A Guide To Some Of The Best Camping Spots In And Just Outside Tokyo

From the farm to Fuji: Glamping, roughing it and everything in between

By Lucy Dayman
August 3, 2018
Lifestyle, Out & About

It's time to get out of the concrete jungle and get back in touch with nature.

https://savvytokyo.com/shinrin-yoku-the-japanese-art-of-forest-bathing/Now that summer is heavily upon us with its scorching nights and long days, there’s no better time to make a cool escape from the sweltering concrete-reflected heat of inner-city Tokyo. From lush mountainous terrain, and crystal clear lakes to breezy beachside hangouts and rustic farm-style glamping, there are so many diverse and incredible outdoor escapes a lot closer to the city than you think. Here’s a guide to some of the best.

Nagatoro Auto Camp-jo (Saitama)

An ideal spot for first-time campers, or those who aren’t too keen on just living off the bare essentials, the Nagatoro Auto Camp-jo nestled in the foliage covered hills of in Chichibu-gun, Saitama is definitely worth looking into. The fully equipped site features a small convenience store, a rental outlet for camping equipment, vending machines, on-site BBQ facilities and even prepared meal sets for sale ready to be cooked on the aforementioned BBQs. If you don’t have a tent, don’t sweat it, there are also rental cabins onsite available as well as more classic camping areas.

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Beyond the more than plentiful facilities, what makes this place so special is its idyllic location. Sitting right on the banks of the Arakawa River tucked deep between towering hills, the site is a watersports and hiking haven.

Location: 559-1 Ido, Nagatoro-cho, Chichibu District, Saitama Prefecture
Price: ¥1,500-¥38,000 depending on what lodging you prefer
Open: March to mid-December
Web: www.nagatoro-camp.com

Wakasu Park Camping Ground (Tokyo)

It sounds strange, but did you know you can go camping by the waterfront practically in the center of Tokyo? Sitting at the tip of the peninsula just south of Shin-Kiba Station, looking out onto Tokyo Bay is where you’ll find Wakasu Park Camping Ground, a breezy open campsite with open views of the sea backdropped by some of Japan’s most iconic landmarks including Tokyo Disney Resort, Tokyo Gate Bridge and of course Mt. Fuji.

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If you don’t have the time or means to travel too far, this is an ideal spot to satisfy your campsite cravings without having to overcommit or over prepare. The site features communal BBQ facilities, a kitchen, and plenty of nearby attractions including tennis courts, golf range and the shopping centers of Odaiba.

Location: 3-2-1 Wakasu, Koto-ku, Tokyo
Price: Daycamp: ¥300 (Adults), Overnight: ¥600 (Adults)
Open: All year round, except Tuesdays and some days at the end of the year
Web: www.tptc.co.jp/park/03_07

The Farm (Chiba)

Glamping (‘glam’ camping) is a vacationing style that is currently gaining some serious traction across the world including here in Japan. Combining the best bits of camping with the best bits of enjoying a luxury holiday, it’s pretty much a win-win situation for nature lovers and high-maintenance holiday goers alike. Glamping facility The Farm in Chiba has in its relatively short lifespan garner a reputation for being one of the best in Kanto, so if you’re new to the camping world, it’s an ideal place to start.  

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Located in Katori City, Chiba, about an hour and a half from Tokyo by car, The Farm is divided up into high-end campgrounds and more regular lodges, both with access to an on-site natural onsen (hot spring), BBQ facilities, and café which serves locally harvested produce. Offering fully equipped tents and day use facilities, it’s a great place to go if you’re planning a short visit, or want to go on a camping adventure but don’t want to go out and buy all the necessities.

Location: 1309-29 Nishitabe, Katori-shi, Chiba
Price: ¥7,980–¥37,000 for glamping, regular camping is cheaper.
Open: Check online
Web: www.thefarm.jp

Kouan Campsite (Yamanashi)

© Photo by kouan

Sitting along the banks of Lake Motosu at the foot of Mt. Fuji, Kouan Campsite Campsite is one of the most surreal and stunning camping locations near Tokyo. The site is split into two sides, north and south. Hot tip: take the north side for the best view of Mt. Fuji and its towering snow-capped reflection on the clam, tranquil waters of the Lake Motosu. This site is so picturesque that it has been immortalized on the back of the ¥1,000 note.

The perfect place to really leave it all behind and get back to the basics, the area does have nearby restaurant BBQ facilities and cabins. Rental equipment, however, isn’t available so it’s best to be prepared.

Location: 2926 Nakanokura, Minobu-cho, Minamikoma-gun, Yamanashi
Price: ¥600 for adults, ¥300 for children. Cabins: From ¥17,280 (for up to 6 people)
Open: From March 31 to December 1
Web: http://kouan-motosuko.com/en/

Hikawa Campground (Tokyo)

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Popular with locals, but still a relatively well-kept secret beyond those in the know, the area of Okutama is an excellent summer retreat just a short trip from inner-city Tokyo. Home to the picturesque and clear Tama and Nippara rivers, this mountain surrounded, a foliage-carpeted pocket of Japan is the perfect place to set up camp in escape and enjoy the rejuvenating Japanese traditional of shinrin-yoku – also known as ‘forest bathing’ or in layman’s terms — immersing yourself in nature.

In terms of categories, this campsite sits nicely in the middle of the spectrum between ‘back to basics’ and ‘glamping.’ On-site you’ll find nearby convenience stores, BBQ facilities, and rental shops where you can pick up any necessities you may have left at home.

Location: 702 Hikawa, Okutama-cho, Nishitama District, Tokyo
Price: Daycamp: ¥600 (Adults), Tent site: ¥800 (per night), Cabins from ¥5,500 (for up to 4 people)
Open: All year round except for December 28 to January 5
Web: www.okutamas.co.jp/hikawa

Camping tips

Weather: Summer in Tokyo can be the best time of year, festivals, warm days, endless swimming and outdoor fun, but with the recent heat waves and annual typhoons that take hold during this time, it can also be some of the most dangerous months. Be sure to always check weather forecasts and be prepared for any potential wild weather outbreaks. Also, many campgrounds are closed in winter.

Plan ahead: Throughout the summer months (July to August) camping is a pretty popular local pastime, so if there’s a place you really have your heart set on it’s safest to book well in advance. Also note that the national week-long holiday Obon runs through mid-August (usually, Aug 13-15), so there may be a little extra competition nabbing a spot during that time.

Bathing: If your campsite doesn’t have bathing facilities, don’t sweat it, there’s a pretty high chance you’ll be within a short distance from an onsen (hot spring) or sento (public bath). An easy google search should be able to point you in the right direction.

Garbage: This should be a given no matter where you camp in the world, however always be aware of your environmental impact on the area in which you’re staying. As many are probably already aware, Japan has a lot less garbage bins laying about than many other cities, so do be prepared to bring your trash home with you if need be.

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