Hospitality & Tourism Internship in Otaki, Japan

WHY we need you in Japan

Working in the restaurant

HOW can you help?

WHAT can you do?

Why Involvement Volunteers International?

Barbecuing at the restaurant






  MIN AGE: 16+

  SPECIAL REQUIREMENTS: Criminal background check required


Otaki village and its surroundings are renowned for regional outdoor tourism. Each summer and winter, Japanese tourists flock to the area to enjoy activities like hiking, canoeing, and camping during the warmer months, and various winter sports during the colder months. However, international tourism in Otaki is still in its early stages.

A group of villagers has launched a strong initiative to further develop tourism in the area. One of the initiative’s leaders, who assisted in Fukushima following the 2011 nuclear disaster, has since embraced a more sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle. This perspective has shaped their approach to tourism, focusing on reviving traditional crafts such as charcoal making and recreating traditional housing. Their goal is to offer tourists a lasting educational experience rather than just outdoor activities.

During this internship, you will help out at a local restaurant, campsite, hotel, or another tourism-related facility. In addition to guest services, you may be involved in development projects that often include light construction work. This will allow you to learn about daily tourism operations and contribute to the area’s development, enriching your overall experience.

In the summer, most activities will be outdoors and may include:

  • Serving guests
  • Dishwashing
  • Preparing firewood
  • Gardening/Farming
  • Light construction work

In the winter, activities will likely include:

  • Serving guests
  • Shovelling snow
  • Preparing firewood
  • Helping at a ski resort

Expect to work about 2-4 hours per day. Additionally, you will join other participants in Otaki to learn about the local culture and explore the surroundings.


Your stay in Nagano Prefecture will immerse you in the tranquility of Otaki, a charming village nestled amidst breathtaking mountains, boasting a population of around 800 residents. Otaki transforms into a picturesque winter wonderland, attracting numerous visitors, particularly during the snowy season on Mt. Ontake. As Japan’s second highest volcano, Mt. Ontake not only features a ski resort but also serves as a spiritual hub, drawing various Buddhist groups and pilgrims. Surrounded by a diverse array of shrines and sacred sites, Mt. Ontake offers a serene destination for those seeking spiritual solace and natural beauty.

Project Tasks

  • Assist the local staff and develop your skills through hands-on activity
  • Create cultural exchange opportunities through your efforts with the locals
  • Gain a greater appreciation of natural surroundings

Food & Accommodation

You will be staying in local accommodation with 2-4 people per room, single gender. Wifi and hot showers are included. No laundry facilities but hand washing is available. There are 13 chickens and a dog at the accommodation. There is also a small farm where herbs and other crops are grown.

The village of Otaki features an ATM, two convenience stores and a post office. These may not be in walking distance from your accommodation, but you’ll have the chance to stop by there several times during the week.

You will be served 3 meals a day on weekdays and 2 meals on weekends. Meals will be local cuisine and you can expect that they will include rice and vegetables.


All prices in USD
  • 1 Week - $720
  • 2 Weeks - $1440
  • 3 Weeks - $2160
  • 1 Month - $2880
  • 2 Months - $5760
  • 3 Months - $8640
Vol House
What's Included
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Bus Station Pickup
  • Local Transportation
  • 1 Day Orientation
  • 24/7 In-Country Support
  • Project Materials & Equipment
  • Pre-departure Expert Advice
  • Preperation Tools & Checklists
  • Certificate of Completion


This program is suited to those who want to experience a different lifestyle, assist in various hospitality places, gaining skills and interaction with the locals for a truly unique experience.

  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals p/day & 2 p/day at weekends
  • Arrival transfer (Sat/Sun arrivals)
  • Filtered drinking water, coffee & tea
  • 1 day orientation
  • Daily transportation to project
  • In country 24/7 support & emergency assistance
  • Fundraising support
  • University course credits (where applicable)
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Airfares
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tours, Souvenirs & spending money

Mandatory Orientation Day

On the Monday of your first week at this location, you will join our orientation day, to familiarize you with the surroundings as well as local culture. Your program will continue as usual from Tuesday onward throughout the rest of the week.


  • Introduction meeting, House rules, Setting Expectations, Health and Safety Advice and handling of documents.
  • Japanese Do’s and Don’ts, Japanese Culture Lessons and Japanese Language Lessons.
  • Tour around the compound and local area; where to find local shops, and arrange a sim-card if necessary.
  • Lunch
  • Introduction to the Project, Project site and start participating on the project

No airport pickup is provided in Japan, but a free pickup is available on Sunday from Shinjuku Bus Terminal at 4pm.

This is the only pickup time, otherwise you would need to make your own way to the accommodation by bus or train. 

For info on the airport limo-bus service from NRT Bus from Narita to Shinjuku or HND Bus from Haneda to Shinjuku These buses take you directly inside the Shinjuku Bus Terminal.

From Shinjuku bus terminal, a staff member will take you to the bus bound for Kisofukushima Station. After 4.5-5 hours, you will arrive at Kiso Fukushima station. From there, we will pick you up and drive 30 minutes to the accommodation in Otaki Village.

Monday to Friday (2-4 hours a day)

  • Breakfast
  • Perform a variety of tasks related to the internship
  • Lunch
  • Cultural or outdoor activities together will all participants in Otaki
  • Complete additional tasks related to the internship
  • Dinner
  • Cultural or outdoor activities together will all participants in Otaki

***This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.***

Near Otaki…

Otaki is a nature lover’s paradise with many outdoor activities possible year round. Great place for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking and kayaking on the lake. Major points of interest include: Mt. Ontake, Shintaki Waterfall and Tanoharatenen Park.

