Monthly Archive April 2017

ByMark Guthrie
Apr 28, 2017

Getting Fit – The Best Places to Jog in Nagoya

If like me you are struggling to shift those few extra pounds picked up over the winter, you may be looking at the coming summer months and wanting to get back into shape before you hit the beach. There are plenty of ways you can do this. You could head to one of the city’s excellent public swimming pools, you could join a gym, but if you are more of an outdoorsy type, maybe you would prefer to go for a run.

Here are a few ideas for places at which to stretch your legs and shift those extra pounds.

Meijo Park

Attractive, close to Sakae and relatively small, the track that runs around Meijo Park is absolutely ideal for no fuss, straightforward jogging, particularly for shorter distances. The track that skirts the park is about 1km with distance markings meaning that as you go round you can track your progress, and being mostly in the shade, it is ideal for avoiding the summer heat. It also has some pretty good facilities, including a workout area with parallel bars, a pull-up bar and a bench for sit ups (all found in a small children’s play area at the north of the park), as well as lockers and showers. on the downside, the track gets really crowded on weekends, particularly in the mornings.

Tsuruma Park

Tsuruma means “where water runs”, but that’s not all that runs in Tsuruma park. Like the aforementioned Meijo Park, this is very much ideal for urban joggers. As well as having charming gardens and the beautiful cherry blossom trees, there are excellent public transport connections, with both JR and subway lines serving it, giving you no excuse to not go! The path that skirts the park is 2km, which gives it a greater scope for running than Meijo, but if you find that a little bit daunting you can also run around the paths inside the park, finding a route that matches your needs. However, be careful of pedestrians with cell phones in hand as they may stop abruptly to catch Pokemon…

Shonai Ryokuchi Park (Shonai Greens)

In the north of the city, Shonai Ryokuchi Park as one of the city’s largest parks it gives you a real opportunity to stretch your legs without feeling that you are just running in endless circles. There are two main routes around the park, one that is 1.8km and another that is 2.3km, but should you wish there are many paths that zig-zag around, that will take you past fountains and ponds, and through the BBQ areas. There is also an athletics track that is sometimes open to the public, should you wish to time yourself on shorter distances or sprints. Keep an eye out for cyclists who also have use of the tracks.

Shonai River

Also known at various points as the Toki River and Tamano River, the Shonai River (Shonaigawa) has many beautiful areas along which to run. In places it is lined by cherry blossoms, and in other areas you may see cormorants drying their feathers in the morning sun. Having come down from Gifu via Kasugai, the river skirts the north of the city before heading past Biwajima and out to the port. Find a stretch of river nearest you, and run along it as far as you can.

Inchimanpo course through Heiwa Park

If you find the above parks a little busy and are looking for a place to run with a little bit more peace and quiet, you can do worse than following the Inchimanpo course that runs through Heiwa Koen (Peace Park). Along with the relative quiet, this run is a little more arduous as it takes you through some unsurfaced sections, so it’s not one for beginners. However, if you do like heading off road and picking your own path, it could be right up your street, if you’ll excuse the pun. If you enjoy this route, then you may also want to check out the forrest around the Higashiyama Zoo.

Tokai Shizen Hodo

Okay, so this is not one for the faint of heart, we are dealing in real endurance stuff here. The Tokai Shizen Hodo (Tokai Nature Trail) is a long distance walking trail that connects Tokyo and Osaka. At around 1000km, it is unlikely that you can do it all in one sitting (and if you can, let’s get you signed up for the Olympics now), but it is well worth finding parts along which you can run. It follows through beautiful countryside, through gorgeous old towns, while still offering some challenging terrain and mountains. The trail passes through Seto and Kasugai, amongst others, so they may be good places to start, but make sure you know how to get back, unless you want to run all the way to Osaka!


By Mark Guthrie

Image by Justin C. (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)

ByMark Guthrie
Apr 25, 2017

Sake Breweries Around Nagoya

Were you to take the evidence offered up by Japanese TV, you might be fooled into believing that the Japanese drink of choice was either humdrum lager or cans of whiskey highball. But you would be wrong.

There is no doubt that the national drink of Japan is sake, or to give it its proper title, ‘nihonshu’ (with ‘sake’ being a term to cover all alcoholic drinks). It is believed that nihonsnhu in its current form – made up of rice, water, and ‘kōji’ mold – dates from around the Nara period (710 to 794), and then later used for religious ceremonies, court festivals and drinking games.

