While travelling to Japan and experiencing the culture is pretty easy to experience since there are a lot of tourist attractions here along with places that welcome foreigners. It is, however, relatively difficult for foreigners to be exposed to Japanese people in a more intimate basis if they are only staying temporarily in the country.
There is, however a pretty nifty way to do so, which is to stay with a host family in Japan. In this article, I will provide you with some information about Japanese host-families in general and what you would get out of staying with one, along with my personal opinion.
What is a ‘Host Family’
In a literal sense, a host family is a family who hosts or opens their home to stranger(s) who wants some homestay experiences which generally includes cultural exchanges, learning the language or customs, etc. Many homestay guests stay with their family as a part of their summer programs or study abroad programs. The host family is then responsible for welcoming and taking care of the guest during their period of stay, specific activities depend on the host family, it can range from cooking, travelling, etc. Many friends of mine who experience staying with a host family still keep in touch with their host families even after they leave.
Host family In Japan
Homestay in Japan is relatively new compared to other countries so there are not that many host-families available for picking, however, the relative geographical diversity of those willing to is pretty diverse with many scattered around all over Japan from Tokyo to Hokkaido. Many do this to expose their kids to a foreign culture or foreign languages. There are also those like the elderly who are simply looking for companions to chatter to.
What You Would Get from Staying with a host family in Japan
The first thing one will definitely achieve from living with a host family in Japan is the exposure to the Japanese language. By staying with a host family, even only for a short period of time, one will be able to improve their Japanese (especially speaking and listening abilities).
Aside from that, one can also learn about the general lifestyles, customs, cultures of the Japanese locals while making connections with them. To top it off, living with a host family will usually be more economically beneficial for an individual since expenses on food and utilities will usually be far lower compared to living alone.