Planning your next trip to Japan and finding the right accommodation can be really difficult and pricey especially in major cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, and Osaka. The struggle to find affordable and satisfactory rooms comes with a lot less freedom of going and leaving and doing things on your own. While hostels seem to be the only option, there are few other choices like the Japanese homestay.
Japanese homestay is Japanese program that lets foreign visitors live with a Japanese family. Whether you’re exploring Japan for a few weeks or you’re studying abroad for a semester, the program gives you the best and unique cultural immersion experience with its locals. Aside from that, homestay has a lot of advantages than living in the hostels.
BUT FIRST, HOW DO YOU FIND A PLACE TO HOMESTAY?
There are a lot of websites on the internet that you can visit to search for a host family in Japan. Homestay.com is one highly recommended website dedicated to finding you the best experience and authentic stay. All homestays come with a breakfast, and that is a plus! Details, photos, house rules, and contact details of the family host can be found on the website.
Most often than not, you will be living with a family of a husband and wife, few kids, and sometimes grandparents. But other homestay hosts aren’t families but people living alone. Either of the two, they will give you a great experience upon your stay in their household.
YOU’LL KNOW YOUR WAY AROUND.
Perhaps the best advantage of a homestay is that you’ll get a handful of tips and recommendations when getting around Japan. You might not need to use much of the Google map and struggle with understanding the Japanese transport system. You can also ask about the shortcuts when traveling from destinations to destinations and the best bars, restaurants, and shops to go to. Nothing is better than knowing your way around straight from the locals. It saves you time and helps you go out into the city more confidently.
And not only that, aside from the list of your go-to destinations, they will also take you and invite you to explore the hidden gems of Japan: the beautiful places that are mostly known only by the locals. How cool is that?
YOU’LL LEARN THE LANGUAGE.
In countries like Japan, language can be a barrier. Not all Japanese speak English and most of the signages you will see are written in kanji, a Japanese writing using characters only instead of letters. For travelers and most especially for a foreign student attending a school in Japan, a homestay is a perfect choice to learn and practice the language. Not only it can help you to get around more efficiently in Japan, it also encourages healthy conversation with your new-found family. And it’s fun!
Sometimes, host families don’t speak English fluently which gives you, even more, opportunities to improve your language skills.
IT’S THE OPPORTUNITY TO EAT AUTHENTIC, DELICIOUS, HOME-COOKED FOODS.
Who wouldn’t want to indulge into the authentic, delicious, and home-cooked Japanese cuisines? The best thing about this is you get to observe how the different cuisines are prepared and cooked which will make you appreciate the food more. You’ll also get the opportunity to talk and learn more about your host family while sharing a meal. And if you love cooking, you could even ask for the recipe.
YOU’LL GET TO LIVE LIKE A LOCAL.
Learn what the locals like to do, where they usually go, when they do their activities throughout the day, and how they like to do them. You might want to learn to cook some Japanese cuisines or make your host family try your favorite dishes, watch the local TV show and enjoy the pastime, go out with them during the weekends and participate in the activities they do.
It’s a great experience to be a Japanese for even just a week.
YOU’LL LEARN THE CULTURE.
Homestay experience gives you the chance to truly understand and connect with the Japanese culture. Through simple observations and first-hand experience – from the body language to the tone of the voice – you will have an insight into the local life that other forms of accommodations simply can’t offer.
HOMESTAY IS A REAL “HOME AWAY FROM HOME”.
Accommodations around the world, most of the time, use “HOME AWAY FROM HOME” loosely. While they offer a homely atmosphere, they aren’t what homes are. Homestay, on the other hand, are literally just that. A “HOME AWAY FROM HOME”. But unlike any accommodations, it is where you can collect plenty of memories that you will surely remember for the rest of your life.
YOU CAN SAVE MONEY.
And lastly, a homestay can save you lots of dollars. For just a few bucks, you get to travel and explore secret places in Japan and experience what true Japanese living is.