As I promise here, this time I would like to share informations regarding WWOOF Japan. This is an awesome program, especially for Travelers who wants to have an adventure in Japan.
Anyone of you ever heard of WWOOF Japan? To be honest, I myself just heard it lately about WWOOF Japan, though the program has actually existed for quite long time in Japan. WWOOF, which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is a program that offers free meal and stay at many countries (on this case, WWOOF Japan offers that chance for Japan regions).
In return, travelers (next will be mentioned as WWOOFers) must work for 4-6 hours per day at the place they are living at. Then, the host will provide foods, drinks, and accomodations as a remuneration for the traveler’s part time job.
Some travelers might think “it is not fun if you have to work”. For travelers who really wants a vacation, the word “working” might bother their vacation mood. But if you are the kind of travelers who love adventure and trying new things, WWOOF Japan clearly would give you an extra challenge. Wanna know what you would get if you join the program?
First, obviously, is an experience to try out several kinds of job. Just like what WWOOF stands for, at the beginning, WWOOF Japan was just focusing on things related to farming. So the jobs that travelers need to do are related to farming, such as watering the field, planting, harvesting, and such.
But lately, the types of host get varied, so does the types of job that travelers shall do. Now there are jobs that require private teacher for children, handicraft makers, waitress for organic cafe, computer programmer, construction workers, and many other more. The host locations are varied too and are well-spread throughout Japan. I would like to make a list of WWOOF Japan host locations, here they are:
- Hokaido Area;
- Tohoku Area (perfecture Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Akita, Yamagata, and Fukushima);
- Kanto Area (perfecture Tochigi, Ibaraki, Gunma, Saitama, Chiba, Tokyo, and Kanagawa);
- Chubu (perfecture Yamanashi, Nagano, Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui, Shizuoka, Aichi, and Gifu);
- Kansai Area (perfecture Mie, Shiga, Kyoto, Nara, Wakayama, Osaka, and Hyogo);
- Chugoku Area (perfecture Okayama, Hiroshima, Tottori, Shimane, and Yamaguchi);
- Shikoku Area (perfecture Kagawa, Tokushima, Kouchi, dan Ehime);
- Kyushu Area (perfecture Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima, dan Okinawa).
Quite a lot, isn’t it? So WWOOFers can choose their tourism location as they desire, and choose their host that offers job as they wish. WWOOFers can also try out many kinds of jobs they never did before. How fun could that be?
Second of all, you need to remember that most jobs offered by the host only require about 4-6 hours per day, with workdays of about 5-6 days a week (depending on the host). So you still have free time for vacationing, either it is afterwork hours or on your holiday.
There are also quite plenty of hosts doubling as tour guide and willing to take the WWOOFers to visit nice places, or at least lending out a transportation, like bicycle or such. Considering that plus free meals and accomodations from the host (plus experience you would get), working for 4-6 hours per day seems to make sense, doesn’t it?
Other interesting point is, WWOOF Japan also opens up a chance for WWOOFers to get to know with Japanese everyday culture. You can make friendships with fellow WWOOFers from other countries, befriend the locals, or get any other cultural experience. According to Facebook WWOOF Japan, there was also a WWOOFer who fell in love and got married with her host (and now they are host for other WWOOFers).
Activity at WWOOF Japan [photo source: Strikeael, via creative commons] Interested to be WWOOFers? Then you need to know that to stay in with the host, you will not have to pay at all. But only those who are registered as the member of WWOOF Japan could be WWOOFers, and you need to be at least 16 years old to be WWOOFers.
And one more thing you need to know, to be WWOOFers, you will have to pay for about ¥5500 for a year of membership. It is pretty frugal if you compare it with the accomodation budget you would spend per night in Japan as a tourist.
Also, that ¥5500 was just for your first year. On the second year, you would only need to renew your membership by paying ¥5000. The third and fourth year, it would be ¥3000, while the fifth year and so would be only ¥1500/year.
Up to this point, have you guys understood it well? In an easy way, here are the steps you need to take:
- You need to be WWOOFers first to join this program. The steps are: register online (or offline by visiting the office at Sapporo), and pay the registration fee (via PayPal, bank transfer, etc.)
- Once you are a WWOOFer, member could access various informations regarding the host and jobs offered. Member then can contact the host to get more detailed informations about the jobs to do (including the working hours per day, holidays, and duration of stay). Member also needs to make sure if whether the position would still be available at the desired date. It is important to know that you are not allowed to contact the host before being a WWOOFer Japan.
- On the appointed date, member comes to the host’s place by bringing ID and WWOOF Permit document (one document for each host to apply). Next, WWOOFers will get briefings from the host and can start working.
- Pretty easy, right?
Oh and about visa fee, trip ticket, and transportations to reach the host’s place, all are paid by the WWOOFers themselves. Even the visa is just a regular tourism visa, because the activies at WWOOF are considered as a part of tourism activities. And you don’t need to be worried if you can’t speak Japanese.
Most hosts know basic English and are very open to strangers. Vice versa, WWOOFers can also learn Japanese (or make it more fluent), as most hosts are happy if their workers are willing to learn Japanese (now you get free language course, lol).. I hope this information is useful!
– If you want more detailed information regarding WWOOF Japan, kindly visit its official website here.
– Prices may change unexpectedly
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