An activity that comes to mind when I think of what I want to do during Summer is camping. Camping near the water means you can keep cool from the humid heat on the main island of Japan. The task of setting up a tent and lighting a barbeque makes good memories to reminisce later on. If you’re looking for a quick getaway from the heat island felt in the urban metropolis and relax in nature for a weekend, you don’t have to look too far, as you can find some great camp sites in Tokyo!
Camping in Tokyo
Photo credits: Scott Goodwill
Tokyo actually has many campsites. A couple of spots are close to the water in the east, as well as towards the mountains and rivers in the west. They are easy to access from central Tokyo by car or even train and it only takes a couple of hours to get to one of these campsites. Day camping is popular in Japan, but the places I have listed below are available to stay overnight to get the full camp experience.
Jonanjima Seaside Park Camp Site
Did you know that there is a campground close to Haneda Airport? For those who don’t mind the noise of air traffic and enjoy plane watching, Jonanjima Campsite is perfect for you. Although it is a fair distance from the closest train station, it is possible to catch a bus from Omori Station. There is also parking if you intend to get there by car. Once you are in the campground, there are benches and barbeque facilities that are available to use. There is also a beach and skateboard plaza nearby to keep you entertained. They only take reservations by phone.
Odake Cave Camp Site
Photo credits: Iori Ikeda
The Odake Cave Campground is located right next to the Odake Cave, Okutama, which is a naturally formed Limestone cave. Since it was discovered, it was dug out by hand so that people could fit inside. Even in summer, the cave is only around 10 degrees celsius, which is a good way to stay cool. It is separated into two camp grounds, one upstream and one downstream, which allows for customers to set up their tents close to the river and cool down in the water. There is no lighting in the area, so you can see the stars on a clear night.
Tama Hills Camp
Photo credits: Cristofer Maximillian
Tama Hills Camp is located across the Tama river and in Inagi City. It is a recreational camp ground exclusively for U.S. Military, but is open to the general public on specific days. Photo ID is required to enter and once you go through, it feels as if you have left Japan for an overseas destination. There are spots to set up your tent, but also pet-friendly cabins available to stay in for the night. If you’re looking for something other than relaxing by the river, there is a golf course, a mountain bike trail, a horse-riding ground and highly-rated hot spring nearby. There is also a general store located there, which will accept U.S. Dollars or Yen.
Ochiai Camping Ground
Photo credits: Galih Putro
Oichiai Camping Ground in Okutama is a small camp site that is next to the meeting point of the Akigawa and Yozawa rivers. It is easiest to get to the location by car and there is a parking area. You can set up base in the shade of the trees and there is a breeze from the rivers, which helps you to stay cool. Despite the hot temperatures it can reach in the day, the midsummer nights are a nice temperature. There is equipment available to hire, which you can enquire about when making a booking. However, there are no shops or vending machines located nearby, so please ensure that you bring all the essential food and drink you will need for your stay.
Seitoen Camp Site
Photo credits: Jules Morel
On this list, Seitoen is the furthest campground from central Tokyo, but it is still easy to access, even with public transport, as a bus stops at the entrance. It is also located on the water but has lots of hiking trails for the more adventurous. What I found unique to this campsite is that there are cabins available that have tatami flooring. The website is easy to use, as it has lots of pictures of the place and the the booking system is also easy to understand. Campgoers have rated Seitoen highly, saying the facilities are clean and it is kid friendly. This has made it a popular spot for repeat customers. If this site is full, there are a few campsites in the area, such as Okuchaya and Nakachaya.
Which Tokyo Camping Site Will You Go to This Summer?
Camping is the perfect activity to enjoy the great outdoors and the sounds of nature in summer. Although these campsites are located in Tokyo, it is a great contrast to the concrete jungle that often comes to mind. The running rivers and the large trees mean that it is a few degrees cooler in the mountainous area of west Tokyo. Where will your next camping getaway be?
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Featured photo credits of Okutama: Canva.com