Today it is enjoyed all over the country with many breweries, or ‘kura’, around the country involved in its production (in 2007 there were approximately 1700 kura making around 10,000 different types of sake).

Sake bars around Nagoya

If the festival has ignited a passion for tasting sake, why not try out one of these interesting sake bars around Nagoya.

The below postings are all recommendations from sake lovers that I know and trust, so are about personal taste. As such everything is for information only and Japan Info Swap does not endorse any of them.

Marutani – Nishi-ku

Sake Bar Marutani is exactly what you might think of when the words ‘sake bar’ comes to mind. Once a rice granary during the Edo period and set on the Horikawa river, it is all hardwood and old world charm. They have a large range of sake and meals perfectly balanced to match what you drink. It is the ideal ambiance in which to sip nihonshu in a classical atmosphere. I have had many recommendations for this place – from both expats and Japanese – and it is of such a high quality that I plan on taking my brother-in-law – a sommelier by trade – to sample his first sake experience when he comes to visit.

Torikko – Imaike

Everyone needs a friend who is a sake expert and Torikko in Imaike is the recommendation of mine. Although he said that the best sake bar around is in his own home, unless you get an invite from him, he says that this is the next best thing. This is a bar in the traditional style, but the sake choices are top notch and the ‘master’ (the Japanese term for what we would probably call a landlord or bar owner back home) is as friendly and helpful as he is knowledgable about all things nihonshu.

Osake No Kami Sama – Endoji

This place should be on the list for its name alone – it translates to The God of Sake – but it is much more than a clever name. Osake No Kami Sama is a standing bar in the covered arcade of Endoji, and is my own recommendation, and somewhere you can find me most Friday evenings post-work. A majorly relaxed atmosphere, a knowledgeable master and a  foreigner-friendly mixed clientele of salarymen, local folks and nihonshu aficionados make it a must visit bar; just as long as you have the legs to stand while you are drinking. They also have a great menu of Nagoya foods at unbeatable prices.

Hida Takayama Breweries – Takayama

If you want to go further afield to sample nihonshu where it’s made, you can do worse than head to Takayama. The Gifu city has plenty of local breweries, and you can easily spend the day getting lost (and perhaps a little tipsy) trying out the brews. Some of them have been going for around 200 hundred years, so you can probably equate that longevity with consistent quality.

Nagoya Breweries – Nagoya

There are also many breweries in the Nagoya and Aichi areas. Some of these offer sampling tours, but only on specific days. Check out the ever-excellent website for up-to-date details.

Image by atsunori kohsaki (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)

ByMark Guthrie
Apr 25, 2017

Art Exhibitions to See in Nagoya – May 2017

Night Snow, by Utagawa Hirose

While not usually considered a cultural heartland of art, like Tokyo, there are actually plenty of great exhibitions to see in the city. Below is our pick of the bunch for this May.

Utagawa Hirose – Fifty-Three Stations of the Tôkaidô

For anyone who has done a bit of traveling around Japan, or is perhaps planning to do so, this is an absolute must see. Utagawa Hirose (1797 – 1858) is considered to be the last great master of the ukiyo-e medium (wood block printing), and this is seen as being his finest work. The exhibition shows Utagawa’s impression of the 53 trading stations along the Tôkaidô road that connected the financial capital city of Edo (now Tokyo) with the spiritual capital of Kyoto, with the series becoming the best sold ever ukiyo-e Japanese prints. Even were the the display not enchanting and beautiful in equal measures, it also give the modern viewer a chance to see some locations that they may have visited in a completely different light.

  • Where: Nagoya/Boston Museum of Fine Arts (map)
  • When: Until May 14th (Sun), 2017
  • Price: Adults 900 JPY; students 700 JPY; junior high school students and younger, free.

