On 8th July 2015, I embarked on yet another trip to Japan. However, this wasn't just a regular vacation. It was a work + holiday trip. In June 2015, I signed up for a one year membership with WWOOFJAPAN. Prior to this trip, I have already visited Japan several times, but I wanted it to be a different experience this time. Besides, I had so much time on hand, so why not try something different, right?
So, what does it mean to be a participant of WWOOF? It is actually very similar to working holiday. However, participants of WWOOF do not get paid. They work/help out their hosts for "X" amount of hours a day in exchange for accommodation & meals and with 1-2 day off a week, depending on the terms set by the host.
I decided to give this a try because I have always wanted to experience how it is like to live & work in Japan, plus I wanted to photograph & make aerial videos of the beautiful country with my drone. To do this well, I would need more time to know the place well.
After landing in Osaka airport, I stayed for a night in a budget hotel. It felt more like a capsule hotel, but it was cheap for the price; 1800yen with basic furnishing and decently clean.
Getting to Takayama city the following morning was easy. There are essentially 2 methods that you can take.
1. Direct bus service from Kintetsu Namba Station, which takes 5.5hrs and costs 4700 yen.
2. Shinkansen (Bullet Train) from Osaka to Nagoya and transfer to the Hida Express train that will take you straight to Takayama, which takes about 3.5hrs and costs 10,000 yen.
More information can be found in the below links:
For train & bus fare calculation, route planning, use the below link:
I opted for the direct bus route to Takayama, but I would highly recommend the train option for first time visitors for one simple reason; the scenery along the way on board the Hida Express is breathtaking! Remember to take the train in the day though!
Arriving Takayama in the late afternoon, I found Keiko waiting for me at the corner of the train station with her mini van, and soon it was time to check out my new room for the next 4 weeks :)
WWOOF-ing at an organic farm was hard work, but it was an extremely fun & enriching experience. I learnt how to grow vegetables from their seeds, planting saplings in the soil, harvesting, packing for sales & the toughest of all, weeding!
Harvest from the farm was exceptionally fresh. The best part was that you could just harvest the type of vegetables you want for dinner for just minutes before you cook it. It can't get any fresher than that and it is organic :)
Check it out below!
Fresh produce from the organic farm would be sold during mid-day, so I had to wake up early in the morning to help out with the weighing and packing of vegetables.
On my off days, I would be out exploring the countryside, flying my drone, hoping to capture beautiful aerial photographs & videos!
I'll let the pictures & videos do the talking
My WWOOF experience in Japan doesn't just end here, Suwa's farm was just my first host. However, I actually stayed with total of 3 different hosts in this trip. Stay tune, more to come soon!