While most people think that Japan is all about the exotic foods, unique culture, and quirky trends, camping in Japan definitely has an allure on its own. Japanese love the outdoor life. And camping has always been popular among them most especially during the summer school holidays when younger people are free to go with their families and friends hoping to find a respite from the often-frantic city life.
There are currently more than 3000 campsites scattered all over Japan mostly owned and managed by public bodies. Aside from being inexpensive and safe, these campsites offer great services that can make your camping experience more enjoyable and memorable.
A BRIEF GUIDE TO CAMPING IN JAPAN
Campgrounds, in Japanese, are usually called “camp-jo”, while campgrounds that allow vehicles to park at the campsites are called “auto camp-jo”. In Japan, it is common for people to pitch the tents beside their cars.
Campgrounds in Japan are mostly public than private. Public campgrounds are usually cheaper and offer simple amenities, whilst the counterparts are slightly expensive and provide a lot more necessities.
Camping experience in Japan is slightly different. As opposed to just an open field, there are always facilities available like showers, restrooms, electricity, and water. Some even offer a variety of camping gear to buy or to rent just in case you forget something. Hot springs, tennis courts, fishing areas, and children’s playgrounds are also often provided.
Campsite fees can cost up to several thousands of yen a night. However, there are a lot of free and low-cost campsites around Japan that you can go to if you want to cut your cost while having the same level of unique experience.
The best time to go camping in Japan is during the summer months (July through August) and on the weekends. Camping is very popular for both the locals and the tourists and it is therefore recommended to book your reservations as early as possible.
- AMA BEACH CAMPGROUND
Located right next to the Ama beach in the island of Zamami at Okinawa, Japan, the Ama Beach Campground is a perfect place for camping because of its plentiful space, slightly off the beaten path (you won’t find yourself mobbed by other vacationers), and the beautiful sunset from the beach.
Bringing your own gear, the reservation will only set you back 300 yen (3 dollars). However, if you don’t feel like lugging camping gears around Japan, you can rent the tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and charcoal grills for ¥ 1000- ¥ 2500 ($9-$23) per night. Facilities such as shower rooms, toilets, community kitchen and et cetera are available with a base fee of 300 yen per person per night. There is also a place to charge electronic devices and check baggage.
- SHIDAKAKO LAKE CAMPSITE
Famous for being designated as one of the best sceneries in Beppu Sansho in Taisho Period, the Shidakako Lake Campsite will give you a peaceful getaway from the electric city of Japan. Located at the Asu Kuju National Park, a scenic view of the landscape surrounding the beautiful lake is truly a unique experience.
Like many other campsites in Japan, the Shidakako Lake Campsite can get crowded during the summer season. So if you want to totally enjoy the place on your own, avoid going in major holiday seasons. Reservation is not needed for your camping spot and you only need to pay a camping fee of under 1000 yen to open the gate and drive inside the campsite. Public facilities such as shower rooms, toilets and the places to rinse your dishes are close to the gate. You may prefer to stay in the close vicinity. Permanently installed barbeque sets are available and can be rented for a very affordable price.
You can explore the place or enjoy a ride on the lake. Boats and foot-rowing boats are available for a fee.
- HOSHINOYA FUJI
“Grand Ping” or Glamorous Camping in Hoshinoya Fuji is a way to enjoy camping without giving up the luxuries of your everyday living. Completely outfitted with tents, campfires, restaurants and offers a variety of activities such as horseback riding, canoeing, and forest trail hiking, you will enjoy the beautiful and relaxing scenery of Mount Fuji while being one with nature.
For inquiries and reservations, you may visit their website.
- ASHINOKO CAMP VILLAGE
Ashinoko or Lake Ashi lies at the base of Mount Hakone, a volcano in Japan. This camp village features large cabin facilities and is popular among the local and the tourist campers. As a place surrounded by nature, Ashinoko Camp Village offers a different sense of well-being throughout the four seasons.
You can enjoy staying at the campsite that is replete with facilities and equipment such as on-site cabins (¥1500-¥2000), tent and camp site with an individual parking spot (¥ 5000-¥ 7000), parking space (¥ 520), barbeque garden (¥ 1620), and onsite shower (¥ 200). Restaurant, multi-purpose hall and rent-a-cycle can also be found.
- TREE HOUSE CAMPING IN TOCHIGI
Make your childhood dreams come true!
With 13 tree houses spread across the property ranging from ¥ 8000-¥ 12000 ($ 72-$108) per night, live out your childhood fantasies of climbing up the tree to snuggle and sleep as you listen to the noise of nature. Each tree house can accommodate 4 to 5 people which make it perfect for a family getaway.
While the primary attraction of this campsite is the tree houses, plenty of dry platforms where you can pitch your tent are also offered. You might want to walk through the campsite, spend some time with some animals around, and explore the forest. At night, do not forget to look up at the sky. This remote area is perfect to make a spectacular view of the stars.
There are barbeque areas that you can use with an extra ¥ 1000 ($ 9) per tree house. Reservations are required. Feel free to visit their website to look at the campsite map and to see the pictures of the tree houses.