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Best 32 Small Business Ideas in Japan with Good Profit

Japan is known for its rich culture, technological advancements, and bustling economy. The country offers a plethora of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. From traditional industries to cutting-edge innovations, the Japanese market presents diverse business prospects. In this article, we’ll delve into some of the best business ideas in Japan for locals and foreigners.

The major industries in Japan are automotive, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel, nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, and processed foods. Japan is the third-largest automobile manufacturer in the world.

Here is a selected list of the best unique businesses to start in Japan with low or no investment:

32 Small Business Ideas in Japan

1. Start a Translation Agency

Since Japan is an economically developed country, people all across the world visit for business reasons. Another reason is the presence of exquisite tourist destinations in the country. There is always a good demand for translators for the communication needs of foreigners.

2. English Language School in Japan

Nowadays, more and more Japanese people want to learn English. Teaching certification, such as TEFL along with a Bachelor’s degree is preferred. The average hourly rate for teaching English is around ¥3000. It is one of the most popular business ideas in Japan, especially for foreigners.

3. Start a Restaurant

Japanese people are food lovers. Recent studies show people here are more and more showing interest in foreign cuisines. If you live in cities like Osaka, Kansai, and Tokyo, opening a restaurant can fetch you high returns.

4. Practice Alternative Medicine in Japan

Are you an alternative medicine practitioner? Then Japan can be a good place to practice. Herbal and Ayurveda are fast becoming popular in this part of the world.

5. Open a Yoga Studio

Presently you will observe many Yoga studios operating in cities like Tokyo and Osaka. You can start a Yoga studio with specialized English instructors and make good money here.

6. Open a Hotel

The hotel industry is big in Japan. Other than a hotel, you can also come up with concepts like a ski resort that are not in many in Japan.

7. Language Service School

The demand for individuals to know Spanish, French, Chinese, Hindi, and other languages. If you have a network of hiring language professionals, consider starting a language service school in Japan.

8. Start a Tourism Business in Japan

Visitors from all across the globe visit Japan for rich traditional arts, tea ceremonies, calligraphy, and flowers. There are many UNESCO World Heritage sites. Places like Mount Fuji, Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, the rich landscapes of Kyoto, The Island Shrine of Itsukushima, and Osaka Castle draw millions of visitors from other countries.

If you have the required network and communication skills, starting a tour guide business can be hugely profitable.

9. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapists are in good demand in Japan. The average fee for 60-minute aromatherapy session is in the range of ¥4,000-8,000.

10. Fitness Center

The population in Japan is aging. As a result, Japanese people are visiting fitness centers more than ever before. If you are a fitness expert, it is worth considering starting a fitness center here.

11. Open a Hair Salon Business

The hair salon is another beauty-related business that can be a profitable venture in Japan. The total sales value of the hair salon market was around 1.5 million Japanese Yen in the year 2019.

Learn More: How To Start a Beauty Salon Business

12. Real Estate Agency

Japan is one of the few countries in Asia where foreigners can own land and houses. One can start a profitable real estate agency business in cities like Tokyo, Osaka, Nagaya, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Kyoto, and Yokohama.

13. Start a Photography Business in Japan

If you are a photographer and want to start a successful career, Japan can be a good place. Aerial photography using drones is very popular in this part of the world.

Learn More: How to Start A Profitable Photography Business

14. Caring Service for Elders

The business of caring for elders is bound to grow here in Japan as the population is aging fast. It creates a wide scope for elderly care homes to grow. The elderly care business is among the popular business ideas in Japan with low startup investment.

15. Start an Import-Export Business in Japan

The top items that are exported from Japan are petroleum, liquid natural gas, clothing, semiconductors, coal, and audio and visual apparatus. China, the United States, Australia, and Saudi Arabia are the four biggest import partners in Japan. If you have some experience in trade, the import-export business in Japan can be hugely profitable.

16. Start a Food Truck Business

If you are short on budget but want to get into the food business, starting a food truck business is worth considering. However, you must check the local license requirements to operate a food truck.

17. Housekeeping Business

Another low-cost but profitable business to consider in Japan is housekeeping. You can charge more if English-speaking housekeepers are provided for clients here.

18. Daycare Business

In recent times, the daycare business has seen good growth in most cities in Japan. This is because more and more women are going outside for jobs or work. Daycare is one of the most lucrative business ideas in Japan.

19. Business Expansion Consultant

A lot of companies in Japan are looking to expand to foreign countries for business expansion. If you have the necessary expertise, helping businesses to expand globally can be a high-profit business here.

20. Open a Dance Studio in Japan

If someone has dancing skills, there will be no shortage of students for learning in Japan. Presently, you will find many dance studios operating successfully in Tokyo city.

Learn More: How To Start a Profitable Dance Studio Business

21. Sports Coaching

The five most popular professional sports in Japan are baseball, Association football, golf, tennis, and sumo wrestling. There are new sports activities like cricket is also draw much interest in Japan. If you are a sports enthusiast, consider starting a sports coaching school.

22. Start an IT Business in Japan

The IT industry in Japan plays a key role in overall global economic growth. Though the market is highly competitive, still, there are wide scopes for people with new concepts and innovations. However, to be successful you must be backed up by sufficient financial resources to launch a successful IT company in Japan.

