You Need to Pass This Skills Test Before You Can Work in a Restaurant in Japan

It's part of the process of getting a Specified Skilled Worker Visa.

If you’ve been exploring the idea of working in Japan—more specifically in the restaurant scene—getting into the Food Service industry might be something to consider. The Food Service Industry test was made for those who intend to apply as a Specified Skilled Worker for the food industry. The test is aimed to measure a person’s skill in cooking, customer service, and restaurant management. 

How to take the exam:

The Food Service Industry exam is organized by
the Organization for Technical Skill Assessment of Foreign Workers in Food Industry (OTAFF). The exam has been held twice last April and June 2019, in several regions of Japan including Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya, Fukuyama, and Fukuoka.

Here is the schedule for the upcoming exams: 



Examination Period

Location (scheduled)

No. of Examinees accepted

Application Period

Announcement of Results

3rd Food Service Industry Exam

September 6, 2019 (Fri)



Naha (Okinawa)

220 people

160 people

260 people

July 30, 2019 to August 6, 2019

Late September

4th Food Service Industry Exam


Niigata, Saitama, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kobe, Hiroshima, Kumamoto

Approx. 3,000 people

Early October

Early December

5th Food Service Industry Exam

Mid-February (2020)

Sapporo, Sendai, Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Hiroshima, Fukuoka

Approx. 3,000 people

Early January

Early March

Examination Fee: 


Examination Type:

The exam is conducted as follows:

Test Type


Paper test, multiple-choice

45 questions, 90 minutes

Passing rate: 65%

There are three types of exams from which you can choose. You can choose the exam type when you submit your application form. The examination itself will have the same number and type of questions, however, the point evaluation system will change depending on the type of exam you take.

Note: When taking the exam, make sure you are taking your chosen type at the time when you applied. If you are unable to do so, the test will follow type A, standard exam point system.

Type A: Standard Exam

Type B: Cooking-based exam (
inshokubutsu chouri): Knowledge on ingredients, preparation, cooking methods, tools, and hygiene.

The points allocated for the cooking portion will be valued higher, while the points allocated for the customer service portion will be valued lower.

Type C: Customer service (
sekkyaku zenpan)-based exam: Knowledge on customer relations, food, restaurant management, response to complaints, and response to emergencies.  

The points allocated for the customer service portion will be valued higher, while the points allocated for the cooking portion will be valued lower.

According to OTAFF, these test types were made for the benefit of the examinee. Choosing a test type will not decide the type of work you will receive in the future, but it gives you the advantage of getting a higher grade by choosing the field you are good at. Assess your skills and play to your strengths. If you’re an expert cook, maybe Exam Type B is a better option for you. But if customer service is more up your alley, then go for Exam Type C.


And don’t forget to choose the type of exam you want to take! Because if you’re good at either cooking or customer service, it might be to your disadvantage if you’re given a standard exam by default just because you forgot to choose.

How to prepare for the exam:

JFNET provided some text materials for the preparation here.

To apply, go to this website.
Source: OTAFF

Does this make you want to apply for work in Japan’s food service industry? What type of job are you thinking of exploring?

 (2 August 2019)

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