Become a WWOOFer

Let's go WWOOFing in Japan!

How to start?
It is easy.  To start WWOOFing in Japan, send your WWOOFer application form and a membership payment via our website. But before that, please read this page!




Who are WWOOFers?

WWOOFers are often traveling in Japan.  As part of their holiday, WWOOFers help Hosts with what they do at their place, in return for the Host providing them with accommodation, meals and social engagement.  WWOOFers are not workers, but part of the Hosts' place, like family and friends.


Membership payment?
The annual WWOOFer membership fee for one adult is 5,500 yen.


Membership Discounts?
The annual WWOOFer membership fee for one adult from the second year onward is as follows:
2nd year:   Bronze, a 500 yen discount, so 1 Adult membership fee will be 5,000 yen
3rd & 4th year:  Silver, a 2,500 yen discount, so 1 Adult membership fee will be 3,000 yen
5th year and ongoing:  Gold, a 4,000 yen discount, so 1 Adult membership fee will be 1,500 yen


Who can be a WWOOFer?
WWOOFers must be people who want to receive meals, accommodation and social engagement, in return for giving their time and effort in support of what Hosts do at their place, and who are keen to learn and experience things from Hosts. WWOOFers must read the WWOOF Japan website, and agree to abide by WWOOF rules.


Age?
WWOOFers in Japan must be over 16 years of age and over. 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.  More than half of WWOOFers are in their 20s & 30s, however many mature aged WWOOFers have great time WWOOFing in Japan. WWOOFers in their 70s and 80s are also enjoying WWOOFing very much.


Language?
You don't speak Japanese to go WWOOFing in Japan. 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 also Hosts who understand a little German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, etc.


Money?
An adult annual WWOOFer membership fee for one person is just 5,500 yen for the first year; discounts are offered after the first year.
5,500 yen is about 50 US dollars, which is what it costs to say in cheap accommodation for just one night in Japan.  Because Hosts provide accommodation and meals to WWOOFers (the 2 biggest costs to travelers) for many days and weeks, WWOOFing is a very economical way of travelling in Japan. You need to pay all your public transportations costs yourself.


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, pensions, centers for the environment, and more.  You can learn new skills through WWOOFing; please see more details in the Host Previews section of our website.


WWOOFers traveling alone?  Safe?
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 Host provide separate and private accommodation for WWOOFers, sometimes in a separate building. Please see these and other details in the Host Previews section of our website.


What can I get?

- Meals
All meals are provided while you are WWOOFing at a Host (In your free time, if you go sightseeing and leave the Host, at that time you may have to pay for your own meals).  If you have special dietary requirements, the Host may ask you to prepare your own meals.

- Accommodation
You will be given a place to sleep. The type of sleeping arrangements provided differs 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 to meet great people!"  Think about 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 fold an Origami crane for you?  You will meet a variety of people through WWOOFing.  Not only Hosts' families, but you will also meet local people. 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 situated 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 looked after 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 learn about  Aigamo duck farming, natural farming, and more.

- Learning organic lifestyle
Some Host families are not farmers, but their lives fostering alternate ways of life, such as more sustainable lifestyles.  For example, some use composting toilets, don't use fossil fuels, don't use synthetic detergents, help handy-capped 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 harvested 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 help at the Hosts' place up to 6 hours per day, up to 6 days a week.
The nature of the support you give 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.  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.
Please remember, that you are a member of the Host place, then things will go smoothly, and Host family will open their heart 100% to you.

- Communication
Don't close your heart, but open yourself.  Talk to Hosts families.


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 Host can I visit?
As many as you want to during the course of your 12 month membership period.  You can extend your membership.  You will receive a discount of between 9% and 72% if you extend your WWOOF Japan membership.


What do I need to take to a Host?

(1) WWOOFer Permit.  

