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Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Japan

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Teach English in Japan


The language barrier restricts the number of opportunities Japan offers to international volunteers but if you are looking to cut expenses in an expensive country to visit, try asking at hostels where work exchanges are not uncommon. Otherwise we recommend using the help exchange networks to find a small project to support.


Grassroots Volunteering in Japan

The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:

Peace Boat

Strictly speaking Peace Boat isn't a Japan based volunteer gig. Instead it is a Japan based international non profit NGO that, through a chartered passenger ship travelling the world on peace voyages, works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. For each voyage, Peace Boat recruits volunteer interpreters and language teachers to support its programmes onboard. These are highly sought after positions and applicants need to be a highly advanced speaker of English with at least 18 months of relevant full time English language teaching experience. Check their website for application and voyage dates.

Where: At sea.
Accommodation & Costs: On the boat.

Volunteering in Japan


Other Opportunities to Volunteer in Japan

Hands On Tokyo (see Volunteer Resources below) sometimes take on volunteer leaders to coordinate and lead their projects. Leaders must have some previous experience with their activities and speak conversational Japanese and/or conversational English.

CRASH Japan is a disaster relief organisation based in Tokyo that mobilises Christian volunteers to work with churches and other local ministries. Currently much of their efforts are going towards continued response to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster that began on March 11, 2011. CRASH place volunteers in response to the requests and needs of partner organisations and local churches in the disaster area.


Help Exchange Networks in Japan

Workaway -
HelpStay -{XID_HASH}
HelpX -


More Volunteering in Japan Resources

Hands On Tokyo - Serves as a bilingual volunteer portal to connect individuals and groups to meaningful volunteer service opportunities in the Tokyo and Tohoku region.


Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Japan

Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). You can also get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.


Volunteer Experiences*

WWOOFing a Japanese Farm - The WWOOF network provides Mike with a free room and board in an expensive country.
Solo Travel Options: WWOOFing in Japan - Sean volunteered on an organic farm in the coastal village of Uchinoura, on the south island of Kyushu.
How can I GET on the Peace Boat? - Chance Alberg, an EPIK teacher in South Korea, answers readers’ questions on applying to volunteer on Peace Boat, a Japan based international NGO that carries out its main activities through a chartered passenger ship travelling the world on peace voyages.


* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations

Image courtesy Cluster Munition Coalition