Welcome to Momiji


Momiji provides opportunities for young people with disabilities and life threatening illnesses. 

The word Momiji means ‘maple leaf’ in Japanese. The five lobes of the leaf represent the five aims of this organisation:

1. Provide an opportunity for people with special needs and their young carers to achieve goals together.

2. Develop a better understanding of Anglo-Japanese cultures and ways of life.

3. Create disability awareness.

4. Build self-confidence.

5. Create a strong bridge between both sides of the globe, new lasting friendships and to provide a memorable educational experience.

Most people that Momiji seeks to help are in their mid to late teens who have never been abroad. They are typically young people with special needs, from those with sight or hearing impediments to those with severe conditions such as spina-bifida or cerebral palsy and terminal illness. They are often wheelchair bound.

The long-term goal for Momiji is to open several hospices modelled on Momiji House across Japan. 

It is hoped that by giving them the opportunity to travel to the other side of the world and experience a significantly different way of life, it will enable them to build their self-confidence and to feel a sense of fulfilment. They are paired with a responsible, skilful and sensible young able-bodied person of about the same age. (e.g. a member of the Red Cross youth) to be their carers for a particular trip.

In the past, we have arranged exchange visits for over 175 young people in 20 years and have taken part in many activities including the Red Cross Sponsored Walk, the Japanese Red Cross Youth 75th Anniversary, Historical Walks, Sports days in Hyde Park and concerts at Windsor Castle. Other activities have included automatic wheelchair soccer matches in the UK and Japan, visits to Kyoto and Nara, meetings and discussions with people in similar situations as well as cultural and fun visits such as visiting the Sumo (traditional Japanese wrestling) stables, the FIFA World Cup soccer stadium in Yokohama, Disneyland Japan and Legoland UK. For each trip, around 16 people are selected (typically 6 sick young people, 1 doctor, 5 nurses, 2 volunteers and 2 adult leader/coordinators).

The aim is not only to provide a unique opportunity for these people to travel, but also for them to take this experience further and to exchange cultural ideas, crafts and study other ways of life.

In July 2001 Momiji received a Commendation from the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Japan “Through your tireless efforts to promote mutual understanding between Japan and the United Kingdom, you have made a highly distinguished contribution to friendly relations between Japan and Britain. In expressing my profound respect for your achievement, I hereby present you with this Commendation.”

In 2016, Momiji House was opened in Tokyo. The hospice provides crucial support and care for young people and their families and is the first of its kind in Japan.