A lot of people all across the world show interest in starting a business in Japan. If you are the one living here or a foreigner who also has a similar intent, this article on best business ideas in Japan will be of great help.
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.
The average Japanese has a considerable purchasing capacity. Japan happens to be the third-largest economy in the world after the USA and China. Japan’s per capita GDP (PPP) was at $38,937 in the year 2016 as per data published by the International Monetary Fund.
Most people in Japan have high levels of disposable income. As result, they are more interested to buy 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).
The major industries in Japan are automotive, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel, nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles, and processed foods. As a matter of fact, Japan is the third-largest automobile manufacturer in the world.
All these data and statistics are proofs of the better business-friendly climate in Japan.
30 Small Business Ideas in Japan
Here is a selected list of best unique businesses to start in Japan with low or no investment:
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 a big industry in Japan. Other than a hotel, you can also come with concepts like a ski resort that are not in many in Japan.
7. Language Service School
The demand for individuals knowing Spanish, French, Chinese, Hindi, and other languages. If you have the 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, rich landscapes of Kyoto, The Island Shrine of Itsukushima, Osaka Castle draws millions of visitors from other countries.
If you have the required network and communication skills, starting a tour guide business can be hugely profitable.
Aromatherapists are in good demand in Japan. The average fee for 60 minutes 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 than never 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 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 much 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 the trade, 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.
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. Dance Studio
If someone has the 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.
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 drawing 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 still 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 a Uber Eats Delivery Rider
Uber Eats is looking for more and more delivery drivers and cyclists for supplying food items in all major cities in Japan. This can be a good part-time income for 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
There are many bloggers that make good money writing about Japanese lifestyle, culture, travel destinations, technology, and many more. You can read our guide on How to start a Blog & 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 social media consulting business here.