What to Look for When Choosing a Campsite in Japan

Outdoor activities and camping have become very popular in Japan! Due to the corona pandemic, camping and other outdoor activities have been gaining attention as leisure activities that can be enjoyed in nature. However, beginner campers often encounter unforeseen problems. In this article, we'll go over how to choose a campsite for beginner campers with advice from a professional camper.

Video Introduction

This video, titled "[A Must-See for Beginner Campers] How to Choose a Campsite for a Successful Camping Debut" (【キャンプ初心者必見】デビューを成功させるキャンプ場の選び方), was uploaded by "Manpuku Manten・FULL CAMP" (キャンプ/満腹満点). This video introduces how to choose a campsite, based on the experiences of the YouTuber himself, so that camping beginners can enjoy their first camping experience as much as possible. This video is a must-see for those looking to go camping for the first time.

5 Tips for Beginner Campers When Choosing a Campsite in Japan

Image of a woman setting up a tent
Photo:A woman setting up a tent

Based on his experiences, here are five things beginner campers should look out for when choosing a campground for their camping debut. Let's take a look!

・Choose a Campground Within 2 Hours of Your Home
The first point to consider when choosing a campsite is to choose one near your home. First-time campers tend to be very enthusiastic and choose a campsite far from home. However, if you're far away, it may take longer than expected to get there due to traffic and other factors. If you arrive late, your plans for setting up your tent and preparing meals will also be delayed. Allowing plenty of time for your first camping trip will give you peace of mind so you can make the most of your time. A good rule of thumb is to go to a place that can be reached in about 2 hours from where you live.
[Video] 1:48 - Go to a campsite near your home

・Auto Campgrounds Are Great for Beginners
Next is the type of campsite. For beginners, we recommend choosing an auto campground. An auto campground is a type of campground in Japan where you can park your car next to your campsite. After arriving at your campsite with lots of heavy equipment, you'll be exhausted from carrying it to your campsite if it's located far away.
If you choose an auto campground where you can park your car right next to the campsite, you can easily load and unload your gear and get into your car quickly if there's a sudden rain or something else happens. This is a big point of relief especially for beginners.
[Video] 2:53 - Types of Campsites

Image of a campground
Photo:A campground

・Check for Toilets and Bathing Facilities in Advance
The third thing to keep in mind is to check whether the campground has toilets and bathing facilities. Especially for women and those traveling with children, it's important to check if flush toilets are available. Many people have difficulty using Japanese-style toilets, so it is important to check in advance!
Also, some campgrounds that have showers may have small shower rooms that cost one coin (often 500 yen but occasionally 100 yen) to use. We recommend that you check the website in advance.
[Video] 4:04 - Campsite Facilities

・Staff Is Always Available
The fourth tip for looking for a campground is to make sure that staff is always available. When camping for the first time, even if you have practiced setting up a tent and making a fire in advance, it's possible that things may go wrong when you arrive. Since many campgrounds are unmanned at night, it's a good idea to check if the campground is staffed full-time.
[Video] 6:14 - Staff on duty

・AC power is available.
The last thing to check for is whether AC power is available regardless of season, be it spring, summer, fall, or winter. The availability of electricity is especially important for beginner campers. Electricity is a strong ally until campers get used to camping and can cope adequately with energy sources other than electricity. Bringing an extension cord is a must, as the AC power source may be far away from where you're actually using electricity.

Summary of How to Choose a Campsite in Japan

When you make your camping debut, you'll be experiencing a lot of new things. Time and schedule management can be difficult. To avoid being rushed and having a stressful camping trip, it's important to choose your campground carefully.

When you're first starting out, choose a campground with ample facilities rather than one with few or no facilities. Don't forget to find out more about the facilities if you're a woman and/or are camping with women or children. As you gain more experience in the outdoors and with camping, you can choose more advanced and distant campgrounds. We hope you have an exciting camping debut! Be sure to refer to this article when searching for a campground.

Written By
Last Updated : May. 27, 2022
岩本 晃弘 (aki)
I'm a writer living in rural Japan who loves travel and food
5 Tips for Choosing a Campsite: A Beginner's Guide
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