The 4 Best TEFL Courses in Japan

by Mar 26, 2019

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Famed for its blend of old and new, Japan is a popular destination for TEFL training and teaching. When it comes to TEFL courses in Japan, almost all are are based in Tokyo or Kobe, both of which afford plenty of ESL job opportunities. Tokyo is often described as a modern-day utopia, where trains run on time and everything is accessible 24 hours a day. Kobe has the hidden secrets of old Japan as well as the vibe of a modern and bustling city. From thousand year old temples and unspoilt hiking trails to thriving shopping malls and night time hotspots, Japan is a great place to both live and study in.

Whether you plan on teaching in Japan post-course, or you have another country in mind, enrolling in one of these international accredited TEFL certificate courses is a great place to start you new ESL teaching journey. As part of their programs, these providers offer support and guidance within the global ESL job market to help you get into your first classroom.

Here we break down the various TEFL programs Japan has to offer in the hope it will help you take that first step towards your dream ESL teaching job!

How We Evaluate the Courses

Curriculum – this is an essential element to consider when choosing a TEFL program. We look into the modules and sessions offered by each provider to ensure you’re fully prepared as an ESL teacher.

Support – we read up on the support each program provides. TEFL courses are renowned for being intensive so we believe good support is vital to your success.

Reputation – we want to make sure you receive the best TEFL experience Japan offers, so we evaluate the above and the overall package provided by each program.

In a hurry? Here are our top picks:

Best Budget TEFL in Japan: ITTT

Based in Tokyo, ITTT offers teaching experience in a variety of real life settings. They have two decades of training experience in the ESL world, as well as great local job market knowledge and good job placement services.

More information & 10% off

Best Overall TEFL in Japan: CELTA through Lexis TESOL Training Centre (LTTC)

If a CELTA is what you’re after, LTTC is a strong choice. Based in Kobe, they have rave reviews from former students, all of which felt very competent to begin their ESL teaching careers post-course.

More information

The Top TEFL Certificates in Japan

TEFL International

Accredited through Fairmont State University and validated and moderated by a Board of Academic Advisors (BOAA), TEFL International offers its world-renowned TESOL certification course in Tokyo, the metropolitan center of Japanese culture. They have graduated over 13,000 students and offer incredible job placement support: your future ESL teaching career in either Japan or another far-flung country could be just round the corner.

Curriculum – The website states that the course it is divided daily into two parts. Mornings consist of seminars and workshops focusing on language analysis and teaching methodology. Afternoons center around teaching practice. Completion of lesson planning and written assignments take place out of class.

Support – The trainers have years of experience both teaching and training, and some are still active ESL teachers today. Feedback from past students say that the trainers were professional and competent, as well as passionate and helpful.

Reputation – The reviews are good, with many students feeling the course met or exceeded expectations and the course content was useful and appropriate. Graduates felt that they were confident and prepared to begin their ESL career.

Course Details

  • Location: Tokyo
  • Time commitment: 4 weeks, 120 hours
  • Observed teaching hours: 6+ hours
  • Rigor score: 7/10
  • Price: $2,390
  • Housing: not included, but the school can assist with accommodation
  • Guaranteed job placement: no, but they offer comprehensive job placement services

The Good

  • The course takes place in Katsushika-ku in Tokyo, which is reportedly a great place to live and learn.
  • The program provides good employment security, offering TEFL jobs and personalised job placement services.

The Bad

  • Some former students felt that the course was more focused on the theory and needed more hands on practical training.

Best for: Students who want a more holistic and integrated educational experience, learning how to teach non-English speakers while immersing themselves in the Japanese culture.

More information


Study CELTA

Accredited by Cambridge English Language Assessment and recognized internationally throughout the ESL profession as one of the most prestigious TEFL qualifications, Study CELTA offers a CELTA (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) course in two buzzing Japanese cities, Tokyo and Kobe.

CELTAs are famed for their intensity and academic rigor, but if you’re planning on making a career out of ESL teaching, it could be the course for you. According to the Study CELTA website, many employers in Japan look out for ESL professionals with a CELTA qualification because of its reputation and accreditation by Cambridge.

Curriculum – There are five main assignment focus areas

  • teaching and learning context
  • language analysis and awareness
  • language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening)
  • planning and resources for different contexts
  • developing teaching skills and professionalism.

There is also 6 hours of observed teaching practice, completion of 4 written assignments and the maintenance and completion of a coursework portfolio. CELTA’s rigorous program expects trainees to spend at least 3 hours per evening on lesson preparation, homework, research, reading and writing assignments. Brushing up on your grammar pre-course is also expected.

SupportThe tutors are described as being really helpful and cheerful, always willing to give advice when needed. They are also said to give fast feedback delivery, helping students continuously progress and improve.

ReputationFormer students have said that the course was tough and very intense with high academic standards, but by the end of it they felt confident and well prepared to start or continue their career as an ESL teacher.

Course Details

  • Location: Kobe and Tokyo
  • Time commitment: 4 weeks, 120 hours
  • Observed teaching hours: 6 hours
  • Rigor score: 8/10
  • Price: $2,380 for the Kobe CELTA course. There are no dates or fees currently listed for the Tokyo CELTA course
  • Housing: not included, but the school can assist with accommodation
  • Guaranteed job placement: no, but you receive job placement guidance. They sign you up for free to their TEFL jobs website, teflwork.

