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Dog Shelter in Tokushima

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Are you a big dog lover? There are around 125 dogs at Susan and Hitoshi's private dog shelter in Tokushima, southern Japan, waiting to be walked by you one to three times a day. If you cannot imagine anything better than caring for these dogs in the middle of a beautiful Japanese landscape, this is your placement!

Project Description

Your main activity is to walk the dogs. This is usually done in small groups of up to 10 dogs, but some dogs must be walked alone. This activity can be exhausting and must be carried out whatever the weather condition is. You should therefore be physically resilient and must have no problems with rain, dirt, heat, cold, dog smell, barking dogs, mosquitoes, etc. The dog shelter is located in a forest and you will definitely be confronted with these natural conditions.
The dogs are staying temporarily in the facility whose aim it is to find new owners for the dogs. The dogs are at the facility for various reasons: in some cases, the previous owners have died or are too old and in need of care and can no longer look after the animal. Some dogs are stray dogs collected in parks. Regularly, Susan and Hitoshi also take over dogs from state animal shelters, where the dogs after some time, if no new owner can be found, for capacity reasons, would be euthanized. Another reason are Japan's regularly occurring natural disasters, such as landslides and floodings, which often force people to stay for an extended period of time in temporary homes where pets can not be accommodated. Some dogs are from Fukushima, where after the nuclear disaster residents had to leave their homes permanently and now live in small city apartments where dog ownership is not possible.
The home is run by Susan from Canada and her husband Hitoshi from Japan as a nonprofit organization. Hitoshi works full time at the shelter while Susan has another day job. There are two local paid employees and several local long-term volunteers who are mainly concerned with feeding and cleaning the dogs, and cleaning the shelters. Foreign short-term volunteers usually do not get involved in these activities. However, if you have experience in dog keeping or if you spent several months at the project, you can also learn how to perform these tasks.
Usually the working day starts between 9:30 and 10 o'clock in the morning. The duration depends a lot on the dogs, because sometimes walking the dogs is faster and sometimes takes longer.
As a volunteer, you should bring along wellington boots, sturdy shoes, a rain jacket, a winter jacket (during winter), insect repellent, and clothes that may get dirty. You should also be vaccinated against tetanus.
Accommodation for volunteers is provided free of charge either at an apartment in the city of Tokushima or in a house in the village of Sanagochi. If you live in Tokushima, Susan or Hitoshi will pick you up 5 times per week by car and bring you to the dog home (about 20 minutes to drive) and will also bring you back home after work. If you live in Sanagochi, you will be provided a car to drive yourself to the facility with other volunteers who live there.
Info Box
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Location: Tokushima, Japan
Availability: all year
Minimum Duration: 3 weeks
Maximum Duration: 12 Months (depending on visa)
Required Language Skills: English
Accommodation: See text
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Supervision possible: Yes
Qualification supervisor: Dog trainer
Minimum qualification of intern: none
Further contribution to the project: No
Remuneration: No
Volunteering possible: Yes
Required qualification of interns: none
Further contribution to the project: No
It is expected:
Professional work, the "right" attitude



I. World Unite! Service Package

Mobile/Cell Phone Users: If you don't see the rates for your desired duration of stay, hide other (shorter) durations of stay.
  Visa Category 1*
Visa Category 2*
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1 Person
800 EUR 1200 EUR
2-4 Persons
(Per Person)
700 EUR 1100 EUR
Convert to USD, GBP, AUD, CAD and other currencies.
* Visa Category 1: You enter Japan via Temporary Visitor Status (free stamp on arrival to Japan for 90 days for most nationalities. This stamp can be extended for citizens of the UK, Ireland, Mexico, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein easily by another 90 days [extension costs ca. 4000 JPY]; no age restrictions) OR you enter Japan via Working Holiday Visa (free, but needs to be applied for in advance, available for citizens of UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Portugal, Spain, Argentina, Chile, Poland, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong) aged 18-30 years for a maximum of 365 days [some nationalities only 180 days] OR you enter Japan on another visa category that we don't need to apply for a Certificate of Elegibility for OR you are Japanese national and you don't need any visa for Japan.
* Visa Category 2: Any nationality and duration of stay that is not covered by the previous category. In this case we have to apply for a Certificate of Elegibility in Japan that you need to apply for your visa at the Japanese embassy of your home country. We will inform you about all details. Further costs for official fees may apply.

