Working as a pharmacist in Japan offers opportunities to pursue your professional aspirations and chances to build a promising future for yourself and your family. In this Visa Library article, we will explain the steps to immigrate to Japan as a pharmacist. Keep reading to learn about the steps to study pharmacy in Japan as an international student.

Can Foreign Pharmacists Work in Japan?

Yes, foreign pharmacists can work in Japan, but they must meet stringent requirements, including passing the national pharmacist examination in Japanese, obtaining a valid work visa, and potentially completing additional assessments or training to align their qualifications with Japanese standards.

How to immigrate and work in Japan as a pharmacist

How to Immigrate to Japan as a Pharmacist?

Let’s answer the question: “How can a pharmacist immigrate to Japan?” Immigrating to Japan as a pharmacist involves these steps:

  1. Understanding the Requirements
  2. Having Proficiency in the Japanese Language
  3. Professional Licensing
  4. Searching for a Job
  5. Applying for a Visa
  6. Settling in Japan

Step 1. Understanding the Requirements

You must prepare all necessary documentation, including your degree certificate, transcripts, course syllabus, and proof of pharmacy practice (if any). These documents often need to be translated into Japanese. You must hold a pharmacy degree. Japan typically recognizes degrees from accredited institutions worldwide. Your degree and educational credentials must be evaluated for equivalency with Japanese standards. A recognized credential evaluation service in Japan does this.

Degree Recognition Process for Pharmacists in Japan

  1. Prepare your documents. All documents must be translated into Japanese by a certified translator. You need to:
    1. Obtain an official copy of your pharmacy degree certificate.
    2. Secure official transcripts from your university detailing the courses you’ve completed.
    3. Collect detailed syllabi or course descriptions that outline the subjects covered, hours of instruction, and practical training.
    4. If applicable, prepare documentation of any pharmacy-related work experience, including internships and residencies.
  2. Identify the regulatory body and submit your documents. The primary body for evaluation is usually the Japanese Pharmaceutical Association.
  3. Submit your translated documents along with any required forms and identification. Depending on the organization’s protocol, this process may be done online or through postal mail.
  4. Pay the fee for degree evaluation. It generally ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 JPY.
  5. The regulatory body conducts an initial review to ensure all required documents are submitted. The evaluation process can often take between 3 to 6 months. This includes a review of your educational background, course content, duration, practical training, and overall academic rigor. The regulatory body may sometimes contact your university or educational institution for verification or additional information.
  6. If your degree is found equivalent to Japanese standards, you will be notified and can proceed with the next steps, such as preparing for the national pharmacist examination in Japan. If gaps are identified in your education or training, you will be informed of the additional requirements, which may include:
    1. Bridging programs to cover the gaps between your education and the Japanese standards. They can range from a few months to over a year.
    2. Practical training to complete a certain period of practical training under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist in Japan.
    3. Passing assessment exams that focus on pharmacy practice, pharmaceutical sciences, and laws related to pharmaceuticals in Japan.

Step 2. Having Proficiency in the Japanese Language

To start working as a pharmacist in Japan, a high level of Japanese language proficiency is essential, as you’ll be dealing with medications and patients directly. Consider passing the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), ideally at the N1 or N2.

Step 3. Professional Licensing

To immigrate to Japan as a pharmacist, you must pass the national pharmacist examination (Japanese medical license exam). To get a pharmacist license in Japan, you may also need to complete a pharmacy internship.

  • This examination is a requirement for anyone wishing to practice as a pharmacist in Japan. The exam is conducted entirely in Japanese.
  • The exam is typically held once a year. It’s usually announced well in advance by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare.
  • The examination is administered at various locations throughout Japan. Candidates can select a preferred location when applying.
  • The exam covers a wide range of subjects, including pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacology, pharmaceutical care, and laws related to pharmaceutical practice.
  • It typically includes multiple-choice questions and may also feature essay-type questions. The format is designed to test both theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

How to Become a Licensed Pharmacist in Japan?

  1. Confirm that Japanese authorities recognize your pharmacy degree. If you have a foreign degree, ensure it has been evaluated for equivalency.
  2. Verify if you meet the language proficiency requirements, as the exam is conducted in Japanese.
  3. Check for any additional legal criteria you might need to fulfill, such as residency status or specific visa types.
  4. Gather your documents, including your pharmacy degree certificate, proof of language proficiency, residency or visa documentation, and personal identification.
  5. Complete the examination (JNPLE) application form online on the Japanese Pharmaceutical Examination Board website or through designated institutions.
  6. Submit the form along with your documents. This can be done online or by mail, depending on the available options.
  7. Pay the fee. The fee for the pharmacist examination typically ranges from 30,000 JPY to 50,000 JPY. This could be through bank transfer, credit card, or other means as dictated by the examination board.
  8. Once your application and payment are submitted, expect a processing period. It ranges from a few weeks to a couple of months.

