Japanese Plus Volunteering

Japanese Farm

After studying Japanese with GenkiJACS, why not stay on in Japan and experience volunteering at a farm, restaurant, art gallery, or other exciting opportunity? Genki Japanese School has partnered with Willing Workers on Organic Farms (WWOOF) Japan, to offer an expedited application process for our students.

What is WWOOF?

WWOOF is a network of hosts of a variety of types, all around Japan, that provide food and lodging to foreigners, while foreigners volunteer in the host's business. There is no exchange of money between WWOOFers and hosts - you only pay the yearly membership fee, 5,500 yen, to WWOOF Japan itself.Joining WWOOF allows you to stay in Japan cheaply, but also to have experiences that would otherwise be impossible to get, and to learn about the culture and lifestyle far more deeply than a tourist would.

What types of volunteer activities are available?

There are a wide variety of volunteer activities, but a lot of it is physical - farmwork, waitressing, etc. These jobs require some degree of Japanese ability, but of course not as much as an office job. Here are some examples of the available placements:

  • Organic farm
  • Nature school, arts school
  • Youth hostel, hotel
  • Cafe/restaurant
  • Food shop
  • Sightseeing guide
  • Gallery
  • Campground
  • Bakery
  • Japanese candy shop
  • Childcare
  • Natural therapy center

Hosts are in all areas of the country, from Hokkaido to Okinawa. More than half of the hosts run farms of one kind or another. The full list of available volunteer placements in Japan is on the WWOOF Japan website.

How does WWOOF work?

  1. You sign up for WWOOF on their website, and make the preliminary application.
  2. You pay the WWOOF membership fee.
  3. You complete your application with WWOOF.
  4. You get access to the full database of WWOOF hosts across Japan - more than 400 hosts total!
  5. When you find a host you are interested in, you send them a message indicating when you would like to stay with them (usually, starting just after your GenkiJACS study will finish). If they confirm, then you're all set! If they can't take you in then, you contact another host.
  6. When the arranged time comes, you make your way to the host.

You can stay with a host for as long as you would like, up to a maximum of one year, or move to other hosts within the WWOOF network, to see a variety of areas of Japan. WWOOF is suitable for people staying for just a couple of weeks, or those who want to stay for up to a full year!

For more information about WWOOF Japan, see their website.

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