It can be really hard to find a job in Japan that’s exciting, has freedom baked right in and offers the chance to earn a decent living — especially if you’re a foreigner. That doesn’t mean that those jobs don’t exist. In fact, there’s a career opportunity available now that fulfills all those requirements and is geared toward foreigners interested in taking it on.
Become a taxi driver with Hinomaru Kotsu
As part of a pioneering initiative to support the growing number of tourists coming to Tokyo as well as an increasingly internationalized population, one of the city’s biggest taxi firms, Hinomaru Kotsu, is looking for foreign residents to join its network of drivers.
As a driver with Hinomaru, you’ll only have to work 11 days per month providing excellent service to a diverse mix of people — from those just arriving in Japan for the first time to locals out and about on a normal day. Sound intriguing? Here are seven reasons why your next job should be driving a taxi for Hinomaru Kotsu.
1. You’ll speak with all kinds of people
First of all, if you’re a people person this is the job for you. Every day you’ll have the chance to meet all sorts of interesting people you wouldn’t normally come across and learn more about their lives — and about Japan in general. It’s also a great chance to improve your language skills as you’ll be able to use Japanese daily.
Every shift you’ll attend a morning meeting, interact with Japanese coworkers and, of course, talk with Japanese passengers. Practice makes perfect and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to train your linguistic muscles.
You won’t just be meeting Japanese people, however. Part of the excitement of this job is being able to drive around passengers from all over the world, like a traveling family from Italy or a couple of American businessman or a famous VIP — you never know who you might pick up!
2. Freedom comes with the job
It sucks being stuck in a stressful office for eight hours a day. As a taxi driver with Hinomaru, instead, you’ll be able to spend your day moving around the city and working at your own speed. Feel like you want to make some extra cash? Just step up the pace. Not quite feeling it today? Go ahead and take it easy. Your work day might be long, but because of the way shifts are scheduled you’ll end up with 233 days off per year. The system is based around working every other day with two days off per week, which adds up to a total of 11 or 12 times a month. It’s even possible to take three to four consecutive vacation days every month!
3. It offers a competitive salary
You might think that taxi drivers don’t make a lot of money, but that’s actually not true. As a driver for Hinomaru Kotsu you could make up to ¥7.8 million a year. It’s a commission-based business so you earn what you work for on top of a base monthly salary of ¥300,000. You’ll always be sure to be able to pay your bills — even on a month where you can’t work so much.
4. Hinomaru Kotsu looks after its employees
Hinomaru really cares about its employees and strives to ensure that they are healthy and happy. Even the bento offered during the training period is deliberately nutritious! The company is very keen for foreigners to join its ranks and already has training and support systems in place to help them ease into the new job. Hinomaru Kotsu has been featured a lot in the news recently, with media catching on to the diverse stories of foreign employees and recent efforts to promote LGBT inclusivity.
Fabiola, a driver from Poland featured on Yahoo News, describes the company as “very open and [a place where] foreigners are indispensible. It’s different from other Japanese companies I’ve worked at. They treat us fairly.”
5. It’s pretty easy to get started
All you have to do is be able to speak good Japanese (around N2 level), have a Japanese driver’s license, be a resident of Japan and, of course, have a positive attitude. No experience necessary. The company provides all the training you need and you get paid, as well as fed, during that period. There’s no need to buy your own car or invest any money. The company will train you on how to drive its cars and use its built-in navigation system. The company also teaches you about local geography and revenue-increasing strategies. The training is provided by former top-selling drivers so you’ll be able to pick up some trade secrets, too.
6. The timing couldn’t be better
With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics right around the corner, there’s never been a better time to start driving a taxi in Japan. By the time the Olympics roll around, you’ll know the city like the back of your hand and be able to transport the influx of tourists — both foreign and Japanese — to wherever they need to go. It’s an opportunity to be a part of the Olympics buzz, as well as earn decent dough.
7. You’ll gain unique experiences in Japan
Last, but certainly not least, is all the awesome experiences you’re sure to have. You’ll be one of the first foreign taxi drivers in Japan all while meeting new people and exploring hidden places in the city every day. Plus, you’ll get to show tourists around the most exciting metropolis in the world and see a side of Japan that you wouldn’t be able to any other way.
Working as a taxi driver isn’t the first job most foreigners think about when they come to Japan — but it’s certainly one of the most unique and exciting. So what are you waiting for? Put the pedal to the metal (but don’t speed!) and check out the job listings with Hinomaru Kotsu.