Let's go WWOOFing in Japan!
How to start?
It is easy. To start WWOOFing in Japan, send your WWOOFer registration Form and a membership payment via our website. But before that, please read this page!
You can be a WWOOFer in Japan!
WWOOFers are often people traveling in Japan. As part of their holiday, WWOOFers participate with what hosts do at their place, in return for the host providing them with meals, a place to sleep, and social engagement. WWOOFers are not workers. WWOOFers become a part of the hosts' place, like family and friends.
Initial WWOOFer membership fee for one person:
The annual WWOOFer membership fee from the second year onward is as follows:
• 2nd year: 2,900 yen
• 3rd & 4th year: 1,900 yen
• 5th year and ongoing: 1,500 yen
At present, the initial period of membership is 18 months.
This extra 6 months bonus period, is to give you time to plan well in advance.
When you extend your membership for subsequent years, taking advantage of the discounts, the membership period will be 12 months.
Note: in the following two cases, the initial membership period is only 1 year:
1. People rejoining now and wanting to use their former membership data.
2. People paying now after completing but not finalizing an application sent 12 months prior or more.
WWOOFers traveling alone in Japan must be 16 years of age or older. There is no maximum age limit. Children 15 years and under can go WWOOFing when accompanied by an adult who is a current member of WWOOF Japan. About half of WWOOFers are in their 20s & 30s, however many mature aged WWOOFers have great experiences WWOOFing in Japan. WWOOFers in their 70s and 80s are also enjoying WWOOFing very much.
It's not essential to speak Japanese. Many hosts speak some English and welcome WWOOFers who can speak some English. If you are learning Japanese and looking for a means to help facilitate your learning, then WWOOFing represents a great opportunity to you. There are usually hosts who understand a little German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, etc.
WWOOF: an inexpensive way to travel and learn
A WWOOFer membership fee for one person is just 5,500 yen for the first year. 5,500 yen is about 50 US dollars, which is approximately what it costs to say in cheap accommodation for just one night in Japan. Because hosts provide meals and a place to sleep to WWOOFers (the 2 biggest costs to travelers), WWOOFing is a very economical way of travelling in Japan.
WWOOFers must pay all their transportation costs themselves. Many hosts help WWOOFers, by offering to pick them up from nearby public transport.
A WWOOFer membership does not include insurance of any kind.
While you are at a host place, you do not need to pay for anything, except your personal expenses such as your toiletries, meals on your days off, and for what you do on your days off.
What kinds of hosts
There are many different types hosts. For example, organic farms, nature guides, nature schools, farms inns, farm restaurants, organic foods stores, homeschooling places, pottery studios, people involved with building including the restoration of old buildings, dyeing studios, language schools, centers for the environment, and more. You can learn new skills through WWOOFing. Please see more details in the Host Previews.
WWOOFers traveling alone
The majority of WWOOFers go WWOOFing alone. Many women enjoy WWOOFing, and we advise that they choose hosts that are families. Japan is not an unsafe country. The WWOOF Japan office endeavors to monitor the quality of experiences that WWOOFers find at hosts, ongoing.
WWOOFers with family / friends
Many hosts accept couples traveling together. Many hosts provide separate and private accommodation for WWOOFers, sometimes in a separate building, but not always. Please see these and other details in the Host Previews.
If you plan to go WWOOFing with a child(ren) from 0 to 15 years of age, membership for the children is free. All children's information must be provided in his or her guardian's application form.
One person one registration
Each person who is 16 years of age and over MUST register and pay as a WWOOFer. If you are planning to travel with friend(s) or family, those persons will each need to send a registration form and payment, and become a WWOOF Japan member BEFORE hosts are contacted. Please ENSURE you do NOT join WWOOF Japan, and then try to make plans to go WWOOFing with others who are themselves not yet WWOOF Japan members. Hosts will report such wrongdoing to the WWOOF office, which may result in your membership being blocked or cancelled, or render you on a blacklist. Most hosts very reasonably say: "if a WWOOFer ignores rules relating to their membership application, it is likely they will also ignore the few rules I have at my place, and therefore I do not want them at my place". Penalties apply, as stated in the WWOOF rules.
How long can I stay
It depends on the host. Check each host's profile. Generally, WWOOFers stay at a host from one week to a few weeks, and then leave to go to another host's place. It's a great way to travel, and to experience different ways of life. Some WWOOFers stay for a few months at one host.
How many hosts can I visit
As many as you want to, during the course of your membership period. You can extend your membership. You will receive a big discount if you extend your WWOOF Japan membership.
What can I get
All meals are provided while you are WWOOFing at a host (In your free time, if you go sightseeing and leave the host, you will have to pay for your own meals). If you have special dietary requirements, the host may ask you to prepare your own meals.
- Where do WWOOFers sleep
You will be given a place to sleep. The type of sleeping arrangements provided differ from host to host. Some hosts ask WWOOFers to share a room (if they have multiple WWOOFers simultaneously at their place). Some hosts provide a separate room for each WWOOFer. Some hosts provide WWOOFer accommodation in a separate building.
