Camping in Japan is a popular leisure activity for both residents and tourists. With many forests and a long coastline, you can easily find beautiful places to pitch a tent. In fact, the country has about 3,000 campsites, including some just outside Tokyo.
If roughing it at campgrounds isn't your style, places such as Hoshinoya Fuji, a stylish outdoor site near Mount Fuji, offers "glamping"—glamorous camping that with luxury tents (more like cabins) and none of the inconveniences of traditional camping.
Most of the campsites in Japan offer showers, restrooms, outlets for electricity, and water. Some even have hot springs, tennis courts, dog parks, fishing areas, and children's playgrounds. In case you forgot something, many campgrounds also feature a variety of camping gear to buy or rent.
Campsite fees can cost up to several thousand yen a night. However, free and low-cost sites can also be found, which cuts your costs while traveling in this expensive country.
If you want to avoid fees and stay close to the city, you can try urban camping. This allows you to park a camper or pitch a tent anywhere (usually up to 24 hours) in both public and residential areas. Try to pick a more discreet area so as not to be bothered, keep noise to a minimum, leave early the next day and don’t camp in the same spot for more than one night.
When to Book Your Trip
Camping in Japan is popular during summer months (July through August) and on weekends, so early reservations are recommended. Note that many campgrounds are closed in winter. When making reservations, be sure to ask for the check-in and check-out times.
Where to Camp
Although Japan may be known for its energetic and sprawling cities, the country has gorgeous landscapes and scenery to enjoy just outside the city center. Around Tokyo there are many campsites short distances from JR train stations - meaning you won't have to rent a car. Hikarigaoka Park is one such spot, it being a five-minute walk from the metro on the Toei Oedo line. The park has a soccer field, basketball and tennis courts, and an aviary. The Jonanjima Seaside Park, south of Tokyo, also has 1,000 sites available for campers, so you'll have an ample choice of prime camping spots.
To find out more about camping in Japan's gorgeous national parks, check out the Japan National Tourism Organization, which features some excellent English-language resources for foreign travelers.