Japan Gap Years

Overview and Highlights

A gap year in Japan is guaranteed to be an eye-opening experience for gap year travellers. Japan blends the ancient and futuristic like no other country. Of all the developed nations in the world it exudes uniqueness in cultural and technological terms, not bowing to globalisation in quite the same way as most western destinations.

Japan is a wonderfully safe option for a career break or extended holiday and appeals to many different types of traveller and tourist. Tokyo is one of the busiest and most captivating cities in the world and whilst it can seem chaotic, it is uber-modern and runs with hard-to- believe efficiency. At the other end of the spectrum, Japan has a vast number of picturesque rural villages and remote communities that are perfect for those wanting to escape the modern world.

Japan is also a delight for gastronomes, with Tokyo having more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city. As well as unbeatable top-end eating, Japan is also famed for more rustic dishes such as ramen and, of course, sushi. Eating out in Japan is also relatively inexpensive, which may surprise many, and further adds to its allure for food-lovers.

Kyoto in many ways epitomises Japan and again it is the blend of the ancient and the modern that adds to its fascination. Formerly the capital city, Kyoto is renowned for its Shinto and Buddhist shrines, temples and impeccably kept gardens, several of which are designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. However, it also offers marvellous people-watching opportunities, brilliant night life and incredible food.

Japan Gap Year Companies

We found 18 companies in our database that provide Japan gap years. Choose one below to learn more.

Gap Provider What They Offer Learn More
Gap Provider
CESA Languages Abroadbrand-logoLive in a new country, improve your language skills, mix with native speakers and share the experience with like-minded language learners from across the world! Have fun exploring the CESA world of language learning.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Live in a new country, improve your language skills, mix with native speakers and share the experience with like-minded language learners from across the world! Have fun exploring the CESA world of language learning.
i-to-ibrand-logoA TEFL course opens doors. Not only will you experience new cultures in a way no tourist ever could, but you'll also meet friends for life whilst sharpening your teaching skills. What's more, there's a huge demand for English teachers worldwide - and all you need is our internationally-recognised i-to-i qualification to start your adventure. Exciting times!Visit Site »
What They Offer: A TEFL course opens doors. Not only will you experience new cultures in a way no tourist ever could, but you'll also meet friends for life whilst sharpening your teaching skills. What's more, there's a huge demand for English teachers worldwide - and all you need is our internationally-recognised i-to-i qualification to start your adventure. Exciting times!
Africa and Asia Venturebrand-logoAfrica & Asia Venture (AV) is a not-for-profit social enterprise. Based in the UK and established in 1993, AV specialises in gap year and summer volunteer projects in the developing world for 17 - 25 year olds.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Africa & Asia Venture (AV) is a not-for-profit social enterprise. Based in the UK and established in 1993, AV specialises in gap year and summer volunteer projects in the developing world for 17 - 25 year olds.
Project Trustbrand-logoProject Trust has 50 years experience of providing Gap Year opportunities for 17-19 year old school leavers. Since 1967, over 7000 Project Trust volunteers have challenged themselves, learnt about the world and discovered how to be a positive force within it. Now its your turn.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Project Trust has 50 years experience of providing Gap Year opportunities for 17-19 year old school leavers. Since 1967, over 7000 Project Trust volunteers have challenged themselves, learnt about the world and discovered how to be a positive force within it. Now its your turn.
Gapforcebrand-logoWe've been delivering life-changing adventure travel programs for over 20 years. That's why we're a leader in gap year programs.Visit Site »
What They Offer: We've been delivering life-changing adventure travel programs for over 20 years. That's why we're a leader in gap year programs.
Oyster Worldwidebrand-logoOyster Worldwide is a well-regarded gap year travel and responsible travel specialist. Many of our projects were founded in 1999 and have been nurtured and supported by us ever since. We are known for running life-changing gap year programs, giving you the opportunity to make a genuine contribution and for the first class support you receive.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Oyster Worldwide is a well-regarded gap year travel and responsible travel specialist. Many of our projects were founded in 1999 and have been nurtured and supported by us ever since. We are known for running life-changing gap year programs, giving you the opportunity to make a genuine contribution and for the first class support you receive.
Frontierbrand-logoGap Years, Volunteering and Inspirational Adventures 103,000 Successful Volunteer Placements since 1989.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Gap Years, Volunteering and Inspirational Adventures 103,000 Successful Volunteer Placements since 1989.
Travellers Worldwidebrand-logoEnrich your life and change you and the lives of others with a volunteering holiday as a vacation, on a gap year or career break, or by gaining valuable work experience to boost your CV/ResumeVisit Site »
What They Offer: Enrich your life and change you and the lives of others with a volunteering holiday as a vacation, on a gap year or career break, or by gaining valuable work experience to boost your CV/Resume
Lattitude Global Volunteeringbrand-logoOur mission is to educate and develop young people worldwide by providing opportunities to volunteer abroad and to make a positive difference to the lives of others through a distinctive, challenging, structured and supported overseas volunteering experience in a culture and community different from their own.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Our mission is to educate and develop young people worldwide by providing opportunities to volunteer abroad and to make a positive difference to the lives of others through a distinctive, challenging, structured and supported overseas volunteering experience in a culture and community different from their own.
Raleigh Internationalbrand-logoRaleigh is a sustainable development organisation with 30 years of expertise in working through, for and with young people to create lasting change.With our project partners, local communities, funders, and over 42,000 previous local and international volunteers, we form a global community who are passionate about working together to build a sustainable future.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Raleigh is a sustainable development organisation with 30 years of expertise in working through, for and with young people to create lasting change.With our project partners, local communities, funders, and over 42,000 previous local and international volunteers, we form a global community who are passionate about working together to build a sustainable future.
Projects Abroadbrand-logoFor over 20 years Projects Abroad have been experts in volunteering abroad, work experience and gap year placements. Founded in 1992, Projects Abroad has now sent nearly 100,000 volunteers from all walks of life to volunteer projects in the developing world.Visit Site »
What They Offer: For over 20 years Projects Abroad have been experts in volunteering abroad, work experience and gap year placements. Founded in 1992, Projects Abroad has now sent nearly 100,000 volunteers from all walks of life to volunteer projects in the developing world.
Coral Cay Conservationbrand-logoCoral Cay Conservation is an award winning NGO that specialises in the organisation of community based coral reef and tropical forest expeditions.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Coral Cay Conservation is an award winning NGO that specialises in the organisation of community based coral reef and tropical forest expeditions.
Pacific Discoverybrand-logoPacific Discovery offers experiential gap year semester and summer programs abroad to some of the most amazing places on earth. Our programs are deliberate overland journeys, blending authentic immersion in diverse cultures, meaningful service-learning projects, rewarding adventures, wilderness exploration, and personal development.Visit Site »
What They Offer: Pacific Discovery offers experiential gap year semester and summer programs abroad to some of the most amazing places on earth. Our programs are deliberate overland journeys, blending authentic immersion in diverse cultures, meaningful service-learning projects, rewarding adventures, wilderness exploration, and personal development.
Global Vision Internationalbrand-logoWe're a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).Visit Site »
What They Offer: We're a family-run organisation with an amazing culture and an awesome team of people across the world who are passionate experts in their chosen field and will make your experience a truly unforgettable one (in a good way).
The Leapbrand-logoWith The Leap, every program on offer involves variety. You'll travel to several different places across the country you've chosen to visit, and take part in all sorts of activities along the way. One week you could be entertaining local kids whilst living with an indigenous tribe, the next you could be taking surf lessons on the Pacific Ocean.Visit Site »
What They Offer: With The Leap, every program on offer involves variety. You'll travel to several different places across the country you've chosen to visit, and take part in all sorts of activities along the way. One week you could be entertaining local kids whilst living with an indigenous tribe, the next you could be taking surf lessons on the Pacific Ocean.
Gap Gurubrand-logoGapGuru is a gap travel specialist offering a wide range of exciting gap year volunteering, teaching, travel and internship opportunities across Asia, Africa, South America and Europe.Visit Site »
What They Offer: GapGuru is a gap travel specialist offering a wide range of exciting gap year volunteering, teaching, travel and internship opportunities across Asia, Africa, South America and Europe.
POD Volunteeringbrand-logoPod Volunteer is an award winning non-profit organisation arranging ethical, inspiring and supported volunteering opportunities around the world since 2001. Volunteers are needed from 1 - 12 weeks for animal, conservation, child care support, education and teaching, building and community volunteering projectsVisit Site »
What They Offer: Pod Volunteer is an award winning non-profit organisation arranging ethical, inspiring and supported volunteering opportunities around the world since 2001. Volunteers are needed from 1 - 12 weeks for animal, conservation, child care support, education and teaching, building and community volunteering projects
Outreach Internationalbrand-logoWe make volunteering abroad possible for gap year students, career break volunteers (those with specialist skills or just wanting a change), and increasingly retired persons who have a life-time of experience and skills to share with a community.Visit Site »
What They Offer: We make volunteering abroad possible for gap year students, career break volunteers (those with specialist skills or just wanting a change), and increasingly retired persons who have a life-time of experience and skills to share with a community.