Hiking in Otaki Gorge: Embark on a scenic hike through Otaki Gorge, surrounded by lush forests and pristine natural beauty. The gorge offers trails suitable for various skill levels, with opportunities for birdwatching and photography.

Visit Otaki Shrine: Pay a visit to Otaki Shrine, a serene Shinto shrine nestled amidst tranquil surroundings. Experience the peaceful ambiance, admire the architecture, and learn about local customs and rituals.

Cycling: Rent a bicycle and explore the picturesque countryside surrounding Otaki. Enjoy leisurely rides along quiet roads, past rice fields, and through charming villages, immersing yourself in rural Japanese life.

Places to Visit In Japan…

Tokyo: Japan’s bustling capital city, Tokyo, is a vibrant metropolis where tradition and modernity converge. Explore iconic landmarks such as the historic Senso-ji Temple and the futuristic Shibuya Crossing. Immerse yourself in Japanese pop culture in districts like Akihabara and Harajuku, and savor world-class cuisine in Michelin-starred restaurants or local izakayas.

Kyoto: Known as the cultural heart of Japan, Kyoto is home to thousands of shrines, temples, and historic landmarks. Visit UNESCO World Heritage sites like Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) and Fushimi Inari Shrine, stroll through traditional neighborhoods such as Gion and Higashiyama, and experience the beauty of Japanese tea culture in tea houses and gardens.

Hiroshima: A city with a profound history, Hiroshima is a symbol of peace and resilience. Pay your respects at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, which commemorates the victims of the atomic bombing in 1945. Explore the nearby Miyajima Island with its iconic floating torii gate and sacred deer.

Hokkaido: Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Experience breathtaking landscapes in national parks like Daisetsuzan and Shikotsu-Toya, go skiing in world-class resorts like Niseko, and indulge in fresh seafood and dairy products in cities like Sapporo and Otaru.

Nara: Step back in time in Nara, Japan’s first permanent capital and a treasure trove of ancient history and culture. Marvel at the majestic Todai-ji Temple, home to the Great Buddha statue, and wander through Nara Park, where friendly deer roam freely. Explore traditional neighborhoods like Naramachi and enjoy the tranquil beauty of Isuien and Yoshikien Gardens.

Dress Code

Sleeveless shirts and tank tops are not permitted. Please wear long pants and t-shirts; however, avoid see-through or overly revealing clothing. Additionally, refrain from wearing excessively flashy or nightwear-style attire.

For information on holidays and any programs affected, please see the following link: JP – Holidays – All Programs 

Japan, a land of contrasts and contradictions, captivates visitors with its unique blend of tradition and innovation. Nestled in the Pacific Ocean, this island nation boasts a rich cultural heritage dating back centuries, juxtaposed against a backdrop of cutting-edge technology and modernity. From the bustling streets of Tokyo, where neon lights illuminate towering skyscrapers, to the tranquil temples and gardens of Kyoto, Japan offers a sensory feast for travelers. Its diverse landscapes, ranging from snow-capped mountains to lush countryside and pristine coastlines, provide endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.

Japanese cuisine is renowned worldwide for its exquisite flavors and meticulous preparation, inviting visitors to indulge in sushi, ramen, tempura, and other culinary delights. Beyond its tangible treasures, Japan’s intangible heritage is equally captivating, with traditional arts, rituals, and festivals reflecting the soul of the nation.

Japan experiences a diverse range of climates across its archipelago, influenced by its geographic location and topography. Generally, the climate can be classified into four distinct seasons: spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Spring (March to May) brings mild temperatures and the iconic cherry blossom season, when pink and white blooms blanket the country, particularly in parks and gardens. It’s a popular time for tourists to visit Japan.

Summer (June to August) is hot and humid, with temperatures often reaching into the high 30s Celsius (90s Fahrenheit) in many parts of the country. It’s also the rainy season (tsuyu) in June and July, characterized by frequent rainfall and occasional typhoons.

Autumn (September to November) brings cooler temperatures and vibrant foliage, especially in mountainous regions. The autumn colors, known as “koyo,” attract many visitors to enjoy the stunning landscapes painted in hues of red, orange, and yellow.

Winter (December to February) varies across Japan, with colder temperatures and snowfall common in northern regions such as Hokkaido and the Japan Alps. In contrast, southern areas like Okinawa experience milder winters.

Japan’s culture is a mix of old traditions and new ideas. They value respect, harmony, and discipline in daily life. People enjoy traditional arts like tea ceremonies and martial arts, as well as delicious food like sushi and ramen.

Throughout the year, Japan celebrates festivals with dancing, music, and food. Pop culture, including anime and video games, is popular worldwide. In cities like Tokyo, you can see both ancient temples and modern skyscrapers side by side.

Overall, Japan’s culture is a blend of history and innovation, making it an exciting place to explore for everyone.

35+ Years Non Profit Experience

IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally.

Affordable Volunteer Travel

We’re not motivated by shareholder profits. Our fees are fully transparent to ensure maximum benefit where it is most needed. 

Safe & Responsible Projects

All projects include a dedicated 24/7 in-country management team, operational & risk assessment & overseas support contact. All projects are personally inspected to ensure very high quality.

Work Experience & University Credits

We place thousands of Uni students and can assist you with course credits and in-field experience points. Many of our project coordinators are qualified practitioners in their respective fields allowing unique in-field supervision and Uni accreditation options

See More

Check out this amazing blog with step by step info on how to raise funds for your overseas volunteer experience to help maximize your impact abroad. Guide to Fundraising

Weekends & Extra Tours

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