The Good

  • Being CELTA qualified is considered one of the best qualifications an ESL teacher can have and it opens the door to a huge range of job prospects.
  • Kobe is widely considered the heart of ESL in Japan, and both cities have a variety of opportunities for work and professional development post course.

The Bad

  • You’ll be busy and your evenings and weekends will be taken over by lesson planning and homework. This means you may not have much time to explore Japan during the program.
  • You need to be prepared to work for your CELTA – it’s an intensive and challenging course. But the benefits are boundless.

Best for: Students who know they want to make a career out of teaching English abroad and have access to a variety of work opportunities and development in the ESL world, both in Japan and worldwide.

More information


ITTT

ITTT has a training center in the energetic metropolis of Tokyo, a city offering excellent post-course opportunities for ESL teaching in Japan. Providing TEFL courses since the 1990s and accredited through Fairmont State University, ITTT are well placed to provide the latest information on the local job market as well as life long job placement guidance.

Curriculum – The course is divided into 6 main areas

  • teaching practice
  • foreign language experience (to reflect on the experience of being a learner)
  • language awareness (grammar and phonology focus)
  • student profile (working with an individual student)
  • teaching techniques (from classroom management to reading and writing skills)
  • materials project (creating a set of materials).

Support – According to the ITTT website, all of its courses are taught by highly qualified TEFL professionals, who have many years of both teaching and training experience. Former students rave about the tutors, meriting them on their passion, ability to deliver ‘top-notch’ education and build confidence.

Reputation – The reviews are pretty good, with the course praised for being dynamic and having a good balance of theory and practical. The experience gained teaching real students in a variety of settings made graduates feel well prepared for their post-course teaching.

Course Details

  • Location: Tokyo
  • Time commitment: 4 weeks, 120 hours
  • Observed teaching hours: 6 – 10 hours
  • Rigor score: 7/10
  • Price: $2,390
  • Housing: not included, but the school can assist with accommodation
  • Guaranteed job placement: no, but you receive lifelong job placement guidance

The Good

  • Gaining experience teaching real students in a range of settings, from preschools to universities.
  • They are said to have an excellent track record with job support.

The Bad

  • Some former students felt that the company could have provided more pre-course instruction and information on what to expect.

Best for: Students wanting to gain experience teaching real students in a variety of settings.

More information

Lexis TESOL Training Centres

Lexis TESOL Training Centre (LTTC) in Kobe offers a full time CELTA course. The Cambridge CELTA is the world’s most recognised English language teaching qualification and is an essential first step for those looking for a career in ESL teaching. Many employers in Japan, and worldwide, look out for ESL professionals with a CELTA qualification because of its great reputation.

LTTC is part of the international Lexis Group, providing language training to thousands of students every year. At LTTC, they pride themselves on offering quality teacher training options to suit all prospective teachers, as well as recruitment options. LTTC’s affiliate school, Lexis Japan, runs English language classes in Kobe.  Lexis Japan also provides support services for LTTC graduates seeking work at other schools and in other locations in Japan.

CurriculumThe course follows the Cambridge CELTA syllabus and there are five main assignment focus areas:

  • the teaching and learning context
  • language analysis and awareness
  • language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening)
  • planning and resources for different contexts
  • developing teaching skills and professionalism.

There is 6 hours of observed teaching practice, 6 hours of observing professional ESL teachers, completion of 4 written assignments and the maintenance and completion of a coursework portfolio. CELTA’s rigorous program expects trainees to spend time outside of class on lesson preparation, homework, research, reading and writing assignments. Brushing up on your grammar pre-course is also expected.

Support – The website states that it offers a level of pastoral care, academic support and student services guaranteed to make your time in Kobe the very best that it can be. It’s also a school small enough for every student to be known by name, making the course feel personable.

Reputation – Former students felt the course exceeded expectations in all areas, being well structured, clearly and efficiently delivered, and challenging without being overwhelming. Even those without any prior teaching experience felt that the practical side of the course gave them the confidence to start their new ESL chapter.

Course Details

  • Location: Kobe
  • Time commitment: 4 weeks, 120 hours
  • Observed teaching hours: 6 hours
  • Rigor score: 8/10
  • Price: $2,400
  • Housing: not mentioned on the website
  • Guaranteed job placement: no, but they offer job support and recruitment options

The Good

  • Having a CELTA qualification will put you in pole position in the TEFL job market.
  • Lessons take place in a newly built school of the highest quality located right in the middle Kobe.
  • Staff speak English and Japanese, and are happy to assist you in any of these languages.

The Bad

  • As with any CELTA course, expect an intensive and challenging 4 weeks. You will need to work hard, but then you can reap the benefits.
  • Evenings and weekends will be taken over by lesson planning and homework, so don’t expect much free time to explore Japan.

Best for: Students who want an internationally recognised and prestigious CELTA qualification, studying in a personable school in Kobe, the ESL hub of Japan.

More information

Final Thougths

Choosing the right TEFL course to suit you can be a tricky process, especially when there are plenty to choose from. A good place to start is to think about what you want from a provider. Is it that they are well known and established? That they offer a hands on practical course? Or that they provide good job placement services? It’s down to individual preferences to decide what your priorities are within a provider.

Doing your research is a crucial part of the process. Reviews offer great insider information and first hand experiences, so read up on what former students have to say.

Related: Browse more TEFL reviews here

We hope our guide to the best TEFL courses in Japan will help shed some light on and assist you with your decision making process. We wish you all the best as you begin the next chapter in your ESL story!