For those of you not familiar with my “Camp Japan” blog which I’ve posted about on social media (Facebook, Instagram), this particular blog series follows my 5-week solo camping venture through northern Japan.
I stayed at a mix of campsites, Michi no eki, parks and also freedom camped/wild camped. Camping like this is not particularly common in Japan, so it was a learning experience the whole way through. I visited some awesome places and made some great memories, but of course there were little challenges every now and again. If you’d like to hear about my experiences camping and traveling on a budget through northern Japan, be sure to sign up to the mailing list (above) and follow my social media.
I began my travels in Akita, a very rural and little-known prefecture (region) on the northwest coast of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Akita is known for its vast expanses of rice fields with little pockets of forest in between. Since nature tourism is not yet well developed in Akita, most of the areas rich in nature do not have walking tracks (although you can still hike large mountains such as Mt Taihei) and public transport is more limited. The best way to experience Akita’s nature may be by renting a car and driving around beautiful, remote areas.
Arriving late at night after much waiting between the irregular train services, I set up my first camp in the dark and sweaty heat of a humid summer night. Unfortunately the ground was a lot drier than my clothes at that point, and added with the fact that this was the first time I’d set up the tent in a month or so, it took a fair while. But we got there in the end!
Since there were no official campsites within easy access of where I wanted to be, I camped on the edge of an area of shared public land where local people could come to plant their own vegetables. Every morning I woke up to the sound of a few people chatting together as they went about their gardening nearby. None of them seemed bothered by my camping there, although for long-term camping it probably isn’t ideal.