Help with reviving abandoned agricultural land and natural rice farming in Katsuragi, Japan

  • Favourited 210 times
  • Last activity: 28 May 2024



 Min stay requested: No minimum



  • Description


    Hi, my name is Atsushi and I’m working on reviving abandoned agricultural lands in Katsuragi, Nara.
    At the moment, I’m working on multiple rice fields, roughly 500㎡ in total and I plant, harvest and process the rice by hand using the traditional method without using large-scale machinery.
    I also take care of a vegetable patch, orchard, backyard garden, ponds, greenhouse dome and bamboo forest.
    Although the house is connected to the grid and you’ve got everything you need for civilised life, I’m working toward energy self-sufficiency as well.
    I have lived in Australia for nine years and I teach English at universities half of the week at the moment. I'm looking for help mainly from Friday to Sunday when I'm working on the field.
    I’m also a qualified Japanese teacher and I'm happy to help if you are learning Japanese.
    Please note that this is a volunteer position. All of this is my passion project and I don't make any money out of this.

  • Types of help and learning opportunities

    Types of help and learning opportunities

    Help with Eco Projects
    DIY and building projects
    Farmstay help
    Help around the house
  • UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN sustainability goals this host is trying to achieve

    UN goals
    No poverty
    Zero hunger
    Good health and well-being
    Quality education
    Gender equality
    Clean water and sanitation
    Affordable and clean energy
    Decent work and economic growth
    Industries, innovation and infrastructure
    Reduce inequality
    Sustainable cities and communities
    Responsible consumption and production
    Climate action
    Life below water
    Life on land
    Peace, justice and strong institutions
    Partnerships for the goals
  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    You’ll get to experience the traditional style of rice farming. It has taught me a lot about observing and working with nature. My joy is not just to get a yield but to work on the field and feel connected to nature, see plants grow, wild life come by. I hope I can share that experience.
    In rural Japan, there are tons of abandoned houses and agricultural lands desperately needing young people who can look after them. I’m still learning through trial and error and it is a hard work but knowing how to turn an abandoned house into an off-grid house and to grow your own food, starting from scratch using only minimum equipment, is really empowering.

  • Help


    The main intake periods are rice planting/wheat harvesting in June and rice harvesting in November.
    I'm looking for help with planting, harvesting, processing mainly rice but also vegetables and fruits here and there.
    I mostly use the natural farming method which doesn’t till the soil or use chemicals so weeding and mulching are another big part of the job to create some space for veges to grow and let air and water flow.
    I’m also looking for help with making firewood, cooking, cleaning and other general help around the house.

    Following are some of potential work depending on your skill, experience or interest:

    If you have experience, knowledge or interest in natural farming, permaculture or any other kinds of alternative farming methods, your help will be much appreciated.

    If you can handle physically demanding work, I’m also setting up another rice field far bigger than the current one starting from scratch. It involves clearing the field and digging swales and setting up irrigation channels.

    If you have building skills, I have lots of DIY projects going on as well. Some of the stuff on my ever-expanding to-do list are
    -Maintenance and upgrading the solar system, well and green house
    -Installing biodigester and solar water heater
    -Building bio sand water filter, aquaponic system, proper firewood storage, bamboo charcoal kiln, waste plastic to diesel distiller etc...

    It’s all self-taught but I have the piano, double bass, drums, didgeridoo and a bunch of other musical instruments including Japanese traditional instruments. Musicians, especially those who can teach piano improvisation, are welcome. Another one of my passion is martial arts. I have an in-house dojo/yoga room as well.

  • Languages

    Languages spoken
    English: Fluent
    Japanese: Fluent
    Spanish: Beginner

    This host offers a language exchange
    My background is linguistics and language teaching. I have lived in Australia for nine years and I teach English at universities. I’m also a qualified Japanese teacher and I'm happy to help if you are learning Japanese. I have also majored in Spanish which I have pretty much forgotten.

  • Accommodation


    I’m living on the property with some fish. You will have your own tatami room with a bed. The house is two story and kitchen, living room and bathroom are shared.
    Although the house is connected to the grid, it is primarily running on solar power and well water so I'd like guests to be mindful about energy usage. I'd like to keep the house tidy and clean and I expect guests to do the same in the shared areas.
    You will be provided with basic plant-based food. I enjoy making food from scratch but cooking is not my strong suit and I usually eat just brown rice, salad and something very simple using things available. It will be great if you can cook something better.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The place is in western Nara, at the foot of the mountain range dividing Nara and Osaka.
    It has easy access to Osaka, roughly half an hour to Tennoji on the train. A bike is available for you to get around. It's on a hill so it takes less than 10 minutes to get to the closest station and shops but 20 minutes on the way back...

    It is on the edge of a historical and agricultural conservation area so the area is chill and beautiful despite its proximity to Osaka. The house is on top of a hill and surrounded by trees and bamboo so it is secluded but has a good view. You get visited by racoons and lots of birds and amphibians, sometimes wild boars, monkeys as well. Most of my neighbours are old-time farmers and there aren't many young people in the neighbourhood so they will generously bombard you with their surpass vege when they spot you.
    Though there’s not so many popular tourist attractions around here, it is where the ancient capital was before Tokyo and Kyoto and the area has got lots of historical heritages, ruins and cool old shrines, some of which still have the ancient form of Shinto. It is also the birthplace of Shugendo, Japanese mountain religion, and there are lots of good short hikes as well.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • Can host digital nomads

    Can host digital nomads

    I teach English online as well and I've got a good wifi connection. I usually turn off wifi after midnight.

  • Space for parking camper vans

    Space for parking camper vans

    There's spare parking for at least two more vehicles.

  • Can possibly accept pets

    Can possibly accept pets

    Depends but please let me know what kind of pet you have.

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 4 days a week (or 3 days a week if you buy your own food)

Host ref number: 614799711631

Feedback (2)


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Accuracy of profile: (5.0)

Cultural exchange: (5.0)

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