Vanguard Backpackers

Hi there! I have traveled around the world for 9 years and visited 93 countries so far. I returned to Japan in 2018 and started a backpacker's hostel and English class for Japanese locals in my house. The house is surrounded by mountains, including Michelin 3-star Mount Takao, and many small rivers, beautiful hot springs, and the Sagami lake. The river right next to my house is beautiful, and you can swim there in the summer. It is still an hour away from Japan's largest downtown Shinjuku(excluding 2 km to the nearest station Sagamiko)

I need your help in maintaining the hostel, teaching English to my Japanese students, and renovating the hostel. You don't have to be from a native English-speaking country, but it is more important to have patience and the ability to speak slowly and clearly. The hours expected to work depend on the day. When it's busy, we usually work from around 10a.m. to 2 p.m. preparing the rooms for guests. The work involves cleaning the rooms and keeping the house clean. If you have any suggestions or ideas for my hostel, they are most welcome. In the evenings, we have free conversation in the English class for 45 to 90 minutes. Please try to work for at least 4 hours a day (which includes cleaning the hostel, teaching English to our students, and renovating the house). If I feel that you have worked too much for what you are receiving, I will try to compensate you by taking you to a restaurant or for sightseeing. I want to ensure that I am being fair to you. I was a professional boxer before, so I conduct a free boxing training program in the morning. You can join anytime you want! Every Monday, we can use the school gym. We play basketball, volleyball, and badminton with the English class students and local people.It's a social interaction with locals and our English class students, so please join this activity even if you are not good at sports. (We are in a small community and trying to do whatever is good for this community). I can cover your food costs. I only eat lunch and dinner, so if you would like to have breakfast, please prepare the ingredients and cook for yourself. We will cook together (I'm not a good chef, though, sorry... I really need a person who can take initiative to renovate the hostel or give me a suggestion to expand this business. If you want to immerse yourself in the local Japanese culture, have a passion for teaching English, or love to renovate old Japanese houses, you are most welcome. Lastly, I want you to have a good time here as I probably did in your country. Hope to see you :)


(12 reviews)12

Staff & Host


Hours & Tasks




Learning & Fun




Had a great stay at Vanguard Backpackers!! Most of the work consisted of renovation projects, and Kai was very open to new ideas, which made it very fun and rewarding. Through the English classes, there are plenty of opportunities to meet locals.
Most of the communication happened in English, but when I said I wanted to learn Japanese we started dedicating specific moments to that so I could practice, which was very kind.
I also had great fun meeting other international volunteers and guests, who all seem to share the interest to come back one day, like me :)
Thanks for everything!

about 1 month ago



This is a little piece of paradise where people from all over the place pass by ! Kai is a gem of a human. He made sure I have a great experience ! The locals are lovely and very happy to have me in town ! The english clases are super fun ! The work around the house is very clear and Kai is open to new ideas to improve the hostel ! The hostel is perfect to relax in nature, it has a sauna, gym, river with a chilling area and work space. Sagamiko is surrounded by mountains, has a beautiful lake and the scenery is just so beautiful ! Tokyo is super close as well ! This is a must see spot !

about 1 month ago



It has been the best experience I have had as a volunteer. Kai's place is a dream, surrounded by nature, a cozy house and a natural river next to the house make this a magical place. Kai is an excellent host, he is always attentive to your needs and gives you a lot of food, you will certainly never be hungry 😅 schedules were always respected... thank you Kai :)

4 months ago



Kai is kind, respectful and funny person and also a great host! I loved walking around the nature here, met amazing people and enjoyed my time a lot. Just keep in mind, its an old japanese house, so there is no central heating and it can get really cold in winter. Other then that, 100% recommended!

5 months ago

United States


Kai is a warm and thoughtful person, who is very caring toward his community. He is really great with the local kids, especially-- whether he is teaching them English or helping do exercise classes at the local elementary school, you can tell that the kids love him.

Vanguard Backpackers is a special place in a beautiful, small community. The people in Sagamiko are lucky to have Kai. He made me feel welcome and well-looked-after.

11 months ago

Perfect for you if you're looking for

Contact with nature





Adventure Sports