Japan: The ultimate destination to gain perspective
An opportunity to enter the growth zone
Do you have the desire to find your purpose and realize the interconnectedness of us all? Stepping
outside of your comfort zone through travel is one of the most proactive things you can do to achieve
Japan is known for its punctual, kind people, diverse island landscapes and superb cuisine. It’s no
wonder the nation is renowned by westerners for being a magical destination that encourages personal
Culture shock refers to feelings of uncertainty, confusion, or anxiety that foreigners may experience
when in new surroundings. Often, culture shock is viewed as undesirable. However, experiencing this
feeling can jumpstart your way to the growth zone.
Of course, exiting your comfort zone is followed by a period of fear and rapid learning. This is why we, A-
Way to Work, are here to support you on your journey.
We secure you a job before you step foot in Japan, where you can gain valuable work experience, fully
immerse yourself in the Japanese language, and experience authentic, independent travel.
We offer a diverse range of placement types. These include opportunities to work in hospitality
(including working at Ryokans, which are traditional Japanese hotels), the culinary arts, ski resorts, and
agriculture. Your placement can range in length from two weeks to one year.
These paid-work opportunities not only allow you to get up close to Japanese culture but also to
financially support yourself while abroad.
A fascinating country
It is commonly said that the ancient and modern coexist in Japan. In the cities, neon lights combine with
historic temples. Japan is home to more than a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the birthplace
of sushi and many martial arts. Kimonos and traditional tea ceremonies mix with anime, manga, world-
renowned street style, and cutting-edge technology.
Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. This is thought to be the result of Japan’s cultural
affinity for passivity and non-violence. It is no surprise that a key function of police officers is to provide
directions to lost tourists and locals alike.
The food culture in Japan is based on love and respect for the culinary arts. From neighbourhood ramen
shops to high-end gourmet restaurants, Japan offers awe-inspiring dining experiences at every price
range. Explore depachika (department store food halls) or splurge at the counter of a shokunin
(sushi master) for a bonafide Japanese experience.
We take care of the logistics
With the A-Way to Work Program, you have various options for your work experience in Japan through
a Working Holiday Visa. We offer several unique opportunities to meet your needs in the hospitality
Work at a ryokan
A ryokan is a traditional Japanese-style inn that usually features tatami floors, sliding doors and wall
cabinets. Ryokans are of high standard and host Japanese and foreign tourists. Guests sleep on tatami
mats which are rolled out every night by hotel staff and stored in the daytime. The minimalist rooms
typically only have a narrow table where traditional Japanese breakfast and dinner are served. Ryokans
have an average of 14 rooms. Often, there are no en-suite bathrooms in the rooms. Instead, there is a
large communal bathing area fed by volcanic hot springs called an onsen.
To begin this placement, you must have conversational Japanese language skills. If your language skills
are not at this level, you can spend one month in Tokyo attending intensive Japanese language lessons
before your placement.
The ryokan you work at will arrange your accommodations. Accommodations are typically off-site and
can be dorm-style or single rooms. Meals are typically provided at the ryokan.
Your tasks may include housekeeping, assisting in the kitchen, preparing tables and serving meals,
welcoming guests, and servicing the onsen. You will be able to declare your preferred type of work
before beginning your job.
Working at a ryokan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live like a local in Japan. This work placement
will give you the ultimate opportunity to learn about Japanese culture, provide exceptional service, and
be immersed in the Japanese language.
Work at a ski resort
In the northern mountainous regions of Japan (for instance, Hokkaidō and Tōhoku), we offer a variety of
placements in ski resorts. In the wintertime, you could work as a ski or snowboard instructor. In the
summertime, you could instruct mountain biking, tennis, pilates, yoga or archery. Alternatively,, you
may prefer to work as a hospitality staff member (a receptionist, server, kitchen assistant, or
housekeeper), a guest entertainer, or in childcare. Appropriate experience is required for placements
other than a hospitality staff member.
In these resorts, the winter season is from mid-November to mid-April and the summer season is from
June to October. Ski resorts in Japan are celebrated for their magnificent powdered-covered slopes in
the winter and vibrant culture in the summer.
Because these resorts have about 40% foreign, English-speaking guests, these placements do not
require you to have Japanese language skills. Still, having some proficiency in Japanese would be
beneficial. Most of these foreign guests are from Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, China and Europe.
Your accommodations would consist of a single high-standard resort room with a shared bathroom at a
significantly reduced price. Additionally, you will receive subsidized meals from the employee canteen.
If you already have expertise in one of these areas or do not feel comfortable working entirely in
Japanese, this is the opportunity for you! You will surely fall in love with the picturesque Japanese
Other placement options
We also offer placements on farms in Japan. These placements present a valuable opportunity to see a
different side of agriculture. The Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement is evident in Japan’s
In Japan, smaller farms are often family-run. On farms of this size, you would live with a host family and
have meals provided by them. Sometimes, even tourists visit these small farms.
On larger farms, employees often live in a staff house, cook their own meals, or use a staff canteen.
Here, you may encounter agriculture students doing an internship or working on research.
Doing a placement on a Japanese farm is the ultimate way to expand your western understanding of
agriculture. Japanese language skills are required for farm placements.
Begin your journey
As a travel destination, Japan is both fascinating and intimidating to Canadians. However, don’t let the
fear factor stop you from discovering the wonders of Japan.
We work with trusted partners in Japan to ensure that you are supported through every step of your
work-travel experience. Additionally, we will guide you through the process of customizing your trip. We
encourage you to make the most of your Working Holiday Visa by taking some time to explore the
country before or after your work placement.
Contact us today to begin your journey!
Contributed by Olivia Grandy, A-Way to Work summer intern