Joining an English Conversation School


Joining an English Conversation School is one of the more obvious choices as an English Teacher in Japan. They seem to have more basic requirements for eligibility, yet they all come with different options, salaries and benefits. Generally, the students will be similar across all schools, but your teaching experience could be drastically different. This would be influenced by the teaching method, supporting texts, fellow staff, management and so on.

The main aim of English Conversation Schools is probably obvious to most, you teach conversation or social skills to students. However, this is not the limit of your lessons, as you will also explain grammar and vocabulary, provide error correction and feedback. You will also participate in role plays with students and assign homework. There may also be the odd student who comes from a business background. The biggest challenge is perhaps customising your approach. Not only different students but different competency levels too.

English Conversation Schools are called 英会話 (えいかいわ or eikaiwa) in Japanese. This is also another common reference or term that people use.

Ultimately, you need to make a decision about which one you feel is the best for you. Some of the options are as follows:

Interested in other options? You can check out our complete post on English Teaching options in Japan.


Nova is one of the larger providers that exist in Japan, with over 300 locations across the country. Especially in all the major rural cities of Japan, and main districts throughout Tokyo and the larger cities. They provide both one-on-one and group lessons for adults and children. All positions are full-time roles.

They also have recruitment offices globally in London, Vancouver, Tokyo and Osaka. Eligible candidates can also apply for visa sponsorship.

Nova can assist with housing for employees if required, they also provide initial training to all new staff. All training materials are created in-house. They also provide ongoing training and skilling seminars for their teachers. Teachers also have access to discounted Japanese lessons through the school.

You can out more information about Nova on their website. You might also be interested in reading about working at a Nova English Conversation School here.

If you’re interested in our FAQs Section, you can check our Life in Japan FAQ or our Exploring Japan FAQ.


Gaba has 40 learning studios across Japan, including main areas like Kanto (Tokyo), Kansai, Hokkaido, Kyushu and more. They are more focused on one-on-one lessons, with students ranging from junior high school students all the way to adults. Teachers are hired on a contract basis. On a contract, you have more flexibilty in chosing your schedule and availability. However, you will notice peak times are schewed mostly to outside working hours.

Recruitment events are held regularly in the UK and Canda in major cities like London, Vancouver and Toronto. Eligible candidates can also apply for visa sponsorship.

Gaba provides an hourly rate for all lessons completed, and they provide initial and ongoing training to all instructors. They also have a sister school which provides ongoing Japanese language lessons for teachers. Teachers will need to find their own housing before starting with Gaba. However, Gaba can provide a list of providers to help find an apartment.

You can out more information about GABA from their website. If you’re interested in working here you should read our insight into working for one of Gaba’s Schools.


ECC has about 180 locations throughout Japan, including Kanto, Kansai and Kyushu. They provide lessons for both children and adults, generally within a group setting. All roles are full-time.

They have recruitment offices in the main cities of Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. They also hold regular recruitment events in these cities too. Eligible candidates can also apply for visa sponsorship.

ECC provide initial and ongoing training to teachers. They also provide compensation for an initial flight to Japan for successful applicants.

For more information, you can visit the ECC website.


AEON has schools located in each of Japan’s 47 prefectures, and they cater for all age levels. Classes are available for infants, all the way up to adults, and you could teach both group or one-on-one classes. All roles are full-time.

They have recruitment offices in Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York, but also accept online applications. Eligible candidates can also apply for visa sponsorship.

AEON provide initial and ongoing paid training to all future teachers. They provide a single occupancy apartment with subsidised rental costs of 55,000 yen to every teacher. Plus, they offer up to 70,000 yen to cover a teacher’s initial flight to Japan. There are several career paths available for AEON teachers too, including management, training and recruitment.

For more information, you should check out the AEON website.


Berlitz is another provider with over 60 locations across Japan, mainly focused in the Kanto and Kansai areas. They generally provide one-on-one lessons to teens and adults. Additionally, some group and children’s classes conducted depending on the language centre. Teachers are generally hired on a full-time basis, but part-time and per lesson contracts are also available.

Berlitz does not have any global offices, but prospective candidates both domestic and international can apply online. Eligible candidates can also apply for visa sponsorship.

Teachers receive initial training and must pass an initial lesson demonstration before commencing initial employment. They also receive ongoing training on the job. They also make their own materials in-house. However, with some higher level students there is more room to improvise. Teachers need to find their own housing.

For more information, you can check the Berlitz website. If you’re interested in reading about working at a Berlitz Conversation School check out our post.

Shane English School

Shane’s has been operating in Tokyo, Japan since 1977, and it continues to operate mainly in the Kanto region. It has grown to over 200 stores across Japan. Classes consist of about 50% children and 50% adults, from group classes to private too. As a teacher, you will usually be on a full-time contract. Especially, if you want sponsorship. However, there is some flexibility for existing visa holders.

Recruitment occurs online, and they are seeking teachers from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK and the US.

Teachers will receive initial and ongoing training. Shanes produce their own materials, however, teachers can sometimes recommend their own materials too. Teachers are also eligible for up to 6 weeks holiday each yea. This include spring, summer and winter vacations.

For more information about the recruitment process, you should check out their website.

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