Japan’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

Japan’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians
Osaka, Japan. Photo by Bagus Pangestu on Pexels.com.

Interested in experiencing life in Japan? You can, with a working holiday visa!

Since 1980, Australia and Japan have had a reciprocal working holiday visa agreement. If you’re an Australian aged between 18 and 30 years old, you could apply for a Japanese working holiday visa which allows you to live and work in Japan for up to 18 months!

This visa is primarily intended for Australians who would like to have an extended holiday in Japan. Working holiday makers are encouraged to visit different parts of Japan, and not to stay more than 3 months in one place. But you are also allowed to work during your holiday, with some restrictions on types of employment.

The visa is initially valid for six months. But Australians have the possibility to request two further six-month extensions, bringing the total maximum stay to 18 months.

Many Australians in Japan work in Japanese ski resorts during the winter or get jobs teaching English. But you’ll have many more options (and find living in Japan much easier and more enjoyable) if you are able to speak some Japanese. For this reason, it would be a great idea to take some Japanese language classes before moving to Japan.

Note that the Japanese government does not allow working holiday makers to work in “bars, cabarets, nightclubs, gambling establishments, and other premises affecting public morals in Japan”.

Kyoto Japan
Fushimi Inari Shrine near Kyoto, Japan. Photo by Brevitē on Unsplash.

This page contains information about Japan’s Working Holiday Visa for Australian citizens. It was last updated on 1 September 2023.

Key facts about Japan

  • Population: Approx. 124 million
  • Official language: Japanese
  • Capital city: Tokyo
  • Largest cities: Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagoya, Sapporo
  • Name of the country in Japanese: 日本 (Nihon or Nippon)
  • Currency: Japanese Yen (JPY)
Sapporo, Japan in winter
Sapporo, Japan during winter. Photo by Matt Graham.

Japan Working Holiday Visa requirements for Australians

In addition to Australians, Japan offers working holiday visas to citizens of countries including New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, France, Germany, UK, Ireland, Denmark, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Iceland, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Sweden, Estonia, Netherlands, Uruguay, Finland and Latvia.

The information on this page applies to Australian citizens. Please check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan website for information applicable to citizens of other countries.

To apply for a Japanese working holiday visa as an Australian citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Aged between 18-30 years old (inclusive) at the time of application
  • Be currently living in Australia
  • Be in good health and “of good character”
  • Have at least AUD2,500 in savings (or AUD3,500 for a couple)

You cannot apply for this visa if you:

  • Will be accompanied by dependent children
  • Have previously held a Japanese working holiday visa

Documents needed to apply for this visa

When applying for a working holiday visa for Japan as an Australian citizen, you will need to provide the following documents:

  • Valid Australian passport and a copy of your passport photo page
  • Visa application form (PDF) (see example)
  • Recent passport-sized photo
  • Flight reservation to/from Japan (if you only have a one-way ticket, you’ll need to demonstrate sufficient funds to buy a return ticket)
  • CV/resume
  • Proposed schedule (PDF) for the first six months of your stay in Japan – you are encouraged to have a detailed plan, and not to stay in the same place for more than 3 months (see example)
  • A letter (signed, dated and at least one A4 page in length) explaining why you would like to visit Japan as a working holiday maker
  • Bank statement/s showing you have at least AUD2,500 in savings (or more if applying as a couple and/or you don’t have a flight booked)

Do not staple these documents together.

There is no cost to apply for this visa.

For more information, see the Embassy of Japan in Australia website.

How to apply for a working holiday visa for Japan

You can apply for this visa in Australia up to 12 months before your intended arrival date in Japan, although we’d suggest applying closer to your intended arrival date.

Lodge your visa application in person at any of the following Japanese missions in Australia, depending on where you live:

It takes a minimum of 5 working days to process the working holiday visa, or longer if additional documents are requested. Once issued, you can travel to Japan.

Shibuya crossing Tokyo
Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, Japan. Photo by Matt Graham.

Arrival in Japan

If you arrive at Narita, Haneda (Tokyo), Kansai (Osaka) or Nagoya (Chubu) international airports, you can collect your residence card on arrival at the airport.

Otherwise, you can apply for your residence card at an Immigration Office after entering Japan and must do so within 90 days.

The working holiday visa is a single-entry visa. If you would like to leave and re-enter Japan while your residence card remains valid, you will need a special re-entry permit. You can apply for this at the airport on departure if you intend to return within a year.

After finding a place to live, you’ll also need to visit the municipal office in your place of residence within 14 days and file an incoming residence/moving-in notification.

The working holiday visa will initially be valid for six months, but you can extend for a further six months. This should be done within three months prior to the visa’s expiry at any Japanese Immigration Office.

Additional resources

If you’d like more information about moving to Japan, the following online resources may be useful:

While best efforts are made to keep this information updated, we do not guarantee its accuracy. If you spot an error, would like to suggest new information to be added or simply have a question, please let us know in the comments and we’ll endeavour to respond or update the article as quickly as possible!

Matt Graham

Matt is the founder of Working Holidays for Aussies. Passionate about travel and always looking for great deals, he believes that gap years & working holidays are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture and gain invaluable life experience. Originally from Australia, Matt has travelled to over 80 countries and has lived in New Zealand, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

8 thoughts on “Japan’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

  1. Hello, I am interested in getting a working visa in Japan. I am 28 right now and turn 29 in June 2023. If I apply for the Japanese working Visa will it be too late to apply once I turn 30?
    Or must I apply BEFORE my 30th birthday?
    Regards, Ryan

    1. No, you can still apply when you’re 30, but you must do it before your 31st birthday. For example, I just turned 30 in February and I am still able to apply for the WHV. I just have to make sure I apply before next year February.

  2. Hello! My partner and I are interested in a working holiday visa. We want to apply as a couple. Do we need to have AUD $3,500 each? Or is it enough for one person to have this in their account if you apply as a couple? Any advice would be great. Thank you

  3. Hi, I turn 31 in August and wondering if i apply before August and get approved for the visa is there a time frame i need to enter the country? Thank you.

  4. Hi,
    I was forced to return to Australia due to COVID-19 in late March 2020 which cut short my working holiday visa in Japan. I have heard of Australians being re-issued working holiday visas if they can prove they returned to Australia due to COVID-19. I’m struggling to find much more information on this and any insights would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks.

    1. We’re not able to help you with this, sorry. I would suggest contacting your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate general in Australia and asking them directly. If you have evidence that you returned to Australia during the pandemic (e.g. a plane ticket or boarding pass from Japan to Australia) you might also wish to provide this.

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