Community Agriculture in Japan
Community Agriculture in Japan
Work side by side with local farmers and learn from them how to plant and harvest crops, protect them from animals and preserve them for winter time.

Work side by side with local farmers and learn from them how to plant and harvest crops, protect them from...

Men drinking tea in Japan
Tea Time
Taking a well earned break

Taking a well earned break

Jigokudani Monkey Park, 6845 Hirao, Yamanochi, Nagano, Japan
Jigokudani Monkey Park
Visit the monkey park in Nagano

Visit the monkey park in Nagano

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Farming in Japan is different from farming in North America or the US. The mountainous Japanese landscape doesn’t allow for big, stretched out fields. Instead many people run their own little farms, tugged into the hills.

The village of Otaki is no different. Many of its inhabitants are growing vegetables and crops, some have animals. They sell their harvest on local markets or in regional supermarkets. But while the younger generation leaves the countryside, the work is getting harder for the ones who stay.

Most people in and around Otaki follow a rather traditional Japanese lifestyle. Their houses merge western elements with traditional Japanese architecture. But with the young generation leaving the countryside, many of the elders are increasingly afraid of their customs dying with them. More than you helping them in their daily work, they appreciate the chance to teach you about their work and their culture.

For Japanese farmers the day typically starts with sunrise. You may be asked to get up early to do some first chores before breakfast. Throughout the rest of the day more work awaits. Depending on the season and weather, expect about 2-5 hours of work per day. During spring, summer and autumn, the work will be mostly outdoors. Tasks e.g. could be:

  • Fertilizing fields
  • Plowing fields
  • Planting / harvesting
  • Maintaining fences to keep out the monkeys and wild boars
  • Maintaining the water supply system During late autumn and winter most work would be done inside. This is when Japanese farmers process their harvest to conserve it throughout the winter or dedicate themselves to local handicraft. Tasks could e.g. be:
  • Processing the harvest to conserve it
  • Preparing conserved meals
  • Local handicraft
  • Preparations for the upcoming spring
  • Scraping snow

    Besides your work on the farm, you will join other participants in Otaki to learn about local culture and explore the surroundings.
    Please note that during the months of January and February participants will assist the elders in the community with snow removal and can engage in winter sports such as sledding or snow trekking as well as the other weather permitting activities described.


  • Give the locals company and a chance to share their culture and experience
  • Support them in their farming tasks


Volunteer experiences have a direct and positive impact on local communities by injecting money into the local economy through the purchase of food, transportation, and tourism activities. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the comunity and make a difference in the world. Depending on the type of volunteer experience you are interested in, your time can be spent improving educational resources and opportunities, providing medical services to underserved communities, or promoting environmental conservation and sustainable farming techniques.

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25 trees will be planted on your behalf for every experience purchased, via our partnership with One Tree Planted.

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1% of gross sales will be donated to 1% for the Planet-approved charities via our partnership with 1% for the Planet.

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Nagano, Japan
Your time in the Nagano Prefecture of Japan will be spent in a small village, amid spectacular mountains, with just about 800 residents. Otaki is a wonderland of nature that hosts many guests, especially during the winter months when there is a nice coat of snow on Mt. Ontake. Japan’s second highest volcano not only is home to a ski resort, but also attracts many spiritual groups and forms of Buddhism. Mt. Ontake is surrounded by an array of different shrines and sacred places and a popular destination for pilgrims.
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Sunday - Arrival

No airport pickup included. You must either:

Meet one of our transfer coordinators at the Shinjuku Bus terminal meeting point below, for info on the airport limo-bus service from NRT Bus from Narita to Shinjuku or HND Bus from Haneda to Shinjuku These buses take you directly inside the Shinjuku Bus Terminal.

There are also a couple local train options that can get you to Shinjuku station and from there you can walk to the Bus Terminal. Those are a bit more involved and might not be the best bet for a first time traveler. Whichever route you decide, you must then go upstairs to 4F information desk to meet the local team Transfer Coordinator at 17:00.

or Make your own way to us in Otaki on Sunday

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Monday - Friday

You may be asked to help out on the farm in the early morning

  • Breakfast
  • Perform a variety of outdoor or indoor tasks
  • Lunch
  • Cultural or outdoor activities together will all participants in Otaki
  • Complete additional tasks on the farm
  • Dinner
  • Cultural or outdoor activities together will all participants in Otaki
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Saturday - Departure

Leave the accommodation early morning on Saturday. Take the local bus from Kiso Fukushima to Shinjuku Bus Terminal in Tokyo. Choose options of local train service to connect to airports, or take a taxi, or take the Express bus to HND (Haneda) or NRT (Narita). Travel time is about 7.5 hours with earliest flights possible Saturday Evening

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  • Shared Accomodation
  • All meals included
  • Free beverages
  • Wifi in public areas
  • Departure Transfer
  • Arrival Transfer (included with 2 wk+ trips)
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  • Extra night accomodation (before experience)$60
  • Extra night accomodation (after experience)$60
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More Information


  • minimum age18
  • minimum english levelBasic
  • CRB RequiredOn signup
  • passport copy requiredNo
  • resume copy requiredNo

Other Requirements

  • There are no further requirements for this program.


Weekdays you will enjoy three meals a day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and two on weekends, during your stay. Meals will be local cuisine and you can expect that they will include rice and vegetables.


While in Otaki, Nagano, Japan you will be staying in a local Homestay or at our participant accommodation (possibility for some amazing camping in a tent during warmer months)10-25 minutes outside of the village by car. Please keep in mind the toilet and shower for the Green House location near the restaurant and campsite are separate from the sleeping accommodation. The homestay at the house provides toilet and shower inside. There may also be a pet dog around the Green House location.

Cancellation Policy

Bookings can be amended and cancelled 30 days before the program start date without any costs. Bookings that are cancelled less than 30 days before the program start date will be charged the first week of the booking.

Community Agriculture in Japan

AvailabilityClosedOur Japan experiences are not currently running
Price per person$920/week
Minimum Duration1 week