Published: 15 May, 2015  |  Last updated: 15 May, 2015

Teaching English in Ginowan Shi, Okinawa, Japan

Ginowan Shi, Okinawa, Japan


Report submitted on 15 May, 2015 by Joanna.

Teaching English in Okinawa, Japan:

How can teachers find teaching jobs in Okinawa, Japan?
Online or through the local community international papers.

The main English teaching jobs available are:
Part time English language school positions, agencies (send teachers to different locations), teaching at private international schools, teaching at colleges / universities, teaching at companies, teaching at community centers, etc., private teaching (not through a school, agency, etc.)

What are the minimum teaching requirements?
BA Degree is the top requirement usually. Also being a “native speaker” is the next draw. Sometimes you can get a job by experience – but you usually have to be living in the country already.

What teaching requirements would you recommend?
TOEIC or TOEFL classes online, a BA Degree.

What are the levels of payment?
Anywhere from US$15-US$100 per hour. Depends on where & who you teach.

How many teaching days a week is normal?
4-6 days per week.

How many face-to-face teaching hours a week is normal?
15-40 hours per week.

What is the normal arrangement for holidays?
Japanese holidays off.

What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Okinawa, Japan to teach English?
Many opportunities. Speak loud & slower than usual, enjoy the time.

What are the positive aspects of teaching English in Okinawa, Japan?
New culture, new atmosphere, fun with young children.

What are the negative aspects for teaching English in Okinawa, Japan?
Shy kids, sometimes not a good curriculum given, long time to get decisions made.

What are some of the teaching challenges for English teachers teaching the local people in your area?
School administrators don’t understand a natural way to teach English. Parents don’t see the importance in their children learning this international language at an early age.


Living in Okinawa, Japan:

Are there any visa or other legal requirements to live in Japan?
Yes, you must have a teaching visa in order to live & teach here.

What is the cost of living like in Japan?
High cost of living … comparable to living in Hawaii, USA.

What are the usual accommodation arrangements and how can you find accommodation?
If the host school offers it, they usually have a “teachers” apt. or they assist the teacher in finding a comparable living accommodation.

Other than teaching, what positive aspects are there for living in Okinawa, Japan?
Clean, safe country, fun learning and seeing a different outlook in life.

Other than teaching, what negative aspects are there for living in Okinawa, Japan?
A lot of the cities do not have help for foreigners – or it may be hard to find help for your children.

What advice would you give to someone considering coming to Okinawa, Japan?
If you are young & single – do it!

What things do you miss most (other than family and friends) from your home country?
Small things, but they aren’t too important. It always goes back to the people we leave behind.

What do you think you will miss most when (or if) you leave Japan?
The friends we have made here, the beach, the laid back atmosphere, clean air.

What things would you recommend to new teachers in your area to bring with them from their home country?
American cookbook, measuring cups & spoons, a small crock pot.


About Me and My Work:

My Name: Joanna

Nationality: American

Students I’ve taught in Japan: Babies (0-2 years), toddlers (2-4 years), pre-school / kindergarten (4-6 years), elementary (6-12 years), university, adults, business.

Where I teach: Integrity English School, Ginowan Shi, Okinawa. Teaching here for 10 years.

How I found my current jobs: Referrals from Japanese friends.

My school facilities: Good – most of our classes are going to preschools to teach classes.

Teacher support at my school: Lesson observations, teacher evaluations, peer support / training.

Do you teach English in Japan?

Tell us about your experiences – click here to submit your report about teaching English in Japan.

5 comments on “Teaching English in Japan – Ginowan Shi, Okinawa”

  1. Greetings Joanna,

    I am an American, currently a contractor on SOFA status in Okinawa. I have lived here for a little more than 2 years, and have recently been TESOL certified. I had previously learned that a TESOL certification was a key element in teaching English here, but I see that it is not in the list that you have given. In your experience, have I wasted my money in getting a TESOL certificate vice a TOEIC or TOEFL equivalent?

    I’m considering teaching as a full-time job, as part of my post-SOFA-status-plan, but it seems that I may not be properly informed at the moment. What are your thoughts?

    Thank you for your time.

    Respectfully sent,

  2. Hey there,
    I’m currently living in Okinawa and was wondering if you have any tips on finding English jobs. Seems like I can only find part time and I’m not sure they’ll hire me as I’m on a tourist visa. Thanks!


  3. Hello!
    My name is Ellie. I have been traveling the world teaching English for the past 1.5 years, but I have 5 years total of teaching experience. I am set on moving to Okinawa and would greatly appreciate any information for schools or families requesting teaching services.
    Thank you so much!

  4. Hello,

    I am currently transitioning out of the military here in Okinawa on May 22, 2016. I have always wanted to teach English as a second language. I currently have a house in Urasoe and will be living here on a marriage visa.
    Any information regarding openings or even helpful advice is much appreciated. Thank you.


    Joshua Lee Bost

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