What is WWOOF?
WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. While it took other names, this is the most recent and well understood.
Wwoofing is a volunteer based activity on organic farms. There are hosts, or farmers, that are willing to allow volunteers to work on their farms in exchange for food and board. This is a great opportunity for traveling another country. Learning to farm, and experiencing the depths of life from a variety of regions gets you into the heart of the world.
Why you should be thinking of wwoofing in Japan
There are many reasons you might want to, or not want to. Let’s take a look:
You get to travel the world for cheap
Wwoofing is free! Well, that’s partially the case. Some areas like Japan have a yearly fee to participate, but that’s a minor detail that one can easily overlook. Factor in plane tickets and transportation, you will spend a little bit of money moving around. Nevertheless, by wwoofing you can stay in a country as long as your visa permits. You’re not directly under a working visa as you don’t acquire money, sharing your time in exchange for wonderful experiences.
You become one with the locals, bridging the tourist gap
Wwoofing in a different country like Japan, we were able to see the surrounding area, eat with the locals, soak in natural hot springs and participate in the town’s annual festival.
Eating every day with our host, they provided us with star chef like vegan meals. From chickpea burgers, Veggie Okonomiyaki, dried permission fruit, eggplant curry… the variety was endless.
We also learned about Japanese culture, living in a traditional home—without insulation! Heating up a bath over 30+ minutes to share with our hosts was an experience to remember. Also meditating, doing yoga, and developing a deeper understanding of who our hosts were, we grew ourselves and vis versa. You build a relationship, not just one of working. They aren’t your boss as much as guides that invite you into their world for a brief moment in time.
You learn where your food comes from
Seeing where your food comes from is a major stepping stone to developing a healthy lifestyle. Further, you’re now part of that process: planting seeds, watering crops, weeding, tilling, harvesting edamame, etc. You learn to experience the full cycle of not only where your food comes from but how it comes to be. You’ll grow to appreciate the foods you eat more than ever, with muddy hands and an exhausted body at the days end.
You shouldn’t wwoof in Japan if…
You have no interest in farming
You’re not willing to work for free
You have health problems that limit your ability to work
You don’t want to sacrifice your every day on a farm
You refuse to wash yourself in cold water
You’re unwilling to get dirty and sweaty
You avoid uncomfortable experiences
You have no interest in dealing with language barriers
It goes without saying that with no drive to push your own boundaries, you won’t be doing much different than what you are comfortable with now. Wwoofing is a new experience and with that, basic requirements delve more with who you are as an individual rather than skills to acquire, background experience to pull from or other technical know-how to get the job done.
We know you’re more than capable than this silly list, but it must be said. If you’re looking to find out more about what Wwoofing actually entails on the day to day, look no further than below:
What does WWOOFing in Japan look like?
We at Polywander embarked on a 5 month trip through Asia on a budget. Wwoofing provided a budget friendly way to travel through Japan for a longer period of time, and soak our minds within the culture. Our wwoofing experience began the 25th of October 2018 and ended on the 4th of November. We knew little at the time what our excursion to the mountainous regions of Keihoku would be like at Hello Farm Organics, but having done so has enriched our life for the better.
To show you what we did on our journey may help support your own in the future. Follow along below through our 10 day wwoofing experience to see how it went for us!
And that’s a wrap folks! We hope you enjoyed this as much as we did. It’s surely much harder to convey every experience we had through little excerpts, but nonetheless it encapsulates how it went for us.
Let us know what you think, or if we missed something. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask us in the comments below or email us! Thank you for reading. :)