CRASH Japan - Christian Disaster Relief: Volunteer/Jobs

Information About Volunteering

Safety Information

CRASH has worked hard to make sure that our volunteers are never in danger when working in Tohoku. For more information regarding safety while volunteering, please check out this interview with Toshihisa Sakamoto, M.D..

Important Points

  • Your placement may be changed depending upon the situation in the area or placement site.

  • Please register more than 2 weeks before the date you wish to serve.

  • Please register only if you are the appropriate age.


About Volunteer Insurance

From October 1, 2012, CRASH volunteers will need to get their own volunteer insurance. (Before volunteering, go to your local city office in Japan to get this special insurance.) Overseas volunteers with travel insurance should check to see that it covers injuries and accidents related to volunteer work. Volunteers who entered into the CRASH volunteer insurance between April 1st and September 30th will be covered until March 31, 2013.

The Registration Process

  1. Volunteer Registration - If you have volunteered with CRASH before, please just send your name and the days you wish to volunteer to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  2. Pastor Reference Confirmation - CRASH will call the pastor or leader of your church of membership to confirm their approval of you being sent as a volunteer.
  3. Placement Decision - We may not be able to send you to your first choice of service. Thank you for your understanding.


When You Volunteer

  • Lodging

    • It is recommended that you bring sheets, towels, and a pillow case when staying at cooperating churches and partner ministries. Depending upon where you are sent, you may need a sleeping bag.

  • Meals

    • Depending upon where you are sent, you may have to provide for your own meals.

  • Meeting Place

    • Depending upon where you are sent, the meeting place for arrival at your assignment may change. Please use the information you are given.

  • Volunteer Fee

    • Please pay the lodging or participation fee at the location you are sent. Most places usually cost between 1500 to 2000 yen.

  • Type of Participation

    • You may participate individually or form a team.

  • Minimum Age of Participation

    • Volunteers under age 16 must talk with us first. Please read our detailed explanation of this.


About CRASH Japan Bases

CRASH Japan established 5 bases in Tohoku. Some of them have since been taken over by other disaster relief organizations, and some have become CRASH Japan Field Offices. The roles for CRASH Japan Field Offices are to connect local churches, support them, and mobilize volunteers to churches as needed.

  • Tono Base -> Transferred to Iwate Ministry Initiative
  • Ichinoseki Base -> Transferred to 3.11 Iwate Church network
  • Sendai Base -> continues as CRASH Japan Sendai Office
  • Nasu Base ->continues as CRASH Japan Koriyama Office
  • Hitachi base-> continues as CRASH Japan Iwaki Office


Volunteer Opportunities by Date

Available Any Time (click to expand)
November (click to expand)
OperationSAFE (click to expand)

Volunteer Opportunities by Organization

If you wish to volunteer with one of these organizations, please visit their site and register with them directly.

Kita Sanriku Kirisuto Kyoukai

Location: 36-6-201 Aza Katabatake, Iwaizumi, Iwaizumi Cho, Shimohei Gun, Iwate Ken, Japan 027-0501
Contact: Dawn Birkner, pastor. 080 6388 3880 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Please feel free to be in direct contact with questions or about details.
Major activities: Cafes and home visits at temporary housing, home visits at tsunami-impacted neighborhoods, chirashi and goods distribution, kokoro care, cooking, music/concerts, crafts, and option to also assist in church planting activities. Specific activities depend on the timing.
Exceptions can be considered, but generally no volunteer activities occur on Sunday or Monday. Many activities are on Thursdays and Saturdays but volunteers are welcome Tuesday through Saturday.
Elligibility: Both individuals and teams, young and old, Japanese and foreigner are welcome! Physical strength is not required, just normal good health and flexibility to help in a variety of ways. Elderly volunteers are especially encouraged to come, and any other Christian volunteers over age 20. Call to discuss cases of people under age 20 or non-Christians.
Accommodation and ministry expense fee: 1500 yen per night (utility fees, ministry expenses). In addition, for groups over 4, you will need to rent or bring a car. For up to four people, no car is needed. If the fee is a special hardship, contact us to see if it can be waived or reduced. Accommodations have to be verified case by case though are usually available, so please be in touch to confirm your desired dates. You will stay either at the church, the Akkerakan, or in rare cases in a homestay. For volunteers coming for 3 weeks or longer, a lower fee can likely be worked out.
Meals: Provide your own meals, but kitchen access is available and a grocery store is nearby. Some meals will need to be eaten out in the course of activities.
Things to bring: Towels, pillow case, and if possible a sleeping bag. A thin mat is provided but if you wish a thicker mat, feel free to bring this.
Transportation: There are multiple ways to reach Iwaizumi, but more so than most of Japan and Tohoku, transportation needs to be carefully planned unless coming by car. Generally the practical way for most people via public transportation is to take a night bus or bullet train to Morioka, then take a bus from near Morioka station to Iwaizumi to the Byoin no Mae stop. There are four buses a day. The earliest is around 9 AM and the latest is around 5 PM from Morioka. Returning from Iwaizumi, the earliest bus is 6 or 7 AM depending on the day and the last one leaves around 4 PM. For those coming from within Tohoku, or at unusual times of day, there are some other possible routes, but they generally are much less convenient and more time consuming. If an overnight stay in Morioka is necessary, it may be possible for us to arrange for you to stay at a church or base there for no additional cost but whenever possible it is best to plan transport so that such is not necessary.
Notes: Japanese skills are a plus but no Japanese skills needed. Must speak either English or Japanese. Please call or email to book accommodation / register to volunteer.
Skills required: No special skills are needed other than general good health and ability to work somewhat long days.
Skills desired: Ability to play guitar, keyboard, or other instruments, prepare and lead 20 to 30 minute crafts, cook, do kid’s activities, and special skills (ventriloquism, juggling, etc) are a plus. Japanese ability is a plus.
Special Opportunity:

