Are Camping Manners Universal?

Image of a family enjoying camping
Photo:A family enjoying camping

Japan is often praised in foreign media and news for its manners. It shows Japanese people's unique attentiveness to others. Today, camping is becoming popular all across Japan due to the novel coronavirus. But are camping manners in Japan and camping manners in other parts of the world the same? Let's take a look at some camping manners to be careful of when camping in Japan.

Video Introduction: Basic Camping Manners for Beginners

Image of a campground's cooking area
Photo:A campground's cooking area

This video, titled "10 Camping Manners Camping Beginners Should Know" (キャンプ初心者の方が知っておきたいキャンプマナー10選), was uploaded by "Taro Camp" (たろーキャンプ).
It features camping gear and shows what camping is like in Japan.

In Japan, many people are getting into nature and outdoor activities! Camping gear and items for beginner-level campers are now available as well, making it easier to start enjoy camping.
However, although camping is done in nature, campgrounds are still public places and there are rules and manners to follow. Below, we'll introduce an easy-to-understand explanation of rules regarding time and use of public spaces when camping in Japan. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced camper, be sure to check out this article to avoid any misunderstandings and learn proper etiquette for camping in Japan.

Rules and Manners Regarding Time

キImage of a campground
Photo:A campground

・Be Quiet Late at Night
It's good manners to be quiet after 10:00 p.m. Many campgrounds are often quiet, and even normal conversation can echo into other campsites. Thus, it's important to be careful about the volume of your voice and music, especially at night. Furthermore, some campgrounds have their own set times for lights-out hours, etc. Be sure to follow the etiquette of the campground you're using.

・Lights-Out Means Lights-Out
As we just mentioned, lights-out hours are often set by the campground. In campgrounds where there are no streetlights or residential lights, lanterns and other lights can be intrusive. If you still want to stay awake when the lights go out, consider using a smaller light inside your tent.

・Check-in and Check-Out Hours
Of particular importance are check-out times. Check-out times vary from campground to campground, but most campgrounds in Japan set their check-out time to be 10:00 a.m. It's important to respect check-out times for the sake of other campers using the campground.

Use of Common Space and Garbage

Image of campground manners
Photo:Campground manners

・Keeping Shared Spaces Clean
Cooking areas, toilets, and shower rooms are shared spaces. It's a fact that some people pour leftover food, such as vegetable scraps and leftovers, into cooking areas. However, if the sinks become clogged, it causes problems not only for other campers but also for the campground. Furthermore, when using shower rooms and other facilities, keep in mind that other campers want to use them as well.

Shared spaces are used by other campers, and it's imperative that they be used properly as to keep them clean.
[Video] 2:37 - Manners in Shared Spaces

・Proper Clean-Up of Garbage
Beginner-level campers should be especially cautious of this. Leave your campsite cleaner than it was when you got there. Clean up when you've finished using a site. It's very important for each and every one of us to be aware of this so that we can enjoy the refreshing air of the outdoors and camp in a pleasant environment. Be sure to take care of any charcoal and garbage you've used. Furthermore, be careful to properly separate garbage. Things like plastic bottles and food scraps should not be disposed of together. Please note that some campgrounds require campers to take their garbage home with them.

Greetings and Respect for Other Campers

Image of Lake Tanuki Camp Ground
Photo:Lake Tanuki Camp Ground

・Be Considerate of Other Campers
A good campsite means being considerate of other campers at the campground. It is more enjoyable to camp in a pleasant atmosphere of mutual respect rather than hostility. Of course, don't forget to greet the campers next to you! Especially if there are small children, pets, or animals, it is a good idea to greet any fellow campers.

・Set Up Your Camp at a Reasonable Distance From Other Campers
If other people have already set up their tents, keep a certain distance from them. As a rule of thumb, set up your tent at least 3 meters away from other campers.
Of course, it is possible to be closer than this, depending on how crowded the site is, but you should keep this 3-meter rule in mind when camping in Japan.

・Be Mindful of Other People's Scenery
If your campsite is a scenic campground, make sure that you're not obstructing other people's views. Remember that other campers go camping to enjoy the scenery too.

・Keep Music at a Volume That Does Not Disturb Others
When camping, it's normal to want to listen to music, but try to play it at a volume that does not disturb other campers. There are various types of campers, some who want to enjoy the sounds of nature or listen to their music while enjoying nature. It's proper camp etiquette to enjoy music at a volume that does not disturb those around you.

Nature Goes Hand in Hand With Camping

・Preserve the Natural Environment
Avoid breaking tree branches, digging up plants, etc. Enjoying nature is what makes camping camping. If we destroy it then the next people to camp in the area won't be able to enjoy it.
Also, if you want to use tree branches as kindling, be sure to check with the campground before doing so. Also, we recommend that you check with the campground beforehand if you plan to make an open fire directly on the ground, as many campgrounds prohibit this.

Precautions to Avoid Trouble When Camping in Japan!

Image of a woman enjoying solo camping
Photo:A woman enjoying solo camping

It's important to follow the rules carefully to avoid getting into trouble at the campground. Things such as leaving trash behind or playing loud music can cause a lot of trouble not only for other campers, but for the campground as well.

Also, if you're planning on bringing a pet, keep it on a leash! Not everyone is comfortable with animals.

Violations of manners and rules can lead to quarrels and other problems that, if serious enough, can end up with the police getting involved. If this happens, your camping experience and the camping experience of others will be ruined. To avoid trouble, be sure to respect camp etiquette!

Summary of Camping Manners in Japan

A campsite is a place to enjoy nature in a space shared with others. Some people want to go to bed early to feel the refreshing morning air of the great outdoors, and others just want to enjoy a fun time with everyone. Everyone has their own way of enjoying themselves, which is exactly why it's important to be mindful of others.

Even experienced campers have been warned by other campers that they are too noisy. Because it's a quieter environment than the city, you may need to be more careful than usual.
Please be sure to follow the rules set by the campground as well as the camping manners we listed above so that all campers can have a pleasant time when camping.
The video shows examples of poorly used cooking areas and a fire pit that wasn't properly cleaned after being used. Be sure to check it out whether you're a beginner or an experienced camper!

Written By
May. 6, 2022
Japan
岡本 修(Shu Okamoto)
10 Camping Manners to Be Careful of When Camping in Japan! Time, Sound, Shared Spaces, Etc. Avoid Trouble When Camping!
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