Teach English Abroad in Kyoto

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A Guide to Teaching Abroad in Kyoto

If profound tranquillity, getting lost in winding alleyways, and observing mysterious traditions is your cup of tea (matcha please!), then Kyoto is your heaven. Kyoto was the imperial city in Japan for over 1000 years, and is the birthplace of tea ceremonies, flower arranging, and the Nintendo. It has a historic atmosphere with a modern twist, providing a great location to discover the rest of Japan. While in Kyoto, you’ll be stocking up on the crazy flavored kitkats, beautiful umbrellas, and a range of Hello Kitty souvenirs—not to mention amazing memories. So, come and teach abroad in Kyoto. Game on!

What you need to know about teaching abroad in Kyoto?

Kyoto is not only the historical capital of Japan, it is also the academic capital. This means there are plenty of teaching opportunities in Kyoto to teach English, other subjects, and even kindergarten. 

Popular ESL jobs in Kyoto. Universities are constantly searching for experienced English teachers to support their students in the development of their English. For those with less experience, or who want more control over their working hours and holidays, there are plenty of private classes in need of teachers. You could either pick up private work independently, or work through an institution. If you want more time to explore Japan, or improve your Japanese, there are homestay programs where for a few hours English conversation practice with your host every day you will be provided with accommodation (and maybe meals). 

Short-term vs. long-term teaching jobs. Due to the popularity of Kyoto as a location to teach English, and the strict visa process, most jobs will expect you to commit to at least a one-year duration. If you wish to teach in Kyoto for only a few months or less, your best approach would be to use an agency or program provider that can match you with short term jobs.

Teaching English vs. teaching other subjects. Teaching English is most popular in Kyoto, but if you have teaching speciality in other subjects, you can find teaching opportunities in math, science, and more. There are several international schools that require qualified teachers and teaching assistants (qualifications are dependent on the job). Kindergarten teachers are also in high demand, as English speaking early education is increasing in popularity. Universities often have jobs advertised, but you will need a strong academic record in the subject.

What is life like for teachers in Kyoto?

Kyoto moves at an altogether different rhythm from futuristic Tokyo. But, for many people, this slow, meandering pace is the perfect setting to base themselves while teaching English in Japan. Days off can be spent exploring the many temples, observing the traditions of Japan, and sampling the delights of Japanese cuisine. Kyoto has plenty of cultural attractions and the advantage of teaching in Kyoto is you will have the time to explore in a relaxed manner. 

For those that like life to move slightly faster, Kyoto can still provide with nightlife, bars, expat events, shopping, and sports. All the amenities you will need can be found in Kyoto, and its small size means it is easy and quick to get from one place to another. 

Kyoto also provides a great location to discover other Japanese cities and islands, as well as the Japanese countryside. Days off from teaching in English in Kyoto can be spent exploring the geisha district and gardens of Kanazawa, the picture-perfect castle of Himeji, or the bustling food scene of Osaka.

GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for international teachers in Kyoto

Festivals. Celebrations in Japan revolve around temples, and as there are over 2,000 temples in Kyoto, there are a lot of festivals happening!  During your teaching abroad in Kyoto watch out for the Yabusame (horseback archery), pottery, and art festivals held in a variety of temples throughout the year. While, the city comes together to celebrate festivals such as Jidai Matsuri, which has a parade of traditional Japanese costumes, Daimonji Fire festival, where huge statues are burnt around the city, and Joya-no-kane, which is bell ringing on new year’s eve.

Manners. Kyoto is the centre of tradition in Japan, and many of its residents like to keep to the Japanese way of doing things, so as a result there can be cultural conflicts. Things to watch out for while teaching in Kyoto, are making sure you are polite when asking maiko (an apprentice dancer in a kimono) and gesiha’s for photos, ensuring you keep to any dinner reservations you may make, remembering not to open the taxi door yourself ( the driver does it), and ( this may surprise you) don’t tip as tipping is seen as highly offensive. Read up online or grab one of the leaflets produced by the local tourism board before you start teaching abroad in Kyoto.

Teaching in Kyoto provides you the time to unlock the secrets of this beautiful city and will take you off on a magical adventure to discover Japan. Kyoto is famous for being beautiful in every season, so come and discover whether it is the blossom of spring, the vibrancy of summer, the colours of fall, or the magic of winter that stays in your heart.

Grab your passport and raise a sake to your new adventure teaching in Kyoto. Read our comprehensive guide to teaching abroad in Japan.

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