recruitment agencies, so you can have a wide range of options. This latter way would only appeal to management roles.
Here is a list of some recruitment agencies you can enroll in:
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Education for Hotel jobs in Japan
As for salaries, it is difficult to describe a unique path that people can follow in order to find hotel jobs in Japan, as this sector includes activities really different from one to another. An essential step for the majority of hotel jobs in Japan is the knowledge of the Japanese language, as you will spend much of your time talking with clients and the other staff. You can decide to enroll in the Japan Switch school. This is a Japanese school based in Tokyo, with more than 200 students. It is the cheapest Japanese school in Tokyo.
Here is a list of some different steps related to the type of jobs you are interested in:
Education for Hotel Management Roles
Considering the management roles, such as hotel general manager, vice director, food and beverage manager, they need an in-depth understanding of the management strategies and tools, and a great ability to manage human resources. For these jobs, you could decide to follow two different paths. Firstly, you could follow a Bachelor’s degree in hospitality or related fields and, if you have the possibility, also a Master’s degree. Secondly, you could decide to enroll in the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo. The school was established in 1972 and it is aimed at preparing young high school graduates to start a great career in the world of hospitality and tourism industry. However, if you want to enroll in this school, you MUST know the Japanese language.
Education for Chefs
If your desire is to work within the hotel kitchen, you should enroll in a culinary school. In this school, you will learn all about Japanese cuisine and food, cuisine strategies and techniques, and know how to prepare Japanese and international dishes. Here is a list of some Japanese culinary schools:
- Japan Culinary Institute
- Nakamura Culinary School
- Tokyo Sushi Academy
- Le Cordon Bleu
- Hattori Nutrition College
Education for Sommeliers
If you love wines and want to make them your profession, the best way is to enroll in a sake school. This school teaches you how to check the quality of a wine, how to evaluate its quality, and how to serve and present them in a captivating way. Here is a list of some Japanese sake schools: