Working visas only cover the kind of work that requires high level of professional knowledge or skills. It is therefore not possible for foreigners to engage in manual / simple labor "construction workers, hair-dressing, waiter/waitress, etc.", under a working visa, unless they have the visa granted according to the family status "spouse/child of Japanese national, long term resident, etc.".
Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals
In order to stimulate breakthrough innovation in technology and economy, the Government of Japan is keen on attracting so-called Highly-Skilled Foreign Professionals. This is a special visa with more advantages than the standard work visa, designed for talented foreign workers with advanced and specialized skills.
Note that this is a special visa which is still one variation of the work visa; hence it is not possible to apply for this visa without a specific job or job offer from a Japanese sponsoring organization.
Points are awarded according to the applicant's educational and professional background, income and academic achievements based on a Fixed Point Chart Prepared By The Immigration Authorities, and if an applicant can prove that he/she scores 70 points or more, this special visa status is given. The length of this visa is 5 years. The holders of Highly Skilled Visa can have a faster access to Permanent Resident Visa.
Recently, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry "METI", established an information portal website "Open for Professionals", with strong intention to raise awareness of foreign highly-skilled professionals on this matter.
If you think you are "highly-skilled foreign professional", please send e-mail to the: firstname.lastname@example.org , on any question and clarification.
Working Holiday Programmes In Japan
The Working Holiday Programmes are based on bilateral arrangements, intended to make it possible for the youth of Japan and its partner countries to enter each country primarily for the purpose of spending holidays while allowing them to engage in employment as an incidental activity of their holidays for the purpose of supplementing their travel funds.
The programmes are designed to provide the youth with wider opportunities for them to appreciate the culture and general way of life in the partner countries for the purpose of promoting mutual understanding between Japan and its partner countries.
Japan started the working holiday programmes first with Australia in 1980. As of 3rd July 2017, Japan has introduced the programmes with 18 countries/regions.
Note: To participate in the working holiday programmes, an applicant must satisfy several requirements. You can read more details on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan Website.
Japan Association For Working Holiday Makers, provides help and advice to people visiting Japan on Working Holiday Visas and to Japanese youths planning to travel abroad. They also provide working holiday makers with a job referral service. Another important aspect of their work is to promote awareness of the Working Holiday Scheme in Japan.
Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme offers young university graduates a chance to teach in Japan. The program is run by the Japanese government but your employer would typically be a local Board of Education who assigns you to one or more public schools, often deep in the countryside.
No Japanese skills or formal teaching qualifications are required and your airfare is provided. Pay is slightly better than the language schools and, unlike at such a school, if you have a serious problem with your employer you can appeal to the JET program people for help. The JET program also has a small number of positions for international relations or sports coordinators, although these require some Japanese ability.
Foreigners with postgraduate education may be able to find jobs teaching English "or even other subjects" at Japanese universities, which offer better pay and working conditions than the English Conversation Industry.