The Hatsune Furnishings

A finer example of ‘how the other half lived’ during the Edo Period you are unlikely to see. Chiyohime, the eldest daughter of Iemitsu, the third Tokugawa shogun was in 1639, at two years old, betrothed to Mitsutomo, the second lord of the Owari Tokugawa family. Not such an exciting event for an infant, you might imagine, but still she was given as a gift a remarkable trousseau that is here on display, and considered to be the most luxurious example of its kind in Japan. The items range from large furnishings and palanquins down to the most delicate of cosmetics appliances, all of which are made of the finest maki-e inlaid lacquer, the design of which is based on the “Hatsune” (first warbler) chapter of The Tale of Genji. Seventy-five of the items are designated as National Treasures and, with an alternative name of “Furnishings from Dawn to Dusk,” due to the fact that one would never tire of looking at them, as far as matching luggage goes, they make Louis Vuitton look cheap imitation.

  • Where: Tokugawa Art Museum  (map)
  • When: May 31st (Sun), 2017
  • Price: Adults 1,200 JPY; seniors 1,000 JPY; students 700 JPY; children aged 7-14 500 JPY; younger, free.

Finnish Design 2017

The Ball chair by Finnish designer Eero Aarnio

Moving away from Edo era Japan, but remaining with furniture, The Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence with this showcase of contemporary product design. Whether Marimekko textiles or Artek furniture, the Finns are renowned for design of stylish elegance with a playful edge that remains fresh and in vogue. This exhibition, made up of approximately 700 works through a variety of furniture, tablewares, and textiles, provides a comprehensive introduction to Finnish design that demonstrates the harmony that rests between nature, people, and the spaces they share.

  • Where: Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art (map)
  • When: Until May 28, 2017
  • Price: Adults 1,200 JPY; students 900 JPY; junior high school students and younger, free.

The Development of Japanese Modern Photography in Manchuria

Imperial Japan’s excursions into Manchuria following the end of the Russo-Japanese War were cemented by the Treaty of Portsmouth that gave Japan control of the southern portion of the Chinese Eastern Railway as well as lucrative mining rights in 1905. The following year Japan established the South Manchoukuo Railway Company and embarked upon an immense colonization program, and photographs of of the area were used to publicize the land of China to the people of Japan. These photographs began as simple portrayals of Chinese tribes and their cultures, and developed into sophisticated symbols with the emergence of the Graphism era. This exhibition features rare vintage prints showing how the photographic expression of Manchoukuo developed over a quarter of a century, paralleling the Japanese Modernism movement.

  • Where: Nagoya City Art Museum (map)
  • When: Until June 25, 2017
  • Price: Adults 300 JPY; students 200 JPY; seniors 100 JPY; junior high school students and younger, free.

Mark Guthrie

Image by Utagawa (Own work) [Public Domain], via (modified)

Image by Charles Van den Broek (Own work)[CC BY-SA 2.0], via (modified)

Apr 25, 2017

Animal Rescue Kansai (ARK)

ark_kansai_logoARK is a non-profit, non-governmental private organization with the aim of forming a network of people who love animals, believe in sharing their lives with them, and who work actively to rescue them from suffering. ARK was established in 1990 and became officially recognized as an NPO (Non-Profit Organization) in September 1999. In 2008, ARK was accepted as an International Associate Member of the RSPCA.

ARK receives all funding for its activities from the donations and membership fees of the general public. We have approximately 30 staff members and receive support from volunteers who understand our activities. Our staff depends on our many volunteers because ARK is dedicated to not only the care of the animals but also to maintaining our facilities for the animals.

The History of ARK

ARK was established in 1990 by Elizabeth Oliver who still represents the organization today. Elizabeth Oliver originally came to Japan to teach English, but after seeing many injured animals she enlisted the help of some friends to rescue them. At that time she had virtually no financial aid and depended on the generosity of people to donate such necessities as dog food.

Over time more people became involved in her activities and as the number of rescued animals grew, several volunteers were hired as full-time staff members.  Since its establishment ARK has succeeded in expanding its activities and facilities, and in August 1998, became authorized by Osaka prefecture as a non-profit organization.

There are many ways you can help ARK accomplish its mission of reducing suffering for animals in Japan.

  • Become a Member
  • Sponsor a Pet
  • Adopt a Cat or Dog
  • The Adoption Process
  • Volunteer at ARK
  • Volunteer Guidelines
  • Donate Money
  • Donate Things We Need
  • Jobs at ARK

For more information on how you can get involved see the ARK website.

ByJade Brischke
Apr 24, 2017

Rain, Rain Go Away: Surviving Hiroshima’s Rainy Season

Rainy season is coming! For those of you new to Japan and especially those who are unfamiliar with this kind of weather… let’s just say it will be an experience.

Rainy season or tsuyu is the part of summer that no one likes or appreciates, unless of course you’re a rice farmer or sake producer who needs it for both rice production and good sake. Oh, or a gardener who needs it for their beautiful summer flowers.

Apart from that, it’s a humid time of year which is intense and often causes you to feel irritable; irritable because you get wet and irritable because you want it to stop. Every year the weather forecasters predict how much rain we will get and also how long it will last. Like everything in Japan, they even tell you the day it will start and the day it will end. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always agree with their predictions and prefers to have its own guidelines.

Generally speaking, it precedes ‘proper’ summer and runs for a month and a half or so from the beginning of June to mid -July. Nevertheless, the longer you live in Japan, the more you may actually appreciate this break as the sunshine during summer is relentless. Here are a few tips, both general and specific to Hiroshima, to make your life a little easier and hopefully, more comfortable as well during this season within a season.

  1. Buy an umbrella and take it EVERYWHERE. Do not try to tell yourself that it’s sunny and doesn’t look like rain. It will rain and you will be the only one without an umbrella. Yes, they’re a pain to carry with you and yes, you will leave them somewhere (second hint: buy a cheap plastic one from Daiso or konbini) and need to buy another, but you will very grateful that you have it.
  2. Invest in a good pair of rain boots. Yes, I’m talking the rubber type that people in other areas of the world refer to as gumboots, wellies, rain shoes etc. Make sure they fit well and are comfortable. You will be wearing them a lot. In Hiroshima, one of the best places to go for a cheap (and in good condition) pair, is Book-Off, which is located between the Hondori and Fukuro-machi streetcar stops.
  3. Take an extra pair of socks or stockings with you when you go out. Even with rain boots you will find that the rain is extra sneaky and manages to slip inside and drench everything in sight. There is nothing worse than having to sit in wet socks all day, especially when the air conditioning is cranked up and makes you cold.
  4. Have a back-up plan if you plan on having a BBQ or want to do any sort of outdoor activity. In downtown Hiroshima you can escape the rain by using the handy underground Shareo mall and the undercover protection of Hondori.
  5. Breathe, try to stay cool, calm and collected (yes, even in the ridiculously humid weather) and don’t yell at everyone that annoys you. Tempers are easily tested during this season, but remember, it’s just a season and it won’t last forever.

If all else fails, summer is the season of beer and is the perfect way to drown your sorrows while you sit out the rainy season. Stay dry!
Photo by Takashi Hososhima (Mew, I’m ready for rainy season) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Jade Brischke

ByJade Brischke
Apr 24, 2017

Biru Stand Shigetomi: Hiroshima’s Standing Beer Bar

The lack of space in Japan has resulted in the need to utilise every square metre possible and thus, to ensure it is put to good use. Combine this with the Japanese people’s love of drinking, particularly beer and you have yourself the standing bar. Best of all, you don’t have to go to Tokyo to experience this, for Hiroshima has the very famous, Shigetomi, right in its own backyard.

Yes, Shigetomi, named after Shigetomi-san, the beer draft Meister, is located on the edge of Nagarekawa, the nightlife and drinking neighbourhood of downtown Hiroshima.  But, the bar is a little unusual and it is perhaps its quirkiness that has made it well-known in Hiroshima and in fact, throughout Japan.

Firstly, there is only ever one brand of beer on offer at any one time. By using slightly different techniques when pouring each beer, Shigetomi-san is able to produce five unique tastes. The brand changes each week or so and you can find out when your favourite one is on offer from the calendar on the wall above the bar. Secondly, Shigetomi is open Monday to Satuday for only TWO hours per day. Yep, you read that correctly; two hours from 5-7pm.

Thirdly, you are limited to two drinks, at 500 yen a pop. From my perspective, this is for two main reasons: 1. there is ALWAYS a line outside and 2. This is Japan where any drinking session is followed by another bar and another and yet another… limits people, pace yourself for the rest of the night. Despite the line outside, it moves quickly due to the two-drink rule.

Even better is that there is a menu outside in both Japanese and English, which means you can choose which technique and thus taste you want while you wait. Added to all that, Shigetomi-san personally opens the door and greets each patron and will impart his knowledge as he pours each beer. He will also explain and show you exactly how to drink it.

Yep, the proper way to drink beer does not mean just opening your mouth and taking a swig. It means standing straight at the bar with one hand on your hip so that the beer is digested properly. Drinking it this way, the gas has a clear path down to your stomach and can move easily without the obstruction of you leaning over or slouching as you normally would at a table. See, drinking beer CAN be educational!

It’s a great place to start off a night out or just to have a beer before heading for a meal. It’s also a popular choice for salary men who want (and probably need!) a beer after work. Either way, Shigetomi is an experience you won’t want to miss out on and may in fact, become your new favourite place.


Biru Stand Shigetomi

10-12 Kanayamacho, Naka Ward, Hiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture 730-0022 (map link)
Phone: 082-244-4147

Photo by MagTube32 (youtube) ビールスタンド重富行ってきた

ByJade Brischke
Apr 24, 2017

Talk to the Animals at Asa Zoo in Hiroshima

Hiroshima City Asa Zoological Park, better known as Asa Zoo, is the local place that families and couples go to see wild animals in a relatively ‘natural’ habitat.

The zoo has all the big animals that you normally find at zoos, but also offers some special attractions like the Japanese giant salamander. The zoo has a number of these on loan from the Salamander Museum located in Ohnan Town in Shimane Prefecture and is now working on a collaborative breeding program as well.

Unfortunately, the zoo is a fair way out of town and is not exactly cheap to get to. The easiest way is via the Astram Line either from downtown Hiroshima or from Shin-Hakushima Station which is the one after Hiroshima Station. You need to get off at Kamiyasu Station and from there take one of the shuttle buses that run every 10-20 minutes or you can opt to take the normal bus from Platform 4 heading towards Asahigaoka or Imuro.

The consolation for all the travel and expense though, is the very reasonable entry fee at just 510 yen for adults and 170 yen for seniors and those under 18. Bargain indeed for a family day out! The zoo is open every day except Thursday between 9am and 4.30pm and of course is closed over the New Year’s break.

It  has a number of free events on offer including zookeeper talks (Japanese only obviously) and feeding time. See the zoo website for more information on exact times (some events subject to change due to weather). On the weekends you can also see lion feeding at 1pm and elephant training at 1.30pm. If you’re a fan of rabbits and guinea pigs you can learn how to hold them and pony rides are available for the first 15 people who line up near the pony enclosure.

Click to see the Asa Zoological Park Guide Map (PDF)

There are a number of small cafés located within the park, but like all places inside attractions, are a little pricey. My suggestion is to bring your own lunch or have a picnic as there are plenty of places to sit and lots of space and playground equipment for the kids to run around and wear themselves out.

In summer the big highlight is the night safari where you can see nocturnal animals wandering around in their natural habitat. These are only eight times a year and are well worth your while coming to see. If you’re an avid photographer, they also provide the perfect opportunity for some really amazing shots.

Of course, with all zoos there is the debate as to whether it is right to confine wild animals, but from what I saw, the cages are clean and all the animals are in good condition. My advice if you have strong opinions about this, however, is to find another activity in Hiroshima that you want to do.

My final piece of advice for a trip to the zoo is to take a jumper or jacket with you. Its mountain location means that even during the warmer months it is much cooler than the downtown area and the breeze can get quite cool. If you’re headed there in winter, rug up because snow often falls here in large amounts and nowhere else.

Asa Zoo is a great family day out and although people say never to work with animals or children, here you’ll find both. On weekends you are guaranteed to find large hordes of children on school trips, so if you want a quieter experience, head there during the weekdays.

It’s a fun place to go with your family, on a date or just with friends. It may be a tad further to get to than most places you’re familiar with, but it’s well worth the effort.

Asa Zoological Park

Asacho Dobutsuen, Asakita-ku Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima, 731-3355 (map link)

Photo by Spiegel さん ( [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Asa Zoological Park,

ByMark Guthrie
Apr 20, 2017

Volunteering in Tokyo

When living in a new country it can be a great thing to offer your free time to help the local community. One such way is volunteering for a nonprofit organization (NPO) .

Volunteering has a lot of upsides and few downsides to it.  It is a great way to meet new people when moving to a new town, or just finally getting out and about after living in it for some time, and the people you meet are generally pretty cool.  If you are looking for an opportunity to get out and volunteer your time for a good cause, there are options here in Tokyo.