The World Unite! Service Package includes:

  • Arrangement of your Placement
  • Individual Consultation and Preparation prior to your arrival
  • Access to the World Unite! Online Resource Centre which has Preparation Materials including Intercultural Preparation, compiled particularly for your destination (PDFs, Videos)
  • Preparation Session via Skype, together with further participants
  • (If required) arrangements of the Documents you need for your Visa Application, but not the official government fees for the visa (if they apply, see details above)
  • Support with Residence Registration, Mobile phone contract, opening a bank account (if needed and possible, depending on visa category)
  • Pick-up and Transfers on arrival from Haneda or Narita airport (but not travel from Tokyo to Tokushima)
  • Personal support staff in Tokyo (English and Japanese speaking) and at our international office
  • Issuance of Confirmations/Certificates for your university, scholarship, insurance, etc. and filling out/signing Internship Contracts for your university
  • Accommodation (without meals) is provided free of charge by the dog shelter

The Rates do NOT include:

  • Meals
  • Travel to/from Japan (you book it on your own; we can assist you)
  • Travel from Tokyo to Tokushima and back (approx. 10,000 JPY one way; we will assist you)
  • Official fees for Visa (see below)
  • Insurance (Travel Health Insurance, Liability Insurance, Travel Cancellation insurance; you book it on your own, we can assist you)
  • Personal Expenses
  • Vaccinations

Overview of other costs:

  • Self-catering from around 200 EUR/USD per month (estimate)
  • Mobile phone contract: ca. 10-20 EUR/USD per Month (Estimate)
  • Health Insurances around 30-50 EUR/USD per Month
  • Volunteer insurance (around 5 USD one-time fee payable at the dog shelter)
  • Travel from Tokyo to Tokushima and back (approx. 10,000 JPY one way)

How do I pay?

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Other Projects That Might Interest You:

These projects are suggestions for alternatives that may interest you or those that could be chosen as COMBINATIONS. The combination of projects in different organizations is often possible and usually cheaper than two individual bookings. Please contact us to know more. Also please check out our Working Holiday support services!

Japanese Language lessons in Tokyo!

Japanese language skills are of massive advantage in Japan. You can book Japanese language lessons for your stay in Japan. You find all details here.

Travel Health Insurance

We recommend the following travel insurance that is meant specifically for participants of internships, volunteering, language study, working holiday, and courses abroad. It is available for travelers of all nationalities and usable for all countries, except your home country. You can also add a journey liability insurance.
Just click on the link, fill in the form and you will get a confirmation email.

Getting There

We recommend you to travel to Tokyo first to meet our team and get some preparational briefing. From Tokyo, the easiest and most affordable option is to take a night bus (we will assist you with this).
Tokyo has two large international airports: NARITA and HANEDA, which are served by many airlines. Haneda Airport is located closer to the city centre and is therefore our preferred option. If you find cheaper flights to Narita you can however also choose Narita.
You will book a flight on your own. Please try to arrive on a Thursday any time between 8am and 11pm. We will pick you up from the airport and will bring you to your accommodation in Tokyo by public transport.


Please note that the answers to these FAQs refer to Tokyo and not necessarily to Tokushima. We will provide information specific to your destination to you.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Are there fixed start dates for the project, which I must adhere to?
You should arrive on a Thursday at one of the two airports of Tokyo, Haneda (preferably) or Narita between 8am and 11pm.
Can I stay longer at my accommodation after my volunteering/internship or arrive earlier?
Yes, this is possible. Just let us know from when to when you need accommodation and we will book it for you.
During my stay, can I travel around the country?
During your internship or Working Holiday jobs, you travel around during your free time, holidays or weekends. If you plan to do longer travel, you should do so before your internship commences or after you will have finished it.
Can I travel alone to Japan as a young woman?
No problem. Japan is probably one of the safest countries of the world.
Will I be the only foreign volunteer/intern in the project or at my site?
We have more than 100 participants of our Working Holiday, internship, volunteering and language programs in Tokyo at any time that you can stay with if you are accommodated at one of our share houses. You may be the only intern/volunteer at your specific project though.
What vaccinations do I need?
Our Info - PDF that you get as a participant, gives detailed information on health care. Also refer to Recommended Vaccinations.
Where will I live?
You The majority of our participants stay at one of our Share Houses. Details are in the tab "Accommodation". If you attend Japanese language lessons through the language school we cooperate with, you can also opt for host family accommodation with a Japanese family.
Does my accommodation have internet facilities?
Yes, there is wifi internet.
How can I do my laundry?
The share houses have coin washing machines.
Can I cook in the accommodation?
Yes, there are well-equipped kitchens at the share houses. Details are in the tab "Accommodation".
I am a vegetarian. Can I get vegetarian food?
Vegetarianism is uncommon in Japan. You may have difficulties to find vegetarian dishes at restaurants. Supermarkets and vegetable/fruit shops however sell a wide range of vegetables that you can buy to prepare your own vegetarian food.
What language skills do I need?
You should be able to make yourself understood in English. If another language is required, this is indicated in the info-boxes of the respective projects.

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