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How-To guide: volunteering in Tokyo

Updated: Nov 5, 2023

Volunteer in Tokyo

Tokyo, the bustling metropolis that stands as the beating heart of Japan, is not only famous for its skyscrapers, neon-lit streets, and cutting-edge technology but also for its rich culture, traditions, and warm-hearted people.

As Tokyo continues to evolve into a global hub, the spirit of giving back to the community remains a fundamental part of its identity.

If you're a Tokyo local eager to contribute to your community and enrich your city, or a traveler visiting the city wanting to get closer to local community, volunteering is a meaningful way to do just that. You will find here the main opportunities !

Table of content:

Second Harvest

Second Harvest Logo

As Japan’s first incorporated food bank, they are working with others to create a new public asset,

a food safety-net, so that everyone will have access to food in their own community.

Second Harvest Illustration

How to volunteer

There are 4 different type of shifts you can do:

  1. Volunteer driver: Volunteers use our vehicle to pick up food from a donor and/or deliver food to agencies as needed. A regular volunteer commitment is helpful for our planning, but not required.

  2. Care packages: We prepare care packages which are sent to households introduced to us by agencies and government welfare officials. Volunteers sort donations and pack boxes for shipment.

  3. Pantry: An activity that prepares food for afternoon pantry pickup.

  4. Pantry Pickup (Thursday, Friday, Saturday): An activity to provide food to those who come to the office to pick up food.

Here is the calendar of the activities:

Second Harvest Volunteering calendar

For first timer, you will need to go through the registration process HERE.

Tokyo Spring Homeless Patrol

Tokyo Spring Homeless Patrol logo

Tokyo Spring Homeless Patrol is a group of friends who have been volunteering with the homeless since October 2016.

They conduct weekly patrols in Shinjuku, Ueno and one stretch of the Tama river. They distribute food (cans of fish, rice balls, bento, sandwiches, uncooked rice, bananas, sweets), batteries for portable radios and - upon request - sleeping bags, underwear, mosquito coils in summer and heating pads in winter, gas cassettes and more…to about 600 homeless a month. As well, their friends from YSHP Yokohama Spring Homeless Patrol patrol twice a month and serve about 250 people in Yokohama.

Tokyo Spring homeless photos

How to volunteer

You can join one or more of their weekly patrols as a volunteer. Ueno on Wednesday evenings and Shinjuku on Sunday evenings. They limit the number of volunteers for each patrol. To enquire about volunteering opportunities and availability for the upcoming patrols, send them a DM!

Contact person: Brkić Sulejman





The JOEE project launched in April of 2019 in Japan. They have been hopping along and providing fun and lively, puppet-enhanced English lessons to children in orphanages in Japan ever since! Your continuing support makes those lessons possible.

Volunteer teachers and assistants are trained to provide lively, puppet-assisted English lessons to teach and delight the children using skits, songs, books and games. They focus age group is two to seven years old, when much of a child’s language learning happens. Currently, JOEE provides free English language lessons in five children’s homes in Japan:

  • St. Francisco Children’s Home in Ota-ku, Tokyo

  • Harukaen in Chiba – Matsudo

  • ChofuGakuen in Chofu, Tokyo

  • WakamatsuRyo in Nagoya

  • Shinai Children’s Home in Kobe

JOEE Class in Orphanages

How to volunteer

You can apply directly from Wanna Gonna platform !


YouMeWe Logo


YouMeWe is a Tokyo-based non profit organization that is solely dedicated to nurturing and supporting local students from institutionalized homes. For a decade, their mission is to assist students in becoming fully independent as they reach the age of 18, such as gaining financial literacy.

How to volunteer

They are covering 12 skills to teach in the homes, if you are interested in one or several of those skills, I invite you to register on their website to become a volunteer !

YouMeWe Skills poster

HandsOn Tokyo

HandsOn Tokyo Logo


Hands On Tokyo provides meaningful bilingual volunteer opportunities to foster volunteerism and develop leaders to serve the needs of our community in Tokyo and around.

They are actives and organize activities/support on the following domains :

  • Children and Youth in needs

  • Special Needs

  • Nursing Home

  • Environment

  • LIVE Project (inclusive society regardless of physical and mental capability)

  • Youth Impacts

  • Ukrainian evacuees support

How to volunteer

Step1: Register yourself as Individual Volunteer HERE

Step2: Check the coming events with availabilities to volunteer for HERE and apply directly on their website

Hands On Tokyo Schedule screenshot

Tell Japan

Tell Japan Logo


TELL is a nonprofit organization that has been serving Japan’s international community since 1973. TELL offers free, anonymous, and confidential lifeline support via phone and chat, professional face-to-face counseling, and an extensive outreach program.

Tell Japan photo

How to volunteer

There are 3 domains where you can volunteer:

1. As a Lifeline Support Worker

All Lifeline Support Workers are required to undergo a thorough training and apprenticeship before going on the line. Click here for more details about the training. If you have questions about the training, please contact the Training Manager at

Please find more information on their Wanna Gonna Request:

2. With TELL Events

TELL’s events throughout the year are crucial to our fundraising and awareness efforts. They need people to help in a variety of ways, from set-up and registration, to take down and clean up. If you are interested in helping, you can send a message through WannaGonna.

3. In a TELL Office

There can be opportunities for volunteers to help out in the TELL business office, especially at busy times of the year and when we have special projects in hand. If you are interested in helping, you can send a message through WannaGonna.

SEGO Initiative

Sego Logo


Their purpose is to raise awareness around the environmental challenges that face us and the ocean, their systemic interconnectedness, and socio-economic implications.​ SEGO Initiative is a platform for people who are passionate about making positive changes. They believe that solutions to global challenges start locally so we support grassroots activities that have a measurable positive impact on the community and the environment. When everything seems impossible, they look for the "what can be done" moments.

Sego Team photo

How to volunteer

They are always looking for skilled volunteers to help them in event management, communication, marketing and IT (WIX Website maintenance).

The easiest way to propose your help would be to go on THIS page and click on the button "I want to help !"

Tokyo River Friends

Tokyo River Friend Logo


Tokyo River Friends was founded in early 2017 by members of Jambo International in order to focus on regular monthly clean ups of Tokyo area rivers.

They aim for people to experience the majesty of the rivers in and around Tokyo up close while engaging in productive and fun activities like regular river clean ups followed by picnics or barbecues along the rivers or Tokyo bay waterfronts. Their events will also be an opportunity for like-minded people to meet and make new friends.

Tokyo River Friend Photo

How to volunteer

You can directly check their upcoming events on their website and contact them directly at

Grama Seva

Grama Seva Logo


Grama Seva (Village Service) Japan, officially initiated by a small group of volunteers, and continuously growing with love and support from all over the world, in a feeding program for homeless, currently centered in Yoyogi Park, Shibuya-ku.

Grama Seva photo

How to volunteer

If you want to participate to a distribution on a Sunday, please contact them through their form HERE.

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