• Life & Culture

Lending a hand: Volunteering in Japan

Volunteering in Japan reaches right to the core of the Japanese culture and community spirit. You will find a myriad of volunteer opportunities in Japan that offer many different ways to enhance the health and well-being of communities. As a non-Japanese resident, it is likely your contribution to the community, should you wish to make one, will be received by the community with honor.


Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region of Japan in March 2011, there has been an increase in the range of volunteer opportunities available. There are many opportunities to take part in the rebuilding efforts as well as a growing number of opportunities focusing on “kokoro no care,” that is, mental/emotional care to children and the elderly. All volunteering in the Tohoku Region should be done through an organization.


If you are interested in volunteering, we recommend talking with people in your local community to find out what is available and, more importantly, where the community would benefit from your contribution the most. Although many budding volunteers have the best of intentions, if you do not do your research before you may find that your willingness may not be as gratefully received as intended.


To give you an insight into one such not-for-profit organization working for the good of the Tohoku region, we have profiled the work of Playground for Hope:


The Playground of Hope is a “social fabric” project that aims to restore playgrounds in disaster-affected Tohoku communities as quickly and efficiently as possible so as to enhance economic recovery by making communities “livable” again for children, their parents, and grandparents. Like a school, hospital, or retirement home, parks are an important part of any healthy community. The Playground of Hope is where parents take their children to exercise through play, where elderly can go to enjoy passing time, and where all residents can visit to find hope for the future rebuilding of their community. Click here to learn more about the Playground of Hope.


Links to other volunteer groups in Japan: