Location: Nagano, Japan
Duration: Minimum 2 weeks, maximum 6 months commitment
Start Dates: Project is on-going, and you can join at any time, depending upon availability. Placements start each Monday
Cost: €800 Euros per week – see Costs tab for further details
Includes: all food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation and all project related activities
Does not Include: flights, travel insurance, visas and vaccinations
Immerse yourself in a unique opportunity to collaborate closely with local farmers, acquiring invaluable knowledge and skills in planting and harvesting crops, as well as protecting and preserving them for the winter season.
In the village of Otaki and its surrounding areas, the population is gradually aging, and the younger generation is seeking opportunities in larger cities. The elderly residents who remain in Otaki greatly appreciate the support in their daily tasks. However, what they cherish even more is the companionship and the opportunity to share their wealth of knowledge and life experiences. By offering a helping hand, you not only contribute to their daily activities but also create meaningful connections and engage in a cultural exchange that enriches both sides.
Discover the unique farming practices of Japan, distinct from those in North America or the US. Embrace the picturesque mountainous landscape that shapes the agricultural scene, where individual farmers cultivate their own small plots nestled within the hills.
The village of Otaki reflects this farming tradition, with its residents passionately growing vegetables, tending to crops, and even raising animals. They proudly sell their bountiful harvest at local markets or regional supermarkets. However, as the younger generation migrates to urban areas, the remaining farmers face increasing challenges in maintaining their agricultural livelihoods.
The inhabitants of Otaki, like many rural Japanese communities, cherish a traditional way of life. Their homes beautifully blend Western influences with traditional Japanese architecture. As the elders fear their customs and heritage may fade away, they greatly value the opportunity not only to receive assistance with daily tasks but also to share their wisdom and cultural heritage with you.
In the life of a Japanese farmer, the day begins with the rising sun. You may be asked to rise early to tend to initial chores before breakfast. The remainder of the day unfolds with a variety of tasks that depend on the season and weather. On average, expect to engage in about 2-5 hours of work per day. During spring, summer, and autumn, most activities take place outdoors and may include tasks such as fertilizing fields, plowing, planting, harvesting, and maintaining fences to protect crops from monkeys and wild boars. Additionally, farmers diligently maintain the water supply system to sustain their agricultural endeavors.
During late autumn and winter, when outdoor work is limited, you will primarily engage in indoor tasks. This is the time when Japanese farmers process their harvest to preserve it for the winter months or immerse themselves in local handicrafts. Responsibilities may involve processing the harvest, preparing conserved meals, participating in local crafts, making preparations for the upcoming spring, and even clearing snow.
Beyond your farm work, you will have the opportunity to join other participants in Otaki to learn about the local culture and explore the captivating surroundings. Immerse yourself in the enriching experience of rural life in Japan, where traditions are nurtured, knowledge is shared, and the beauty of the countryside unfolds before your eyes.
Please note that during the months of January and February participants will assist the elders in the community with snow removal and can engage in winter sports such as sledding or snow trekking as well as the other weather permitting activities described.
Travel & Accommodation
Upon your arrival, a friendly project representative will warmly welcome you at the airport and accompany you to the project headquarters.
During your stay, you will have the option to experience authentic local hospitality by staying in a cozy Homestay or at our designated participant accommodation. For those seeking an adventurous twist, there may be opportunities to enjoy the incredible experience of camping in a tent during the warmer months. The accommodation is conveniently located just 10-25 minutes outside of the village, accessible by car.
Please note that at the Green House location near the restaurant and campsite, the toilet and shower facilities are separate from the sleeping accommodation. However, if you opt for the homestay at the house, you will have the convenience of an indoor toilet and shower. Additionally, you may encounter a friendly pet dog during your time at the Green House location, adding an extra touch of warmth and companionship to your stay.
- Minimum age 18.
- Passion and enthusiasm for working in conservation, lots of energy and creativity – and not scared to get your hands dirty!
- No previous skills are necessary, however you will need to speak English at a native or near-native level.
- CRB Police check (or equivalent) showing that you have no previous criminal convictions
- Minimum 2 weeks commitment – 30+ hours a week
- Necessary vaccinations, flight & visas.
- Full travel & medical insurance. Please see our info pages for more information and to get a quote.
€800 Euros per week
* Check the latest currency conversions with xe.com
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee
*** Placements are confirmed with a 1 week deposit
Project Fee includes food, accommodation, airport pickup, orientation, in-country support and project activities.
Private rooms are available for an additional €100 per week.
What’s not included:
Flights, insurance, visas (if applicable) and vaccinations. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.
Premium Support Upgrade
We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.
We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.
Note: Map coordinates are approximate