Community Agriculture

Nagano - Japan

Community Agriculture

Nagano - Japan

Only 900€ per week!

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.

The population in and around the village of Otaki is aging while young Japanese are leaving, pursuing a life and work in one of the big cities. The older population, staying in Otaki, appreciates a helping hand in their daily tasks. But even more so, they enjoy the company and the chance to share their knowledge and experience.

Community Engagement
Physical Demand


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Program Description

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.

Aims & Objectives

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


Monday to 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

   Note:   This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:

Maximum age:

Minimum English level: Basic

CRB required: On Signup

Passport copy required: No

Resume copy required: No

Required qualification: None

Additional Requirements

There are no further requirements for this program.

Additional Equipment

There are no further requirements for this program.


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.

About the Accommodation

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.

Food Arrangements

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.


The village of Otaki features an ATM, two convenience stores and a post office. These may not be in walking distance from your accommodation, but you’ll have the chance to stop by there several times during the week.

Activities & Events

Monday to Friday

Besides your program you will join some cultural or outdoor activities every day. These depend on the season and local circumstances. Some examples:

  • Visit typical local neighborhood house
  • Learn about Japanese bathing culture and how Japanese shower
  • Visit a natural hot spring
  • Take a traditional bath over a fire
  • Learn about local plants and flowers
  • Go to the river and cool down
  • Learn how to make origami
  • Join a Matcha tea ceremony
  • Trek up a hill to a viewpoint. Spot animal traces on the way.
  • Learn how to make sushi
  • Dye textiles with natural colors
  • Go to Otaki’s convenience store and ATM
  • Climb up to a sacred shrine above Otaki
  • Trek on the pilgrims trail leading up into the mountains
  • Join a traditional purification ceremony under a sacred waterfall
  • Make Japanese paper
  • Practice Kendo (Japanese sword fighting)

Sights & Surroundings

Otaki is a nature lover’s paradise with many outdoor activities possible year round. Great place for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking and kayaking on the lake. Major points of interest include: Mt. Ontake, Shintaki Waterfall and Tanoharatenen Park.


From this location we do not provide free transport to other locations.


Hospitality & Tourism Development Internship

English Exchange

Community Agriculture

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