My husband and I are Buddhist priests, running a 450 year old Pure Land Buddhist temple in the mountains of Kyushu. My husband is the 17th generation priest of our family temple. We are busy with the temple and our family and need help with gardening, cleaning, cooking, laundry and lots lots more. We have a luxury Lodge for overnight stays and need help with bed making and cleaning. We also want the helper to walk our dog, who is big, very enthusiastic but a complete softy. Also, our cat likes to hang out in the helpers area, so you need to like cats and dogs. We give preference to helpers who have a valid International or Japanese driving license.
We run a hectic household so be prepared for more chaos than tranquility.
We are NOT a Zen temple, so we offer no zazen meditation.
We live in an area of outstanding natural beauty. Spectacular gorges, terraced rice fields and wonderful night skies. Our temple is in an extremely rural area with very little local transport. Sometimes helpers can feel quite isolated. Helpers have free use of wifi and we have an extensive English library. There are opportunities to learn about Japanese culture and buddhism at grass-roots level. (Jodo-Shinshu Pure Land buddhism is the most popular sect in Japan.)
We can offer food and lodging. Helpers have their own private room, with own toilet, shower and the use of a large communal kitchen. Meals would be mostly eaten with our family, but be prepared to cook for yourself at times. We normally have the ingredients available. We need open-minded, enthusiastic but easy-going, self-motivated hard-workers who can get up early in the morning and are good time-keepers. This work suits a more mature person, 25 years or older, preferably.
Plan on staying between one and three weeks. Longer stays are sometimes possible, depending on the time of the year and mutual compatibility.
Please be aware that it is very hot and humid in the summer here. (38 degrees celsius is not unusual) Summer also means lots of insects and wildlife. None are dangerous but if seeing a spider makes you quiver in fear, think twice about coming in the summer. Also, be aware that its extremely cold in the winter. (Minus 6 degrees). The buildings are old and draughty, we have heaters, of course, but you need to dress warmly. This is not a good placement for princesses or people who can't go with the flow.
Also, this is a temple with lots of visitors coming for services. Helpers are expected to dress reasonably conservatively and also to observe Japanese customs of greetings.
My husband and I work hard but also find time to enjoy life. We enjoy the company of helpers who work alongside us with dedication, energy and good humour. We also eat meat and drink copious amounts of alcohol, but we don't mind if you are vegetarian or tea-total.
We mostly need help from the Springtime on. The work is very varied, some days are full-on, other days you are totally free.
We sometimes can host couples, but the helper's room only has a single bed.