While the vast majority of Japanese families do not have housekeepers – instead choosing to do much of the cooking and cleaning themselves – a good percentage of expats do enlist housekeepers to either live-in or visit the home once or several times a week. While the majority of the domestic workforce comes from Japan and the Philippines (expats often prefer to hire foreign housekeepers), there are some from other nationalities that offer these services as well.

The majority of housekeepers (regardless of nationality) tend to charge between 1,500 to 2,000 yen per hour (approximately US$15 ~ US$20 per hour).

If you are seeking a non-Japanese housekeeper, you must verify what “sponsorship” terms your housekeeper has. All foreign housekeepers must have their visas sponsored by a valid business (or similar) visa holder. The sponsor is required, during the relatively vigorous application process, to explain the reason for needing a housekeeper (young children, elderly family, etc). Most expats do not sponsor housekeepers, but instead “borrow” them from the sponsors. It is common practice for sponsors to allow their housekeepers to freelance for others, but should the sponsor ever need to have your housekeeper during a time that you have previously scheduled, the sponsor takes precedence. By and large this is not at all an issue, and your housekeeper should be able to give you a week or more notice.

Those interested in having a housekeeper can get more information at the following:

Several free English language magazines and websites can also help with your search: http://www.japantoday.comhttp://www.tokyonoticeboard.co.jp/, and http://metropolis.co.jp.

You can also have a look at the notice boards at these Tokyo supermarkets: http://www.national-azabu.com/e_index2.php and http://www.nissinham.co.jp/nwd/.