Japan's Camping Manners

Camping is a leisure activity that allows people of all ages to enjoy a priceless time in nature. Japan is currently experiencing a camping boom. However, the sad reality is that some campgrounds have closed down due to lack of good manners, such as campers not picking up their trash. In this article, we'll go over Japanese camping manners to be careful of.

Camping Manners Video Introduction

This video, titled "20 Camping Manners for Beginners and New Campers Alike! [How to Get Started Camping: Camping Manners]" (キャンプ初心者さん、これからキャンプを始める方に伝えたいキャンプマナー20選 嫌だ!〜こんなキャンパー〜【キャンプのはじめかた:キャンプマナー編】), was uploaded by "Camp Lab" (キャンプ研究所).

The video introduces useful camping etiquette, and is recommended for those who are just starting to enjoy outdoor activities, such as camping, as well as experienced campers.

20 Camping Manners to Know When Camping in Japan

Image of camping manners
Photo:Camping manners

Although manners vary from country to country and campground to campground many of these are useful no matter where you're camping. There's no one better to learn from than an advanced camper who's been doing it for years, someone who has experienced bad camping manners themself. Let's take a look at these 20 camping manners to keep in mind when camping in Japan!

1. Choose a Campsite After Checking In

It's bad camping etiquette to have your friend or other campers that you came with hold a site for you while you check in. It's standard etiquette that you should only choose a campsite after you finish checking in to the campground.
[Video] 1:16 - Choosing a Campsite

2. Set Your Tent Up Away From Other Campers

Image of a campground
Photo:A campground

Setting up a tent right next to an already pitched tent is bad manners, especially when the site is large and there are many other places to set up a tent.
Moreover, setting up a tent in such a place may spoil the scenery for other campers. When choosing a place to set up your tent, you need to consider the scenery of the tents that are already set up, as to not obstruct their view.
[Video] 1:36 - Setting Up Your Tent

3. Avoid Cutting Through Other Campsites

Care should also be taken to avoid entering other plots. While it's OK if you just cut a corner through a campsite, you should avoid doing it too frequently and avoid crossing through the middle of a campsite to avoid disturbing other campers.
[Video] 1:56 - Other Campers' Plots

4. Avoid Taking Up Too Much Space

It's also a violation of camping etiquette to take up too much space in a free site. This is a common sight at group campsites, where group tents are set up so far apart that other campers cannot easily fit in between them and will have to find other places to pitch their tents. On busy days, it can be difficult to find a place to pitch your tent. When setting up your tent, please be sure to take into consideration the crowded conditions, and make sure that the distance between tents is the same as other campers.
[Video] 2:19 - Avoid Taking Up Too Much Space

5. Avoid Late Night Setups and Early Morning Takedowns

Image of a campground at morning
Photo:A campground at morning

Any activity that interferes with other campers' peaceful sleep late at night or early in the morning is also taboo. Driving stakes into the ground while others are sleeping can be disturbing. Even if you unintentionally arrive at the campground late at night, consider the time before loudly setting up.
[Video] 2:56 - Late Night Setups/Early Morning Takedowns

6. Don't Leave Children Unattended

Do not leave small children unattended. Campsites can be dangerous places, and they could get into some serious trouble. You wouldn't want to see them get seriously injured or badly burned by a campfire or other fire because you lost sight of them.
[Video] 3:28 - Camping With Children

7. Be Careful When Playing With Flying Objects, Such as Balls, Frisbees, Drones, Etc.

Image of a drone
Photo:A drone

Playing with flying objects is another thing to be careful of. When playing with balls, frisbees, drones, etc., you should always be careful to make sure that no one is around. Be sure to play in designated areas. You wouldn't like it if someone else's frisbee kept flying into your campsite, right?
[Video] 4:16 - Flying Toys

8. Avoid Trouble With Your Kids

At campsites, in order to avoid trouble, parents may need to find a place for their children to play in advance, or if the campsite does not have an open space, you might need to take measures to avoid your children from being scolded, such as not bringing play equipment that is unsuitable for that location (i.e., flying toys in small areas).
[Video] 5:13 - Be Aware of Your Children

