Do a Freelance Travel Writing Workshop in Japan

Do a Freelance Travel Writing Workshop in Japan

Are you a wannabe travel writer or an aspiring freelance journalist with itchy feet? Do you want to explore the Land of the Rising Sun whilst getting real-world writing experience and wrapping your tongue around a new language?

Sink your teeth into the best bits of Japan with Global Hobo, from the buzzing lights of Tokyo to the lush countryside of Hakuba. Over the course of four weeks, you and a team of other budding creatives will be attending daily journalism workshops taught by passionate freelancers, where you’ll refine your writing skills, learn how to pitch and get published. In your free time, you’ll be singing your heart out at karaoke, slurping ramen in tiny eateries and losing yourself in Japan’s winding alleys and amongst its unique nature.

Learn what you don’t get taught at uni

The course has been expertly designed to be a bridge between writing privately or having your own blog and entering the workforce as a freelancer or starting your own publication. If you’re a high-school leaver, this program is the perfect mini exchange to squeeze in before you hit the books again next year. If you’re already in the throes of university and studying something like journalism or communications, you may even be eligible for a full subject’s credit through your school’s work-integrated learning program. And if you’re not studying and you’re just on the hunt for a sweet project that combines travel and writing, we’ll teach you everything you need to know. We cater to all ability levels, and though experience helps, it’s not at all necessary

Upcoming Programs:

Summer 2020

  • June 22 – July 19, 2020 (arrive by Sunday June 21, last class Thursday July 16)
    • 14 nights in Tokyo and 14 nights in the alpine town of Hakuba — a dreamy summer village. Return transport from Tokyo to Hakuba will also be included.
    • Taught by Gemma Clarke, Lucy Dayman and Denham Sadler: editors and writers with bylines at Global Hobo, The Guardian, New Matilda, The Saturday Paper, ToneDeaf, AWOL, triple j, Culture Trip and more.
    • Cost: $3950AUD
    • Read more about the launch of this froth-worthy roadtrip here.

Winter 2021

  • January 11 – February 7, 2021 (arrive by Sunday January 10, last class Thursday Feb 4)
    • 28 nights in Tokyo
    • Taught by Gemma Clarke, Lucy Dayman and Emily Rose Yates: editors and writers with bylines at Global Hobo, Lonely Planet, The Guardian, ToneDeaf, AWOL, triple j, Culture Trip and more.
    • Cost: $3550AUD

Accommodation is, of course, included. In Tokyo, you will living in shared rooms in two funky guesthouses: one in Arakawa, and the other in Kuramae. Both are run by lovely Japanese families who will make you feel right at home the second you step in the door. In Hakuba, you’ll be two or three to a room in a newly renovated Japanese guesthouse, Iimori Vista, in Goryu.

Don’t stress if you don’t know anyone else coming along, because meeting new people is the point, and we’ll match you up with some sick roomies!

What you get:

  • Daily travel-writing and blogging workshops with a range of writers, editors and producers from the media industry (Global Hobo, New Matilda, Your Friends House, The Guardian, triple j, Culture Trip, VICE, Tone Deaf and more). Think travel-narrative writing, pitching to editors, building a brand and working as a freelancer on the road in exchange for sweet, sweet cash.
  • A crash course in the Japanese language
  • One month’s accommodation complete with a kitchen, WiFi and easy access to public transport.
  • A multi-course Japanese cooking class
  • Potential university credit
  • Note that flights are not included! Sorry, but we couldn’t possibly tee up deals with every airline and from every city in the world.

Successful applicants will be intelligent, open-minded creatives looking for some real-world journalism experience and to get a taste of Tokyo’s weirdness and wonder. The ability to work well in a group is essential. Do note though that the course is just that: a course. You don’t need to already have a foot in the door of the media industry to apply, nor do you already need to be the best writer. All the skills you’ll need to start sculpting your words like a pro and getting published will be taught as part of the curriculum. In fact, many students often keep working for Global Hobo on a freelance basis once the course is over.

Travel respectfully and sustainably

We’re determined to encourage a culturally relative approach to travel, which is why we make language classes a compulsory element of the course, support family-run businesses and partake in cultural activities. We’re also fiercely committed to social justice and supporting diversity in the work we publish, giving space to voices that have been traditionally excluded from mainstream media and building an accessible community around storytelling.

Accordingly, since last year, part of our profits have been funding independent coverage of the European refugee crisis from the ground in Greece. In August 2020, in collaboration with Stoke Travel and Solo Symphonic, we will be sending a small documentary crew to Athens from August onwards to shift the debate away from dehumanising statistics and tell the stories of some of those who continue to be affected by their displacement. A solid portion of every Japan workshop sold will be going towards funding this project.

Get Uni Credit

What’s more, if you’re a journalism, media or communications student, enrollment in the program gives you the potential to receive a full subject’s worth of university credit as part of your institution’s Work Integrated Learning Program; however, this will need to be determined on a case-by-case basis upon discussion with your head of department. So far, we’ve had students from RMIT, Wollongong University, Charles Sturt University, Griffith University, La Trobe University, UNSW, QUT, the University of Queensland, Curtin University and more receive credit, as well as those attending schools in New Zealand, the UK and the USA.


  • I’m still not convinced — what makes Global Hobo different from everyone else?
    • Read about our commitments to diversity, accessibility, sustainability and more.
  • This looks kind of scammy — I’d like to read some reviews of the program from previous hobos!
  • I want to know some more information about the program!
  • What do some of the previous guidebooks look like?
    • Check out some gold whipped up by our former spunky interns here.
  • What are your terms and conditions?

To Apply:

Give us your calling code too so we can text you if you get in!
It's just a number, but you've gotta be at least 18...
Town/City, Country
No pressure - total rookies are still welcome to apply.
This has no impact on your application -- we just wanna know so we can stream the language classes properly.

  • Is a month in Bali scooting around rice paddies, exploring lush beaches and hiking volcanoes at dawn more up your alley? Come do our writing workshops in Canggu instead.

    Learn More

  • Would you prefer to learn Spanish, munch on tapas and party till the sun comes up in cosmopolitan Barcelona? Head to Spain and do a writing workshop with us in European summer.

    Learn More

Facebook Comments