- Meeting new people, and making new friends
Many members say to us "WWOOFing is a great way to meet interesting people!” Please consider this. In your daily life, are you able to meet a farmer who knows how to grow delicious organic vegetables?; an elderly grandma who can cook various kinds of traditional Japanese meals?; a little girl who can make Origami cranes for you? You will meet a variety of people through WWOOFing. In addition to hosts' families, you will probably meet local people too. Also, at hosts who accept multiple WWOOFers simultaneously, you will be able to meet other WWOOFers; many from all over the world.
- Finding hiding beauties in Japan
It is fun to visit famous tourist spots, but there is more! There are many beautiful places in Japan that are not on tourist routes, and hosts with their local knowledge will be happy to show them to you. Hosts are situated all over Japan, from Hokkaido in the north adjacent to Russia, to Okinawa in the south nearby Taiwan.
- Learning Japanese
Hosts are happy to have WWOOFers who are eager to learn to speak Japanese. They will support your efforts to learn the Japanese language.
- Learning general farming & organic farming skills
Have you ever seeded vegetables in a field? Have you ever harvested them? Have you seen sheep or cows or chickens? WWOOFers can have these experiences. If you are already a farmer, you will be able to learn specific methods, such as how to grow green tea, Daikon, Shitake mushrooms, or natural farming, and more.
- Learning organic lifestyles
Some host families are not farmers, but they foster alternate ways of living, such as more sustainable lifestyles. For example, some use composting toilets, don't use fossil fuels, don't use synthetic detergents, help handicapped people, join social movements against nuclear power-plants, pick up garbage on coastlines, and more. You will be able to learn different ways of living in the world.
- Enjoy Japanese food / learn how to cook Japanese food
You will be able to have fresh delicious local Japanese meals. Those vegetables might be the ones which you helped to harvest in the morning. Of course it depends on each host, but Japanese families usually cook a diversity of meals, including general Japanese dishes, western dishes, other oriental dishes, etc. Some hosts know macrobiotic cooking as well.
- Learning about yourself
Apart from the experiences of hosts' places, you will be able to look at yourself in totally different situations. What are you? Who are you? What value can you bring to yourself and the people around you? WWOOFing will be a great stepping stone for your future life.
What should I give
- Support hosts
You will need to participate in the activities the host does at their place for up to 6 hours per day, up to 6 days a week.
The nature of the activities will be various, depending on the host. For example, weeding, seeding, harvesting, watering, chopping wood, feeding animals, shipping vegetables, processing food, cleaning, washing the dishes, helping children's study, building houses, painting, computer support, taking dogs for a walk, shovelling snow, helping at event, making handicrafts.....
If you stay at a host for more than one week, you will have one full day off per week. On days off, you can go sightseeing to the nearest town, or stay at the host's place relaxing.
- Be a family member
You may be a little uneasy when you go WWOOFing at first, and meet the host family. They may be the same.
If you remember, that you are a member of the host's place, then things will go smoothly, and the host family will open their heart to you.
Don't close your heart, but open yourself. Talk to hosts families.
WWOOF Japan endeavours to protect members’ private information. Hosts cannot see WWOOFers’ address, and WWOOFers cannot initially see hosts' private details such as name, exact address, phone number, etc. Once a WWOOFer and a host become connected in the WWOOF Japan website system, the host’s private details are open to the WWOOFer.
WWOOFing is about travel and adventure, and making new friends.
Don't mistake WWOOF for "work". If you inadvertently talk about "work" in relation to your WWOOFing, Japan immigration authorities may deem you to be potentially an illegal immigrant coming to Japan for the purpose of work, and on that basis deny you entry into Japan.
Many people participate in WWOOF in Japan as part of their holiday experiences in Japan. Generally, non-Japanese people enter Japan on a tourist visa, on a Working Holiday visa, or have some form of visa exemptions (Exemptions of Visa, Short - Term Stay). Others join WWOOF Japan while they are already reside in Japan, for example as students at a university with a student visa, or working for a company with a visa sponsorship from their employer.
Obtaining a visa for Japan is entirely a matter between you and the Japanese Consulate General office nearest you. Your travel agent may be able to offer advice. You must NOT join WWOOF Japan as a means to getting a visa or employment. Neither we at the WWOOF Japan office, nor our hosts can assist in any way regarding visa related matters.
If you are from a developing country,ie., an African country, India, Nepal, Pakistan, etc., visas for Japan can be difficult to obtain, so please do not send your payment until you first have contacted the Japanese Consulate General nearest you and arranged your visa.
Here is the link for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan. Please click through their website and you will see a list of Japanese Consulates General in countries all over the world.
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When should I send my registration form?
Probably now is the best time. The initial WWOOFer membership duration is 18 months, to give extra time to use to contact hosts and make plans before you arrive in Japan. If you choose to extend your membership (at great discounts!), you will get 1 additional year at each renewal. Please note, we do not give refunds, so please take care when you join us.
5,500 Japanese Yen
First year memberships are for 18 months duration.
(One year, plus 6 months bonus extra to give you time to plan well in advance)
Most online payment facilities such as PayPal automatically calculate the fee in your home currency. There is also an Off-line payment option. Follow the links to "How to Pay" for details.
How to start?
It is easy. To start WWOOFing in Japan, send your WWOOFer registration form and a membership payment via our website. You will be able to fill in your profile and upload your photo, after your registration is completed.
WWOOFer registration Form