Gap Year Opportunities

There are a huge range of options for anyone visiting Japan, be it for a few weeks, or for a year or more. Teaching English is perhaps the most popular option in a country thirty for knowledge, whilst volunteer programmes to help the country’s large elderly population, assist in schools or undertake conservation work are also possibilities. However, lesser known opportunities exist to work in ski resorts, such as the relatively undiscovered Tenjindaira, in farming communities and in more casual roles in the major cities. An internship at one of Japan’s many multi-nationals is also a possibility for those so inclined.

Of course, if your time in Japan is going to be more of a holiday, the options as a tourist are even wider. Hiking and trekking is a brilliant way to spend anything from an afternoon to a few days. The more adventurous could climb the 3,776m of the iconic Mount Fuji, the picture perfect epitome of a snow capped volcano. Newcomers are sure to enjoy the peaceful bamboo forests and remote shrines of the ancient Nakasendo Way. Just keep an eye out for bears!

Other highlights include the endless miles of coastline, countless islands and numerous stunning beaches, such as the idyllic Yonaha Maehama on Miyako Island. Lovers of history will also fall in love with the country. Whether your interest is ancient temples, tails of geishas, the samurai and shoguns or the more modern tragedies at Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the past is ever-present in Japan.

Practicalities, Health and Safety

Travelling to Japan is incredibly safe and easy compared to many other gap year destinations. Most visitors do not need a visa, there are usually no health concerns (as ever, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice to be sure) and getting around is quick and easy thanks to the inexpensive and extremely efficient rail network.

Japan has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and whilst common sense should be exercised it is usually safe to walk around and use public transport at any time of the day or night. Last but certainly not least, it is well worth noting that Japan is surprisingly affordable. The Post Office’s 2018 Holiday Money Report found Tokyo to be the cheapest long haul holiday destination. Using their holiday “shopping basket”, Japan’s capital came out cheaper than Cape Town, Bali and even Vietnam’s Hoi An!