Welcome to camping site in Japan
• The camping situation in Japan
Camping started to become popular in Japan beginning in the 1960s. Today, there are about 1,300 campgrounds in Japan.
Although campgrounds dot the entire country, some sites close in the winter, as Japan is long in the north-south direction. Campgrounds that remain open all year are located in southern regions.
Especially in Hokkaido, which is located in the north, many campgrounds are only open from May until the end of September.
The fee system used by many campgrounds is a usage fee for the campsite plus an entry fee per person. Take note, as this is slightly different from the payment system seen in many countries where it is a matter of “how much per person.”
The average price nationwide is around 5,000 yen. In Hokkaido, which is popular with foreigners, prices are cheap compared to the rest of the country, with many campgrounds where you can spend the night for about 1,000 to 2,000 yen.
Campgrounds are very crowded from late April to early May and from mid-July to late August (especially around August 15), as there are long vacations in Japan at those times. Space may be unavailable without prior reservations. So, if you plan to use a campground during these seasons, prepare early.
The best seasons for camping in Japan are May, when the new green leaves are fresh, and from October to November, when the autumn foliage is beautiful.
Many places have coin-operated showers that cost about 100 yen for three minutes. Money is needed each time the shower is used. Also, note that some campgrounds that have bathing facilities operate them only during non-work days.
Japan has many hot springs and there are often many around campgrounds. Going around to hot springs could be one of the enjoyments of a camping trip.
Camping in Japan
Different from the RV culture where the traveling is the purpose, camping in Japan is a culture where the camping itself, over a one-night weekend, is enjoyed. For that reason, the overwhelming majority of people camp in tents rather than RVs or trailers.
There is a wide variety of equipment available, “Made in Japan” quality is high, and there are many pieces of equipment unique to Japan. As there are outdoor shops across the country, going shopping for camping equipment could also be fun.
In recent years, car rental companies offering RVs have been increasing. An RV can be rented for 20,000 to 30,000 yen per night. However, most RVs are Japanese-made compact models. Make sure to check out how big they are beforehand.
Japan will host the Ruby World Cup in 2019 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Accordingly, the number of rental RVs and activities for tourists are expected to increase. So, please go ahead and thoroughly enjoy nature in Japan.