Updated May 31, 2024

PHP in Japan - Language Guide


Japan Dev Team

Japan Dev contributor

Created by Danish-Canadian Rasmus Lerdorf in 1993 and released to the public in 1995, PHP has been a cornerstone of web development globally for the past 28 years, including in Japan.

The language is known for its simplicity and server-side scripting capabilities, and has powered countless websites and applications over the past few decades. In Japan, PHP has maintained a robust presence throughout the years due to its pivotal role in building dynamic and data-driven websites.

That being said, the ever-shifting landscape of software development has evolved since then, and it’s no secret that the rise of other languages like TypeScript, Java, and Go has affected PHP’s popularity.

So, how is the language received today? How does PHP’s popularity fare against other programming languages, and most importantly, how much does it pay to be a PHP developer in Japan today? 

I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the landscape of PHP development here, so read on to learn whether PHP in Japan is worth your while.

Those wondering about PHP’s popularity in Japan will be glad to know that the language is still commonly used here. 

While it used to be extremely popular, its trendiness has somewhat declined over the years. This in no way means that it’s becoming obsolete – it’s simply not in the spotlight as some other popular languages like Go or Python.

Thanks to the years of company and job listing data we’ve accumulated at Japan Dev, we’ve compiled a list of the most popular languages in Japan for your convenience. According to our list, PHP is the ninth most popular programming language on our job board

Here’s our complete list for reference:

Popularity Rank

Programming Language

Median Salary



¥9.8 million



¥8.6 million



¥10.3 million



¥8.6 million



¥9.3 million



¥9 million



¥9.1 million



¥9.2 million



¥8.7 million



¥8.7 million



¥9 million



¥8.5 million



¥10.1 million



¥10.86 million



¥8.7 million



¥7.2 million



¥8.5 million

As I said, the language isn’t exactly topping the popularity charts. This is largely due to the web application development scene moving over to other languages like Go, JavaScript, Python, and Ruby in recent years. 

Considering this, the fact that PHP still holds on to its spot in the top ten is impressive. Besides, it seems like PHP can even pay more than a statically typed and arguably more favored language like JavaScript in today’s web development scene, so let’s talk about this next.


Financial Prospects of PHP Developers: PHP Salaries in Japan

When ranking programming languages based on their frequency in job listings on our platform, we also identified the median annual salaries for each language.

So, according to our data, the annual median salary for a PHP developer in Japan is ¥8.7 million

As I explained, while it may have lost a little popularity in recent years, PHP is still a good language to invest in.

It may be in ninth place in terms of popularity, but if you look at the numbers on our list, it’s clear that PHP developers still have the same median salary as higher-ranking languages like Java. 

So, while it isn’t exactly at the highest end of the developer salaries range, the number is still above average, and it’s safe to say that PHP jobs pay fairly well overall in Japan. 

In Practice: How Is PHP Used in Japan?

Thanks to its easy integration capabilities with HTML, PHP has seen a good amount of use throughout the years in the web development scene. Many companies in Japan have been using the popular programming language to create dynamic web apps efficiently.

That being said, as I mentioned, there has been a slight decrease in PHP usage in Japan as of late. This is largely due to some companies moving away from PHP toward statically typed languages like Java and TypeScript. 

Still, this is mostly true for larger companies with big development teams. Finding a good PHP job here is fairly easy if you know the basics of job hunting in Japan, so here are a few tips to get you started.


Finding PHP Jobs in Japan: Start Here

As it’s the ninth most popular programming language in Japan, finding PHP jobs shouldn’t be hard. The challenge, however, lies in telling reputable companies apart from black companies, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the local market.

Luckily, the companies you’ll find on our PHP jobs page are personally verified by our team. The companies we feature on our job board are verified to offer good practices, nice benefits, and rightful, good pay. So, it’s a great place to start looking.

We frequently update our board with new opportunities, so you know you’re always getting the best, freshest job opportunities out there.

Other than Japan Dev, another good way to find PHP jobs is to get involved with the PHP community here. You can attend conferences, workshops, or meetups and network. If you don’t know where to start, check out my post where I introduce the best tech conferences in Japan.

Alternatively, there are also countless local events in Fukuoka, Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto, for which I have separate guides.

Open Source and Coding Bootcamps 

Another good but indirect way to get PHP jobs in Japan is to become a common contributor to the open-source development scene. 

Working on open-source projects is a great way to demonstrate your dedication to PHP and how proficient you are at it. I have an extensive guide on the open-source community in Japan, which is a good starting point. 

Other than that, if you lack the skills to get hired as a PHP developer right away or want to learn PHP to get a job in Japan, another thing you can do is sign up for a coding bootcamp. To find the good ones, head on over to my best coding bootcamps in Japan guide once you’re done here.

Top Companies Using PHP in Japan

If you’re wondering what type of companies use PHP, you’ll be glad to know that the range is pretty wide. Here are a few examples that operate in various industries from our PHP jobs page:

  • Rakuten: This multimedia conglomerate needs no introduction. With its 70+ subsidiaries in multiple industries, Rakuten loyally uses PHP in their day-to-day operations.

  • Mercari: Japan’s largest customer-to-customer marketplace and first unicorn startup, Mercari is another well-known company that uses PHP to deliver and maintain its top-tier mobile app and website platform.

  • Accredify: Focusing on digital document security, Accredify relies on PHP to operate its tamper-proof digital data verification platform. 

  • Visual Alpha: This business-to-business FinTech startup uses PHP to provide its top-tier SaaS solutions to financial institutions and businesses.

As you see, PHP is used by vastly different businesses, which means that the job opportunities you’ll come across will be just as diverse. With some patience and good luck, you should be able to find a job in an industry that’s fulfilling to you in no time!


Conclusion: PHP in Japan

The popularity of PHP may not be what it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s an obsolete language by any means.

Right now in Japan:

  • PHP is the 9th most popular programming language according to our data

  • PHP is most commonly used as a backend web development language 

  • PHP developers get compensated fairly well, with an annual median salary of ¥8.7M

So, things are far from being bleak. While not as popular as before, the language is still used by some of the top companies in the country’s tech industry. Considering this and all of our conclusions above, I’d say learning PHP is still a pretty good investment if you’re considering living or working in Japan.

That said, if you want a broader look at the financial prospects of developers in Japan, I recommend heading over to our guide to developer salaries in Japan.


Japan Dev Team

This post was written by our Japan Dev editorial team.