Second Harvest Japan (Taito-ku)

Easily accessible volunteering, very active food bank, strong international/foreign resident involvement

Main office: 1F Mizuta Bldg. 4-5-1 Asakusabashi, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 111-0053

Closest stations: Akihabara, Asakusabashi /

Second Harvest Japan is a very strong and active organisation dedicated to providing free food to those in need. Second Harvest was the first food bank created in Japan. One of the main founders is a foreign expat and the organisation is easily accessible for other foreign residents to donate their time, food or money to. The NPO runs smoothly with the help of many weekly volunteers and actively welcomes new people.

Since 2000, Second Harvest has been considering how to use surplus food (that which a supermarket or distributor can no longer sell for various reasons) to provide healthy and safe daily food for people in need in Japan. They provide food for orphanages, women’s shelters, aid and welfare agencies, community centers and soup kitchens. They also distribute locally to people in need and run a weekly soup kitchen in Ueno Park every Saturday. They have developed from a small group to a large network with support from many corporations, and widely advocate for a better system of supporting those in need with the unnecessary excess of wasted food in Japan.

second harvest

All of this is supported by volunteers, many of them international. This is one of the easiest volunteering activities to get involved with around Kanto, the website has very detailed information about how you can volunteer your time. Either on a one-time basis, now and then or as a regular volunteer. Most of the roles do not require Japanese. You could help with sorting and packing food, preparing food in the kitchens, helping to prepare and hand out food in Ueno Park or something else. See here for more detailed information.

The English website for Second Harvest Japan is very detailed and informative, I recommend you have a look to read more about their interesting history and driving objectives.