WWoofing in Japan

by Alana Bonzi

wwoof-leadBeyond the faces and places, the hustle and bustle, the trains, the concrete, and technology lies another face of Japan.

Hidden, but easy to find if you choose to seek it out—a simpler life, an earthy existence, a different experience. There is something about having your hands in dirt, taking care of plants and animals, like at Minsyuku www.furusato.or.jp/eng/

The idea is for more meaningful interaction with the local community while sharing your culture and expertise, and learning along the way. One such network is WWOOF—World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

wwoof-japanIt offers the opportunity to pass a day or two on working organic farms or to engage in traditional activities in communities not too far from Tokyo and other large cities. WWOOF is a facilitator—it helps people meet and share with others. In Japan, hosts are working farms, inns and minshuku and WWOOFers pay ¥5,500 to join in their daily tasks.

According to WWOOF, in many cases the workday is six hours, and the price includes meals, accommodation, learning about the work done there, and being included as a member of the family. There are dairy, fruit and vegetable farms, and you can learn indigo dyeing, rice planting, farming and fishing—the chance to “Get below it and away from your daily grind, have genuine and meaningful experiences with people, society and culture, in all kinds of walks of life, in hundreds of locations all over Japan”.

The testimonies on the website bear witness to profound experiences awaiting those who dare to leave Tokyo and venture into the inaka for a day or two. www.wwoofjapan.com