Volunteer in Japan

WHY we need you in Japan

English Exchange

Why Involvement Volunteers International?

Barbecuing at the restaurant

Volunteer in Japan

Japan is a captivating destination offering a blend of ancient traditions and cutting-edge modernity, making it an ideal place to visit. From the bustling streets of Tokyo to the serene temples of Kyoto, there’s something for every traveler. Japan boasts stunning natural landscapes, including majestic mountains, tranquil gardens, and pristine beaches.

Engaging in volunteer activities allows individuals to forge connections with local residents, deepen their understanding of Japanese society, and gain valuable cross-cultural experiences.

Volunteer Projects in Japan

English Exchange

English Exchange

While Japanese study English in primary school and become profound in reading and writing, little focus is put on conversation and pronunciation. Knowledge is not the issue, practice is. Host conversation afternoons where locals can join on their own terms.

Location: Otaki
Start Dates: April to October
Min Duration: 1 Week
Min Age: 16 Years
Special Requirements: Intermediate level of English

planting

Agriculture & Farming

Work alongside local farmers and learn from them how to plant and harvest crops, protect them from animals and preserve them for wintertime. The older population, staying in Otaki, appreciates a helping hand in their daily tasks.

Location: Otaki
Start Dates: April to October
Min Duration: 1 Week
Min Age: 16 Years
Special Requirements: N/A

Working in the restaurant

Hospitality & Tourism Internship

Help out in a local restaurant, campsite or hotel and organizing empty houses and support a local initiative to develop more sustainable tourism. Otaki village, about 6 hours from Tokyo, offers an idyllic setting and an abundance of nature.

Location: Otaki
Start Dates: April to October
Min Duration: 1 Week
Min Age: 16 Years
Special Requirements: N/A

Japan

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

Fees

All prices in USD
  • 1 Week - $720
  • 2 Weeks - $1440
  • 3 Weeks - $2160
  • 1 Month - $2880
  • 2 Months - $5760
  • 3 Months - $8640
Vol House

35+ Years 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.  We accept volunteers from all over the world and place them in meaningful overseas missions.  

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

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.

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.

You will be staying in local accommodation in Japan. Please refer to individual programs for more info.

Japanese cuisine is renowned worldwide for its diverse flavors, meticulous preparation, and aesthetic presentation. From traditional dishes passed down through generations to modern culinary innovations, Japan offers a gastronomic experience like no other.

Sushi, perhaps Japan’s most famous culinary export, features bite-sized morsels of vinegared rice topped with fresh seafood such as tuna, salmon, or shrimp. Served alongside pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce, sushi delights the palate with its delicate balance of flavors.

Another staple of Japanese cuisine is ramen, a hearty noodle soup consisting of wheat noodles in a savory broth, topped with sliced pork, green onions, bamboo shoots, and a soft-boiled egg. Each region of Japan boasts its own variation of ramen, ranging from rich and creamy tonkotsu broth to light and tangy shoyu broth.

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.

Schedule

  • 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. Please refer to program info for more details.

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.

Would you like to raise money in order to afford your trip abroad to volunteer? Or perhaps you would like to set up a funraiser to gain enough money to give as a donation to the local project? Crowd funding is a great way to do this. Read this article on Crowdfunding tips to find out how you can raise funds for your trip.

 

Weekends & Extra Tours

Ready to Volunteer in Japan?