The Land of the Rising Sun is made up of over 3000 islands of which Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku are the four largest. Japan is highly advanced technologically and in many ways is very westernised, yet simultaneously it retains a strong sense of traditional culture. It is full of history, wonderful temples and beautiful, mountainous countryside and volunteers find Japan an incredibly clean and organised country. There are so many opportunities for volunteers to get involved, to learn Japanese and to travel.
Medical placements involve helping at Red Cross Hospitals. They provide an excellent experience for anyone hoping to work in medicine or health related fields. Japanese lessons will be provided at the hospitals and volunteers may be asked to teach English to the nursing staff. The more Japanese you know, the more responsible the tasks you will be given.
Caring placements will involve working in Leonard Cheshire Homes and homes for the elderly. The work is demanding and challenging but also extremely rewarding. Volunteers typically form strong relationships with the people they help to care for and their help is greatly valued by both the staff and patients.
Community placements are located on a farm on the northernmost island of Japan. You will be working along other local volunteers who live at the farm as part of a cooperative. Typical dutiesinvolve farming, helping with the production and sale of food and cattle breeding.
Japan is a very popular destination for many of our volunteers. As a result, our Japan program fills up very early each year. If Japan is your first choice, please contact us to confirm availability before you apply.
Food and accommodation are provided at all placements. You will likely have to cook for yourself on the weekends in some placements. In all placements there is help in learning some Japanese.
Someone on the staff with knowledge of English is given the responsibility for caring for volunteers. Volunteers will receive a small amount of pocket money
at most placements - between $350-600 CAD per month. Please note that this is not a wage, but rather a stipend to
offset your living expenses.
Is it for me?
Volunteers must be patient, mature, punctual and respectful of cultural differences. A basic understanding of Japanese language, both reading and spoken is highly recommended. The Japanese are very polite and volunteers must always remove their shoes when indoors, wait to be seated and be punctual. The diet in Japan is very healthy and there variety of different foods on offer plus the cosmopolitan nature of the population means there is always something delicious to enjoy. If you are willing to discover a new culture, learn a new language and enjoy the differences, then Japan is a fascinating country and an exciting time awaits. Regrettably, US applicants are not eligible to participate in our Japan placements at this time due to visa complications.
Projects are located throughout Japan from Tokyo, Tochigi, and Nagoya in the centre of the country, down to Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Fukuoka and Kumamoto in the south.
Volunteers have the opportunity to travel at weekends and after their placements. Mount Fuji, the bright lights of Tokyo, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Himeji Castle are all must sees.
Japan is justly famous for its seasonal beauty and volunteers should make the effort to see the spring cherry blossom in Hokkaido and the autumn leaves at Jingo-ji Temple in Kyoto.
On Honshu Island the Shinkansen is the way to travel, taking you from Tokyo to your destination faster than a speeding bullet. Further south, the island of Kyushu is more relaxed but no less interesting with its hot springs, volcanic range and breathtakingly beautiful shrines.