Apr 10, 2018

Online Side Hustles You Can Do While Living in Japan

While living in Japan as a foreigner, there are little things you can do to earn some kind of credit at least, doing a type of side hustle online. You'll just need some spare time and a computer or smartphone with an internet connection. I'll introduce three techniques that I use, but I'm sure there are tons more.

Use City-Cost.com of course!

If you aren't already aware, City-Cost is a cozy site for foreigners living in Japan to have a community, share experiences, ask & answer questions about life here, plus to review the places they visit. All of these will earn you a little credit, more if the blog articles are on one of the monthly themes. There are occasionally easy surveys which will earn you credit too.

Plus, there is a referral bonus if you get your friends to create an account on City-Cost. If you use my link and write one article for the City-Cost blog, you'll earn 400 points, which translates to 400 yen in credit. My referral link for City-Cost is here. Onegaishimasu!

This is my biggest side hustle right now. I consistently earn at least a couple thousand yen in credit each month, just for blogging and the occasional review when I feel like it. Payment is in Amazon.co.jp credit, so it's only useful if you live in Japan and want to order something online. Of course if you don't live in Japan yet, you can still use the site to ask questions and learn about living in Japan in the future.

In addition, City-Cost sometimes (maybe once a year?) has special campaigns where you can earn prizes in addition to Amazon credit. Prizes I have earned so far include a big box of apples and a Quo card. (Quo cards are a type of gift card that can be used in convenience stores and bookstores. I'll probably share my bookstore stationary haul bought with my Quo card sometime soon.)


This is a survey and product review company, connected with a magazine called Hiragana Times (their now discontinued monthly photo contest won me a little cash as well). e-gaikokujin.com will offer a survey or review only to members who meet the qualifications for that survey, so it might be more lucrative for some age groups, for students, or depending on where in Japan you live? I really don't know.

I have been offered only one survey in a few months. It took me about 20 minutes to complete the survey and as payment, they provide a 500 yen Quo card. The link to register is here (no affiliation).

In general, I turn down requests for surveys online unless it's in return for some kind of credit. I kind of hate them. All of the surveys offered on this site are paid and easy enough to do if you have a little free time.

Online Side Hustles You Can Do While Living in Japan photo

Line Points

I didn't notice this until recently, but if you use Line for messaging already, you can earn points (or free stickers) for adding company accounts to your friends list or watching advertisements, among other things.

That isn't so appealing (especially at 2 points per ad), but there are sometimes ways to get more points for buying products in stores as well. I happened upon some tags attached to tea bottles in a supermarket saying '50 Line points will certainly be awarded.' The idea being, buy the tea, get 50 Line points. Some people had bought tea and taken off the tags, as they probably don't have smartphones or use Line. I grabbed a few of these and got myself 150 points, thinking I could get some cute stickers I'd have to pay for otherwise.

Then I found out Line points can be exchanged for so many things. I had no idea. From gift cards to coupons for a coffee in a convenience store, they translate to about 1 yen per point. It takes a little effort but they are valuable. I might get into this.

The Coca-Cola campaign ended at the end of May 2018, but I'm sure you can find similar campaigns for Line points.

For teaching related side hustles, check here!

Please share other decent online side hustles if you know of them!



What if whales don't communicate with whale calls & they're just farting?


  • genkidesu

    on Apr 16

    I joined up to the survey site, I'd never heard of it before so that's super helpful! I used to do surveys like that back home in Australia...market research type stuff for a few extra bucks here and there, and I find them fun! Wish there were more opportunities like that here, every bit helps!

  • helloalissa

    on May 8

    @genkidesu If you use Line, they have an apps and services section called "Line アンケート" or LINE Surveys. Not all of the short surveys give you points, but it's kinda fun to practice Japanese that way.