We discussed possibly needing to complete a pharmacy internship in Japan. It can be required for foreign pharmacist registration in Japan. Who needs it? Those whose degrees are not fully recognized, who lack practical experience as per Japanese standards, or candidates who need to bridge educational gaps to meet the equivalency of Japanese pharmacy education.

The duration of internships typically ranges from a few months to a year. Internships usually encompass pharmacy-related activities, including dispensing medication, patient counseling, pharmaceutical care, and understanding Japanese healthcare systems and practices.

Regarding location, many internships are available in hospitals and retail pharmacies across Japan. Some internships may be offered in academic or research settings, particularly for those focusing on pharmaceutical research. You can apply through universities, hospitals, or pharmaceutical companies in Japan.

Step 4. Searching for a Job

Find a job as a pharmacist in Japan. Websites, recruitment agencies, and professional networks can be useful.

Job Search Websites

  • Jobs in Japan
  • GaijinPot Jobs
  • Daijob
  • Indeed Japan
  • CareerCross Japan
  • Rikunabi Global

Recruitment Agencies

  • Robert Walters Japan
  • Hays Japan
  • Michael Page Japan
  • JAC Recruitment
  • RGF Professional Recruitment Japan

Step 5. Applying for a Visa

To immigrate to Japan as a pharmacist, you must apply for a Japanese work visa. Below are the types of visas and the application process. The most common is the Specialist in Humanities/International Services visa.

Types of Visas for Pharmacists in Japan

  • Specialist in Humanities/International Services Visa. Ideal for pharmacists, especially those involved in research, clinical trials, or other specialized roles. This visa is for those with skills in the humanities or international services, including healthcare professionals.
  • Engineer/Specialist in International Services Visa. This visa category is for you if your role involves more technical aspects, like pharmaceutical research and development.
  • Highly Skilled Professional Visa. Pharmacists with advanced skills and experience offer longer durations and additional benefits. Points are awarded based on professional experience, income, and academic qualifications.

The Japanese Work Visa Process for Foreign Pharmacists

  1. Successfully secure a job offer with a healthcare institution or a pharmaceutical company in Japan. Then, obtain a formal employment contract or letter of offer from your Japanese employer detailing your role, salary, and terms of employment.
  2. Your employer in Japan initiates the CoE (Certificate of Eligibility Application) application on your behalf.
    1. Provide your employer with essential documents, including:
    2. Detailed resume or CV
    3. Copy of your valid passport
    4. Academic and professional qualification certificates
    5. License to practice as a pharmacist (if applicable)
    6. Job description and employment contract
  3. Your employer submits these documents and the CoE application form to the nearest regional immigration bureau in Japan. The processing time for the CoE typically ranges from 1 to 3 months.
  4. Once the CoE is issued, your employer will send it to you.
  5. Apply for a work visa at your home country’s Japanese embassy or consulate.
  6. You need to gather your documents:
    1. Completed visa application form, available at the embassy or online
    2. Your valid passport with enough blank pages for the visa
    3. The original and a copy of the Certificate of Eligibility
    4. Recent passport-size photos
    5. Any other documents the embassy requests, including proof of financial means (Bank statements or a letter from a financial sponsor for around 2,000,000 JPY to 2,500,000 JPY for a year), a detailed itinerary, or a cover letter explaining your visit.
  7. Pay the visa application fee. Visa application fees generally range from 3,000 to 6,000 JPY.
  8. Depending on your nationality, you may be required to attend an interview at the embassy or consulate. The interview assesses your intent and legitimacy for working in Japan.
  9. After your visa application and interview (if required), the embassy processes your application. The processing time post-interview can take a few days to a couple of weeks.
  10. Once approved, your passport with the visa will be available for collection or mailed back to you.

Step 6. Settling in Japan

To immigrate to Japan as a pharmacist, you must take several steps to settle there. For example, you must do the necessary registrations for pharmacists. They include:

  • Residence Registration. Visit the local ward office or city hall in your area of residence. This must be done within 14 days of moving into your new home in Japan. Bring your passport, residence card (Zairyu card), and lease agreement or proof of residence. This registration is crucial for obtaining a Japanese phone number, opening a bank account, and accessing government and healthcare services.
  • Pharmaceutical Association Registration. As a pharmacist, you must register with your prefecture’s pharmaceutical association. Submit your pharmacist license, proof of residence, and potentially additional documents as required by the local association.
  • Ask about the requirements for continuing education to maintain your license in Japan.
  • Social Security and Tax Number (My Number) Registration. You’ll receive a notification to apply for your My Number card after your residence registration. This 12-digit number is used for social security, taxation, and other government-related services in Japan.
  • Health Insurance Registration. Choose between National Health Insurance (if self-employed or unemployed) or Employee Health Insurance (if employed). Register at your local city office for National Health Insurance or through your employer for Employee Health Insurance.
  • Pension Plan Enrollment. It’s mandatory to enroll in the national pension system. Done automatically through your employer or at the city office for self-employed individuals.

