Imagine an opportunity that’s more than just a stint—it’s a stepping stone to a future adorned with success. Internships offer a hands-on platform where classroom knowledge transforms into real-world skills, bridging the gap between theory and practice.

In particular, internships in Tokyo aren’t just about being present; they’re about standing out, excelling, and leaving an indelible mark. Read on and prepare to excel, shine, and embark on a transformative adventure that promises to reshape your future like the dazzling skyline of Tokyo.

1. Respect Punctuality

In Japanese culture, being on time is highly valued and considered a sign of respect and professionalism. Adhering to punctuality shows your dedication and reliability and helps build trust and credibility among colleagues and superiors.

To excel as an intern in Tokyo, planning and preparing ahead of time is important. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the commute routes and transportation options to the workplace. Research the expected travel time and factor in any unforeseen delays to ensure you arrive early.

Additionally, it is advisable to set reminders and allocate ample time for necessary preparations in the morning. These arrangements include preparing your work materials, dressing professionally, and having a well-balanced breakfast, allowing you to leave for work comfortably without feeling rushed.

2. Navigate Communication Styles and Hierarchy

Japanese business culture strongly emphasizes respect, formality, and hierarchy. Knowing the proper language and honorifics used when communicating with different individuals is important.

Addressing colleagues and superiors by their appropriate titles shows respect and acknowledges the organization’s hierarchical structure. Take the time to learn and use honorifics such as “-san” (Mr./Mrs./Ms.) or “-sama” (a more respectful form of address) when interacting with others.

It is also important to be attentive to non-verbal cues and expressions while communicating. In Japanese culture, non-verbal communication is often as important as spoken words. Pay attention to facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice to gauge meaning and sentiment accurately. Being mindful of these cues allows for better understanding and effective communication.

3. Dress Appropriately

To dress appropriately as an intern in Tokyo, it is important to understand the expectations regarding professional attire. Formal business wear is typically expected in Japanese offices, such as suits or conservative dresses for women and suits with ties for men. It is advisable to be more formal rather than casual when in doubt.

Ensure that your clothing is clean, well-pressed, and in good condition. Pay attention to details such as ensuring your shoes are polished, your clothes fit well, and any accessories are minimal and tasteful. Remember that neatness and attention to detail contribute to a professional appearance.

4. Seek Guidance

When faced with a task or assignment that you are unsure about, do not hesitate to ask for clarification or guidance. Approach your superiors with a humble and respectful attitude, expressing your willingness to learn and your desire to understand their expectations fully. This initiative demonstrates your dedication, saves time, and prevents potential mistakes.

It is important to actively listen and take notes during guidance sessions or receive feedback. Show that you value the guidance by maintaining eye contact, nodding your head, and asking for further clarification. Taking detailed notes will help you remember and apply the guidance, showing your commitment to continuous improvement.

5. Embrace Challenges

As a dynamic and competitive business hub, Tokyo offers numerous opportunities for growth and learning. To excel as an intern in Tokyo, it is crucial to maintain a growth mindset. View challenges as opportunities for personal and professional development rather than obstacles.

Be proactive in identifying areas where you can contribute and make a difference. By volunteering for challenging assignments, you can showcase your abilities, dedication, and willingness to tackle difficult tasks.

When faced with a challenge, break it down into manageable parts. This method will help you maintain clarity and focus as you work towards a solution. Develop a step-by-step plan or strategy to tackle each aspect of the challenge effectively.

6. Reflect and Adapt

Tokyo’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment requires interns to constantly evaluate their progress, learn from experiences, and make necessary adjustments.

To excel, regularly reflect on your experiences and performance, assess the areas you can improve, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. These aspects will help you understand where to focus your efforts to grow professionally. Also, reflecting can lead to valuable insights and ideas for innovation and problem-solving.

Aside from that, seek feedback from your supervisors and colleagues. Constructive feedback offers valuable guidance and helps you understand how others perceive your work and contributions. Actively listen and be open to receiving feedback, even if challenging. Use the feedback as a tool for personal and professional growth, making necessary adjustments to enhance your performance.

7. Leave a Positive Impression

Tokyo’s business culture values professionalism, respect, and building strong relationships. A positive impression reflects your character and opens doors for future opportunities and recommendations.

To do that, it is important to demonstrate a strong work ethic. Be diligent and committed to your tasks and responsibilities. Try to go the extra mile in every task you do. You can gain your colleagues’ and superiors’ trust and respect by consistently delivering high-quality work.

Treat everyone with kindness, courtesy, and respect, regardless of their position or role. The Japanese concept of “omotenashi,” which means wholehearted hospitality, can be applied in the workplace by showing genuine care and consideration for others.

Make the Most of Your Internship in Tokyo

Each aspect contributes to a fulfilling and enriching journey, from learning about the business culture to leaving a lasting impression. As you steer Tokyo’s dynamic and vibrant professional landscape, remember that every interaction, lesson learned, and effort put forth is an opportunity for growth.

Your time in Tokyo offers a chance to excel in your role, immerse yourself in a new culture, build valuable connections, and gain insights that will shape your career path. Embrace the challenges and successes, and approach each day with an open mind and a willingness to learn. As you contribute your skills and absorb the wisdom of experienced professionals, you’re setting the foundation for a successful future.


Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.

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