  1. Currently receiving volunteers for primarily relief work, but those wanting later to come back as church planting volunteers in future years can do so as we will be receiving short-term teams for years to come, even after the relief work is over.
  2. We are also taking applications for mid-term (up to a year) and long-term (4 years) volunteers to help with both relief work and church planting. Email for more information. Long-term volunteers must apply and be accepted via Reaching Japan Together Association. Either Japanese or guitar/keyboard ability is strongly preferred for mid-term workers.

Grace Mission Tohoku

Address: Ishinomaki City, Miyagi
Major Activities: Clearing mud out, visiting temporary housing, run mobile cafés, supporting local events, etc.
Accommodation fee: 1500 yen per night (750 yen for students)
Note: Lunch not provided. No Japanese skill needed.
What to Bring: sheets, towels

Tokyo Baptist Church Ishinomaki

Location: Ishinomaki City, Miyagi
Description: Gardening, cleaning, children's programs, survivor care
Accommodation: Free
Notes: Please prepare your own meals
Things to bring: Bed sheets, towels
Contact: Tokyo Baptist Church Ishinomaki (0225)98-5290 or Dorothy Yoko (090)8042-1365

For additional details please see this website.

3.11 Iwate Church Network

(Transferred from CRASH Japan Ichinoseki Base)

Located in Senmaya-cho, Ichinoseki and ministering in local area and at temporary housings in Kesennuma, Rikuzen-takata.
Please contact them for current volunteer needs.
Office: 0197-63-4789 (Pastor Sasaki)
Coordinator: 080-3215-9003 (Pastor Kondo)

Nozomi Center

Full time staff needed

Location: 〒989-2201 43-81 Nishi Kashiranashi, Aza, Yamadera, Yamamoto-cho, Watari-gun, Miyagi, Japan
Tel/Fax: 0223-35-6901
Duration: Two Years
Requirements: Two Christian males, late 20's, early 30's. Or, a young married couple with pastor experience. Must be fluent in Japanese, must have Japanese driver's license.
Housing: provided on site
Other: No nationality limitations
Description: Please visit their website
Please prepare a resume and recommendation from a pastor. Interviews will be offered to potential candidates.
Please contact Nozomi Center directly regarding this opportunity.

Global Mission Center

Location: Iwaki City, Fukushima prefecture
Major tasks: visiting temporary housing, cleaning the church, prayer
Accommodation fee: As of now, cost covers utilities, and is ¥500 but may increase in the future.
Food: Prepare your own meals
To bring: Sheets, towels, sleeping bag/blankets
Requirements: Have a gift that pertains to spiritual and emotional care, be able to communicate in Japanese. Those with skills in art and music are welcome!


  • International volunteers must be able to communicate in Japanese, or travel with a translator.
  • It would be convenient if volunteers can travel to GMC in their own vehicle.
  • Please contact us through phone or email on weekdays only.

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