You will be able to access and printout your WWOOFer Permit.  You MUST take this with you and give it to each Host you go to.
(2) Your ID
You need to show your passport to the Host, in conjunction with giving the Host a copy of your WWOOFer Permit.  Hosts will want to verify that the person shown in your WWOOFer Permit, and you, are in fact the same person.
(3) Personal belongings
Your personal belongings: toothbrush, bath towels, casual clothing for farming, any medication you take, etc.  Also some money for you to use public transportation to go to and from the Host's place.


How to start?
It is easy.  To start WWOOFing in Japan, send your WWOOFer application form and a membership payment via our website.
Your application form will become your profile for Hosts to see and consider whether or not they can have you visit them.  It is important to write about yourself sincerely in your profile.  You will be able to upload your photo, and edit your profile, after your registration is completed.
One adult membership fee is 5,500 yen.  You can send it by PayPal, and it will automatically calculate into your home currency.  There is also an Off-line payment option.  Follow the links to "How to Pay" for details.


When should I send my Application form?
There are several options relating to the commencement date of your WWOOF Japan membership, namely:  IMMEDIATELY, in 2 WEEKS, in 1 MONTH, in 2 MONTHS, in 3 MONTHS, in 6 MONTHS.  You can choose a commencement date in the future ( for example, in 6 MONTHS), but get immediate full membership access and begin contacting Host right away to make plans. Note, you cannot go to Hosts places before your membership commencement date. We cannot change starting dates, so if you are thinking that you may change your plan to go to Japan earlier, we suggest you select the  "Immediately" option. 
Please note, we do not give refunds, so please take care when you join us.


After sending my Application form, then what?
If you pay by PayPal, credit card, or other online means, your membership should be available to you immediately.  If you pay by on offline means, after we receive your payment, we will active your account, so that you will be able to login the members only pages.  You will have your own username which will be automatically issued.

(1) Login the WWOOF Japan.  You will be able to see:
Host List
My Profile
WWOOFer Permit
Guidelines and information
Arranging with Hosts
How to Use
Notice Board
Japanase for WWOOFers

(2) Select a Host
Choose a prefecture first.  There are 47 prefectures in Japan.  And open the Host List.
You can see "Members" tab and you will know the Host type, the number people at the Host, Host's age, where the Host was born, hobbies, experiences living abroad, the frequency the Host checks their email, things WWOOFers should bring to the Host, etc.
*Note: Each Host's private information such as their names, street address, phone numbers and how to get to their place, are not at first visible to WWOOFers.
After you send a request to a Host, and after the Host accepts you, then you will get access to their private information.

(3) Contacting Hosts via the WWOOFer & Host Secure Messaging system
You will send your "message" to Hosts through the WWOOFer & Host Secure Messaging system, in the members' area.  Hosts will reply to you in the same way.

(4) Meeting Hosts
After receiving the Host's private information, you can phone the Host to discuss the meeting time and place.
Usually Hosts will come to meet you at a train station or bus stop closest to their place.

(5) Orientation
Hosts give you instructions on how to do WWOOFing at their place during an orientation after you arrive.  At that time, you must give the Host a copy of your WWOOFer Permit, and show your ID (passport).

(6) Notice Board
You can post messages on a Notice Board that members can see.



With Friend(s) & family?
If you are planning to travel with friend(s) or family, those persons will each need to send an application form and payment, and become a WWOOF Japan member BEFORE Hosts are contactedPlease 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 likewise 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.  If you plan to go WWOOFIng with a child(ren), from 0 to 5 years membership is free. From 6 to 15 years, 2,750yen. All Child information must be provided in his or her guardian's application form.


Visa?
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. 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 url 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.



WWOOFer Application Form


WWOOF Japan  Honcho 2-jo, 3-chome 6-7, Higashi-ku, Sapporo, 065-0042  JAPAN
E-mail: Contact Form   Fax number from within Japan: (03) 4496-6370    Fax number from outside Japan: +81 3 4496-6370

WWOOF Japan LLP (Limited Liability Partnership)