At various National Parks of Japan volunteer assignments related to nature-based tourism and ecotourism are possible.
At Joshinnetsu National Park in the town of Karuizawa you support biologists in the provision of guided visitor tours through the forests, with bird watching activities, nocturnal sightings of Flying Squirrels, and observations of the night sky. You also provide information in English at the visitor centre. It is for instance part of the preparation of tours to spot inhabited nests of Flying Squirrels in the forest prior to the tour, to make sure that visitors can definitely witness the Flying Squirrels' night activities. When there are groups, you will make sure that nobody gets lost in the forest or is leaving the trails. Simulatanously you can also join the protection project for Asian Black Bears.
At Ise-Shima National Park you will assist at the visitor centre of the Ama women. Ama are women who, without any diving equipment, but only using century-old traditional techniques, are diving in the ocean to gather seafood in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. The Ama women are also recognized as the inventors of pearl cultivation. Their techniques and knowledge is a UNESCO cultural world heritage. Besides assisting at the visitor centre, you will accompany boat tours that have a biological and cultural focus. During the summer months, visitors can enjoy millions of Sea Fireflies (Vargula hilgendorfii) at night. The placement at Ise-Shima National Park is possible in English.
In Takayama, in southern Japan, you can support a local tourism initiative in the preparation and guiding of cycling and walking tours in English through rural Japan.
We can arrange further placements at Japanese National Parks, for which it is however necessary to have Japanese language skills, such as at the maintenance of the Shin-Etsu hiking trails in the Sekida mountains, and at Ogasawara Islands National Park (also known as Bonin Islands). As the Ogasawara Islands have never been connected to the Asian continent, similar to Galapagos Islands, they have developed an endemic fauna and flora. You can assist with tours and boat excursions that have a biological focus.
There are tourism professionals and biologists at the projects that can supervise internships and dissertations.
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