Japan has the modernity, luxuries, and infrastructure of a developed Western nation, with many unique cultural aspects of the Far East. With volunteer abroad opportunities in teaching, farming, supporting children in orphanages, and ongoing disaster relief, there is plenty of good work to be done as a volunteer in Japan.
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Common Volunteer Abroad Projects in Japan
Volunteer Teaching. One of the most popular volunteer opportunities in Japan, teachers who wish to help Japanese students learn English -- and learn some Japanese in return, can find plenty of volunteer teaching placements.
Farming & WWOOFing. Another popular volunteer opportunity, if you want to ‘get your hands dirty’ and support agriculture in Japan, there are plenty of opportunities to do so.
Orphanage Volunteer Work. The need for volunteers in Japanese orphanages is quite strong, and those who want to work with children while volunteering in Japan can do so with an orphanage placement.
Ongoing Disaster Relief. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami which struck Japan, disaster relief efforts have been ongoing. There are still opportunities for volunteers to work in rebuilding, construction, and community recovery. Learn more about volunteering abroad in disaster relief.
Requirements to Volunteer in Japan
There are some important considerations to keep in mind when planning your volunteer trip to Japan:
- Visas are not required for stays of less than 90 days. If you plan on volunteering for upwards of 90 days, your program provider can help you apply for a tourist, business, or visitors visa.
- You do not need to speak Japanese to volunteer in Japan, though it will certainly help. Most volunteer placements will tell you what level of Japanese understanding is required to complete the work; if you do not see this, inquire directly during the application process.
- Familiarize yourself with the cultural mannerisms in Japan before going overseas, where traditional and hierarchical behavior is still very common. Knowing some of these cultural subtleties will help you succeed in your volunteer placement in Japan.