9. Avoid Causing Noise Pollution

Noise is a common cause of trouble, as loud noises can be annoying. Adjust the volume when enjoying music or movies, and be considerate of the time of day. Remember that the campground is a public place.
[Video] 5:40 - Noise Pollution

10. Be Careful When Consuming Alcohol

Image of enjoying drinks while camping
Photo:Enjoying drinks while camping

The video also touches on drinking manners. Don't mistake the campground for a bar/izakaya and overdo it. It's important to be aware of the time of day, and to be aware that you may disturb other campers while they're sleeping.
Video] 6:35 - Manners for Consuming Alcohol

11. Keep the Cooking Area Clean

It's bad camping manners to make a mess in the cooking area. Leaving food scraps and other debris in the cooking area drains is disrespectful to other campers. When washing cooking utensils, bring detergent, sponges, and plastic bags.
[Video] 7:22 - Keeping the Cooking Area Clean

12. Be Careful of Sparks From Campfires

Image of a campfire
Photo:A campfire

When enjoying a campfire, be careful of sparks. Sparks can fly not only on your tent, but also to neighboring campers' tents and other gear. Sparks may scorch your tent or other items, so please be careful.
[Video] 8:07 - Campfire Sparks

13. Open Flame Cooking Is Not Allowed at All Campgrounds

Don't perform open flame cooking in an area where open flame cooking is prohibited. It's a violation of both manners and rules. It may even lead to a wildfire in some places.
[Video] 9:07 - Check if Open Flame Cooking Is Allowed

14. Don't Burn Garbage in Campfires

Burning garbage in a campfire is another violation of camping manners. Burning trash creates unwanted smoke and odors.
[Video] 9:44 - Don't Burn Garbage in Campfires

15. Be Respectful Even When Staying in a Car

Image of sleeping in a car
Photo:Sleeping in a car

Be careful not to leave the engine running overnight when staying in a car. The noise can disturb other campers. Overnight stays in a car should be done in a parking lot.
[Video] 10:18 - Manners for Overnight Stays in a Car

16. Manners Regarding Pets

The video touches on manners regarding pets as well. It's bad manners to release pets without a leash. Pets can bite other campers and cause major problems.
[Video] 11:04 - Pet Manners

17. Be Aware of Your Surroundings When Setting off Fireworks

Do not disturb others with fireworks. Sparks may fly and scorch tents and other objects.
[Video] 11:56 - Fireworks Manners

18. Separate Garbage Properly

Image of camping manners
Photo:Camping manners

In Japan trash is separated by type. Be sure to properly separate trash, even at campsites.
[Video] 12:26 - Separating Trash

19. Leave Your Campsite Cleaner Than It Was When You Got There

It's also bad manners to leave your campsite messy when you're finished camping. Make sure you don't leave behind any garbage or charcoal. Try to leave your campsite cleaner than it was when you arrived.
[Video] 12:48 - Clean Your Campsite

20. Everyone Has Their Own Way of Enjoying Camping

Everyone enjoys camping in their own way. It's also bad manners to impose your own values on other people.
[Video] 13:12 - Camping Is Different for Everyone

Enjoy Camping in Japan With Proper Manners!

When camping, it's important to have good manners as well as to follow the rules of the campground. It's also important to gather information about prohibited items and equipment at the campground in advance. Trouble can be caused by violations of manners regarding garbage disposal, illegal dumping, noise in common spaces, and many other factors. When camping in Japan, it's important to respect nature, have good manners, keep other campers in mind to avoid any problems.

Written By
Last Updated : Jun. 7, 2022
鈴木 正孝(Masataka Suzuki)
A writer born and raised in Asakusa, Tokyo who loves traveling and novels
20 Camping Manners for Beginner Campers in Japan! Learn Proper Manners to Enjoy the Outdoors and Nature!
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