23. Pharmaceutical Business

Pharmaceutical is another industry sector that is highly developed in Japan. If you have experience in the industry, consider launching a pharmaceutical startup venture.

24. Open a Distillery

Though the distillery business is competitive, still there is a good scope on a small scale in Japan. If you have the necessary resources opening a distillery can be a money-making venture.

25. Become an Uber Eats Delivery Rider

Uber Eats is looking for more and more delivery drivers and cyclists to supply food items in all major cities in Japan. This can be a good part-time income for the average Japanese to make a sizeable side income.

Home-Based Online Business Ideas in Japan

26. Create Website Designs for Japanese Clients

Japanese website design is different from other parts of the world. If you understand their style, the payment is quite lucrative for web design jobs here.

27. Graphic Design

You can also create logos, banners, brochures, and other graphic design jobs for Japanese clients. The hourly rate is good for this kind of job in Japan.

28. Start a Blog

Many bloggers make good money writing about the Japanese lifestyle, culture, travel destinations, technology, and many more. You can read our guide on How to start a Blog and Make Money to learn more.

29. Launch a YouTube Channel

Opening a YouTube Channel is another potentially profitable online business that can be started with almost no investment from home. If you have a passion for a specific subject and presentation skills, consider starting a YouTube channel.

30. Social Media Consultant

Companies in Japan are always in search of professional social media managers to promote their products and services. If you are an expert in the subject, start a social media consulting business here.

31. Creative Arts and Design

Japan’s rich artistic heritage and contemporary design scene offer opportunities for entrepreneurs in the creative arts and design industries. Whether it’s launching a graphic design studio, opening a gallery showcasing local artists, or creating unique handmade crafts, there is a market for creative expression in Japan.

32. Open a Fintech Company

Japan’s financial sector is ripe for innovation. Hence, there are many opportunities in the fintech industry focusing on payment solutions, blockchain technology, digital banking, and investment platforms. Entrepreneurs can leverage Japan’s sophisticated financial infrastructure to introduce innovative fintech products and services. It is one of the most profitable upcoming business ideas in Japan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Japan a Good Place to Start a Business?

Japan is one of the most developed free-market economies in the world. As per the last World Bank ratings, Japan is ranked 29 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business. Most people in Japan have high levels of disposable income. As a result, they are more interested in buying high-valued and premium products.

One of the biggest advantages of doing business in Japan is the ease of launching a company. It takes not more than 14 days to start a company here in this part of the world. The country has a highly developed integrated infrastructure of roadways, railways, airports, sea harbors, warehouses, and communication facilities. This helps companies in creating a robust distribution mechanism for the delivery of goods and services.

Japan has 5 international airports and more than 20 ports. The two major airports, Tokyo International Airport (HND) and Narita International Airport (NRT) are in the Tokyo region. The Osaka region in Japan is blessed with Osaka International Airport (ITM) and Kansai International Airport (KIX). All these data and statistics are proof of the better business-friendly climate in Japan.

What are the legal requirements for starting a business in Japan?

To start a business in Japan, you’ll need to register your company with the Legal Affairs Bureau and obtain a business license. Additionally, you’ll need to comply with tax regulations, employment laws, and any industry-specific regulations that apply to your business.

How much capital is required to start a business in Japan?

The amount of capital required varies depending on the type and scale of the business. While some businesses may require significant initial investment, others can be started with relatively low capital. It’s advisable to conduct thorough market research and financial planning to determine the capital needed for your specific business venture.

What are the visa requirements for foreign entrepreneurs starting a business in Japan?

Foreign entrepreneurs wishing to start a business in Japan typically need to obtain a business manager visa (Investor/Business Manager visa). This visa allows foreign nationals to engage in business management activities in Japan. Requirements for obtaining this visa include having a viable business plan, sufficient funds, and meeting other eligibility criteria set by the Japanese government.

Is it necessary to have a local partner or Japanese citizen to start a business in Japan?

While having a local partner or Japanese citizen as a business partner can be beneficial for navigating the local business landscape and cultural nuances, it’s not a mandatory requirement to start a business in Japan. Foreign entrepreneurs can establish and operate businesses independently in Japan, provided they meet the necessary legal and regulatory requirements.

What are the common challenges faced by entrepreneurs starting a business in Japan?

Some common challenges faced by entrepreneurs in Japan include language barriers, navigating complex bureaucracy, cultural differences, and competition from established domestic companies. Entrepreneurs need to conduct thorough market research, seek local advice and support, and adapt their business strategies to the unique characteristics of the Japanese market.
Are there government incentives or support programs available for startups in Japan?

Yes, the Japanese government offers various incentives and support programs to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation. These include grants, subsidies, tax incentives, and incubation programs aimed at supporting startups and fostering economic growth. Entrepreneurs can explore these programs through government agencies such as the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and local chambers of commerce.
What are the key cultural considerations for doing business in Japan?

Understanding and respecting Japanese business etiquette, customs, and communication styles are crucial for building successful business relationships in Japan. This includes aspects such as bowing, exchanging business cards (meishi), and maintaining a high level of professionalism and courtesy in business dealings. Building trust and rapport with Japanese counterparts is essential for long-term business success.