Here are other steps to take to settle in Japan:


  • Mizuho Bank
  • Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)
  • MUFG Bank
  • Japan Post Bank


  • Suumo
  • Homes
  • Chintai
  • Realestate.co.jp

Health Insurance

  • National Health Insurance (for all residents, including expatriates)
  • Employee Health Insurance (if employed by a Japanese company)
  • Private Health Insurance (companies like Cigna and Aetna offer plans in Japan)

Tips for Continuing Education and Compliance

  • Stay informed about continuing education requirements to maintain your pharmacy license.
  • Attend seminars, workshops, and training sessions as required.

Integration and Adaptation Tips

  • Continuously improve your Japanese language proficiency.
  • Learn about Japanese customs, etiquette, and societal norms.
  • Join professional organizations or community groups to meet fellow professionals and locals.
  • Familiarize yourself with the work culture and strive for a balanced lifestyle.

Infographic How to immigrate and work in Japan as a pharmacist

Pharmacist Jobs in Japan for Foreigners

Here is a list of pharmaceutical jobs in Japan for foreigners:

  • Clinical Pharmacist
  • Community Pharmacist
  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Pharmaceutical Research Scientist
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist
  • Quality Assurance Analyst in Pharmaceuticals
  • Medical Science Liaison
  • Drug Safety Specialist
  • Pharmacy Technician (if working under a licensed pharmacist)

National Pharmacy Recruiters in Japan

Here are some national recruiters for pharmacist jobs in Japan:

  • RPh on the Go
  • HealthcareLink
  • Pharmaceutical Careers in Japan (PCJ)
  • MediRecruit
  • GMP Pharmaceuticals

Pharmacist Hiring Abroad in Japan

  • Overseas Pharmaceutical Consultant
  • International Regulatory Affairs Manager
  • Foreign Market Analyst for Pharmaceuticals
  • Cross-Border Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Manager
  • Global Pharmaceutical Business Development Manager

Pharmacist Jobs in Okinawa, Japan

  • Community Pharmacist
  • Hospital Pharmacist
  • Clinical Research Pharmacist
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Quality Control Pharmacist
  • Pharmacy Manager
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist
  • Pharmaceutical Consultant
  • Drug Information Pharmacist
  • Compounding Pharmacist

Are Pharmacists Paid Well in Japan?

Pharmacists are generally paid well in Japan, with their compensation reflecting their education, experience, and the specific demands of their roles within the healthcare system or pharmaceutical industry.

Immigrate to Japan as a Pharmacist: Salary

Let’s ask the question: “How much do pharmacists make in Japan?” The annual salary for pharmacists in Japan varies widely based on experience, location, and the specific sector (e.g., hospital, retail, or industrial pharmacy). On average, pharmacists can earn between 6,000,000 JPY and 12,000,000 JPY annually.

Pharmacist Salary in Japan Per Month

Foreign pharmacists in Japan earn about 500,000 JPY to 1,000,000 JPY per month. This can vary with experience and the type of employment. For instance, pharmacists in metropolitan areas like Tokyo or Osaka may earn more due to the higher cost of living and demand.

How Much Does a Pharmacist Make in Tokyo?

In Tokyo, a pharmacist’s salary varies, but on average, they can earn approximately 7,000,000 to 12,000,000 JPY annually. The hourly wage typically ranges from 2,000 to 3,500 JPY, depending on experience, location, and the type of employer.

How Much Do Industrial Pharmacists Make in Japan?

Industrial pharmacists in Japan typically earn between 8,000,000 and 15,000,000 JPY annually. Hourly, this translates to about 3,800 to 7,200 JPY, depending on factors like experience, the specific industry sector, and the company they work for.

How to Become a Pharmacist in the UAE?

Becoming a pharmacist in Japan as a foreigner involves several steps. Let’s break down each step:

  1. Finding a Pharmacy University in Japan
  2. Getting Admission
  3. Obtaining a Japanese Student Visa
  4. Studying Pharmacy in Japan
  5. Internship

Step 1. Finding a Pharmacy University in Japan

Start by researching universities in Japan that offer pharmacy programs. Famous pharmacy universities in Japan include:

  • University of Tokyo
  • Kyoto University
  • Osaka University

Step 2. Getting Admission

  1. Visit the university’s website to find admission requirements and application deadlines.
  2. Prepare necessary documents, typically including academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, and proof of Japanese language proficiency (if the course is in Japanese).
  3. Some universities require entrance examinations, which may include tests of your academic knowledge and Japanese language skills.
  4. Universities will notify you of their admission decision, usually a few months after the application deadline.

