JET Programme: The best way to get to Japan and how to get the most out of it!

Lots of people ask me the best way to get to Japan.

By far away the best, and cheapest because it’s free, way to get here is on the Japan Government’s JET programme.

It operates in 40 different countries, so you’re probably able to apply where you are, and you spend 1,2 or 3 years working in Japan.

It’s how I came here and is by far and away the best programme, both in the freedom it gives and in how much you get paid.  Yep, it’s a paid gig!

But …. it’s not for everyone!

If you look online though, amongst all the good reviews, you will find a few people complaining about it.

To get the most out of JET you definitely need to be a person with “get up and go” and the ability to make the most of your time.   If you are the sort of person who can’t fill your time and needs someone to tell you what to do every minute of the day, then please do not apply! You’ll just end up being one of the moaners online.  (How anyone can moan about being paid to do nothing, I’ll never know, but hey, if you’re like that then Japan really isn’t for you!)

But if you are the sort of person who takes a totally open day in a foreign land as a chance to create new things, learn new skills and help people all on your own, battling crazy bureaucracy and ulta conservative mindsets without any support, then you are absolutely going to love the JET programme!

And here’s a great book to get you started

If you want to get a picture of what the real JET programme is like, I’d totally recommend this new book by Sam Baldwin called “For Fukui’s sake!”  (Yeah, he was in Fukui prefecture!)

Sam takes what could be a boring experience (seriously Fukui is in the middle of nowhere!) and turns it into a huge series of adventures and experiences.    He had a plan of what he wanted to do before he came (I’d totally recommend writing your goals down too!) and set about meeting the right people to make it come true.

Even in the most inaka  – out of the way – Japan you will find the most amazing people who have done the most amazing things.   And if you take the time to search them out then you can make your Japan experience just as amazing.

If you are interested in the JET programme or working in Japan I’d totally recommend  Sam’s book, it’s a bit of a bargain on kindle, and it gives you a real insight into what the majority of JETs do with their time here!

Be genki,


8 Responses to “JET Programme: The best way to get to Japan and how to get the most out of it!”

  1. Max G. says:

    Why is there a limit of 3 years with the JET Programme?

  2. Richard says:

    It’s actually 5 years now, the idea is that they want high flyers to commit a certain amount of time and then go back home and tell everyone how amazing Japan is!

  3. Barbara says:

    I’m one of those high flyers but they didn’t pick me up, probably because I’m over forty. Damn shame because I’ve met some JET folks and they’re having more fun than I am.

    Also, you said For Fukui’s Sake is available on Kindle. Do you know if I can get Kindle Fire here in Japan? Magazines are expensive and the selection is limited here in the other part of nowhere, but I need them to stay current. How do I get one? Or do you know a magazine-friendly tablet/e-reader that I could use instead?

  4. Leila says:

    This really caught my eye but Sweden wasn’t on the list and I don’t have a bachelor degree =( Is there anyway to go to japan “for free”, to work or study?

  5. Richard says:

    Hi Barbara, ah yes, it crazy how they don’t pick some really amazing people!

    Magazine wise, I use the iPad, it’s brilliant and saves so much space!

  6. Richard says:

    Hi Leila, contact the Japanese Embassy in Stockholm, they have sponsorships and bursaries available to study and work in Japan. They’re really hard work to get, but it’s free if you make it!

  7. mitsuki says:

    I’m a high school student and I want to go japan as soon as possible. Will I be able to go there to study/work? If so, how? JET programme seems like its for people much older than me..?

  8. Richard says:

    Hi Mitsuki,

    Yeah, JET is for after Uni. What you need is a high school scholarship, again ask the Embassy in London and see what they have for you!

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