Hands On Tokyo

Hands on copyHands On Tokyo was founded in December 2006 with a working Board of Directors comprising both Japanese and foreign nationals committed to making volunteer activities more accessible and accelerating the growth of volunteerism in the Tokyo area. Hands On Tokyo collaborates with many local organizations to encourage senior citizens, revitalize playgrounds, deliver food to the hungry, support people with visual impairment and inspire children in children’s homes, amongst other projects.

Second Harvest Japan

HarvestIn Japan there is up to 8 million tons of food loss in Japan every year, while one in six live below the poverty line. As the only registered food bank in Japan, since 2002 Second Harvest Japan have been turning ‘mottanai’ (waste) into ‘arigatou’ (thanks) by redistributing food waste from supermarkets such as dented tins and excess inventory.

Their primary focus is on poverty and disaster relief through distribution of food and essential supplies to welfare agencies, orphanages, shelters, the homeless, and others in need. Volunteers generally serve 2.5 hour shifts in one of Second Harvest’s numerous operations, including food pick-up and delivery, food preparation, packaging of food for distribution, food drives, food distribution, and various office activities.

Nature Conservation Society of Japan

NCSJ copyAs an independent and advocacy NGO (non-governmental organization) dedicated to conservation of ecosystem and biological diversity, the Nature Conservation Society of Japan have been around for 60 years. Nature conservation through recommendation, campaign and advocacy is their core aim, which takes the guise of various projects, from field trips to connect with nature, conservation research and environmental publications.

Amnesty International

AmnestyThe Tokyo branch of perhaps the world’s most famous NGO has two bilingual factions. AITEN (Amnesty International Tokyo English Network) is the largest and holds a monthly open meeting for education and letter-writing. During the year they organize a table at several of the international school festivals and similar events in the Tokyo area as well as live music fund-raising events of their own.

The second group meets monthly for letter-signing of their Action File (India and Vietnam), and of their anti-death penalty campaign for Vietnam. It also includes letter writing for Japan’s minister of justice asking for abolishment of death penalty in Japan.

Run for the Cure Foundation

Run for the Cure Foundation is a registered NPO with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government since 2004 with the mission to eradicate breast cancer in Japan as a life-threatening disease through education, timely screening, and treatment. Through their activities, the Foundation develops and executes community outreach programs and education initiatives; organizes programs to help increase quality of life of breast cancer patients and survivors; funds mammograms; and donates funds to other organizations.

They will be holding their annual run/walk event in November. This event, held in Hibiya park, includes a 5K/10K run or a 5K walk.

Animal Walk Tokyo

Helping pets one step at a time, Animal Walk Tokyo was formed in 2010 and are an animal-loving community for like-minded people to come together to help our four-legged friends in Tokyo.

AWT started by holding fundraising events for local animal rescue groups. They use their events to raise awareness among the local community that animals do suffer around us, and that everyone can help.  100% of all event proceeds are used to donate food, medical supplies and transportation to rescue groups saving animals in the area. Though they are not currently looking for volunteers, they do hold regular events that can be followed by liking their Facebook page.

Tokyo Voluntary Action Center

TVAC copyTokyo Voluntary Action Center (TVAC), founded in 1981, is a non-profit organization which was set up under the mission of promoting volunteerism in Tokyo Metropolitan area. They develop volunteer programs in schools, companies, and a range of various communities in cooperation with local volunteer centers and more wide-area organizations.

In addition to TVAC, there are 64 local volunteer centers in the Metropolitan Tokyo area, so if you are looking for a specific cause or organization at which you would like to volunteer, TVAC may be a good place to start looking.

Tokyo International Players

Tokyo International Players TIPFounded in 1896, Tokyo International Players (TIP) is a 100% volunteer-run organization and the oldest running English language theatre company in Japan. Volunteers can participate as actors, but there are also numerous backstage volunteer opportunities including set design, costume construction, props, stage management, lighting, and more.
How to volunteer here:

Animal Rescue Kansai (ARK)

ark_kansai_logoARK is a non-profit, non-governmental private organization with the aim of forming a network of people who love animals, believe in sharing their lives with them, and who work actively to rescue them from suffering. ARK has some activities in Tokyo, and welcomes volunteers help walk dogs, socialize cats, and generally just help out.

Mark Guthrie

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