Step 3. Obtaining a Japanese Student Visa

After your admission, the university in Japan will apply for a Certificate of Eligibility on your behalf. This is a document issued by the Japanese Immigration Bureau confirming your eligibility to enter Japan as a student. The CoE processing can take 1-3 months. You need to provide the university with the necessary documents, including your passport details, admission letter, financial records, and academic transcripts.

Let’s look at the Japanese student visa application process:

  1. Prepare the following documents for your visa application:
    1. The original and a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility (CoE)
    2. A valid passport for the entire duration of your stay in Japan
    3. A visa application form. It is obtainable from the Japanese embassy’s website or the consulate in your country.
    4. Passport-size photos adhere to the Japan student visa photo size (4 cm x 3 cm).
    5. Bank statements or a financial sponsor letter demonstrate your ability to financially support yourself in Japan. The typical amount required is around 2,000,000 JPY to 2,500,000 JPY per year.
  2. Submit the visa application and the above documents to the nearest Japanese embassy or consulate. After submitting your application, the processing time is usually a few weeks.
  3. Depending on your country, you may be able to book an appointment online or may need to visit in person.
  4. Some embassies conduct a brief interview during the visa application process. The interview typically covers questions about your study plans in Japan, financial status, and post-graduation plans.
  5. Pay the visa application fee. It ranges between 3,000 to 6,000 JPY.
  6. Once your visa application is approved, you will receive your passport back with the student visa stamped inside. Your student visa will generally be valid for the duration of your study program.
  7. Check the visa for any errors and understand the validity period and conditions.
  8. If you need to stay longer than the visa allows, you must apply for an extension at a local immigration office in Japan.

Step 4. Studying Pharmacy in Japan

You must finish your pharmacy studies in Japan. How long is pharmacy school in Japan? The standard duration for a pharmacy program in Japan is six years (including a four-year undergraduate program followed by a two-year graduate program). Tuition fees vary but average around 500,000 to 1,000,000 JPY per year, depending on the university.

Pharmacy program curriculums in Japan typically cover subjects like pharmacology, pharmaceutical sciences, medicinal chemistry, and clinical pharmacy. The curriculum also includes practical laboratory work and clinical practice.

Step 5. Internship

After completing your academic program, an internship might be required to gain practical experience. Internships usually involve working under the supervision of licensed pharmacists in hospitals or pharmacies. The duration can vary but typically lasts for about one year. Internships are offered in various settings across Japan, including major hospitals, community pharmacies, and research institutions.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Pharmacist in Japan?

To become a pharmacist in Japan, it typically takes six years of education – four years for an undergraduate degree, followed by two years in a graduate school of pharmacy. Afterward, passing the national pharmacist examination is required to practice professionally.

Can You Study Pharmacy in Japan in English?

Most pharmacy courses at Japanese universities are conducted in Japanese. However, some universities might offer certain courses or segments of their pharmacy programs in English, especially at the postgraduate level or for specific research areas. It’s advisable to contact universities directly, like the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University, and Osaka University, to ask about any English-taught courses within their pharmacy programs.

Is a US Pharmacist a Highly Skilled Professional in Japan?

Yes, a US pharmacist in Japan could be considered a highly skilled professional, especially if American pharmacists in Japan meet the specific criteria for skills, experience, and qualifications set by Japanese immigration for the Highly Skilled Professional visa category.

Immigrate to Japan as a Pharmacist: Let’s Recap

The Visa Library team taught you how to immigrate and work in Japan as a pharmacist. You learned about the two ways to immigrate to Japan as a pharmacist, the list of requirements, and the procedure you must follow. Also, you got answers to some of your questions.

If you have questions about the procedure and requirements, write them in the comment section. The Visa Library team will answer them.


Are pharmacists considered doctors in Japan?

No, pharmacists are not considered doctors in Japan. They have a distinct role in healthcare.

Can Indian pharmacists work in Japan?

Yes, but they may need to meet specific language and certification requirements.

Is it hard to be a pharmacist in Japan?

The profession can be challenging due to the rigorous education and certification requirements.

Can a foreigner be a pharmacist in Japan?

Yes, with the appropriate qualifications and possibly additional certifications.

Can pharmacists prescribe in Japan?

In Japan, pharmacists primarily dispense medications and provide advice rather than prescribing.

What are pharmacies called in Japan?

Pharmacies are commonly referred to as “yakkyoku” in Japanese.

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