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Camping In Japan

Updated on July 13, 2015
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This author is a former I.T. graduate turned vagabond who travelled extensively and has lived and worked in Japan for many years.

Urban camping in Japan

If you combine urban camping, bicycling, hitchhiking, and eating discount supermarket and restaurant meals, it’s quite easy to visit Japan on a very tight budget. This article has some simple tips and locations of where you can safely camp undisturbed.

How about a tent by the river? I was walking along the Yodogawa River one day; taking photos, when a vagabond from Switzerland approached me. He had been staying in a tent by the river, and had become friendly with a homeless man. He generously shared food and wine with the man, and in return had his belongings cared for while he went out in the day.

Where to camp in Osaka

The safest place to camp in Osaka is near the Three Bridges at the Yodogawa River near Nakatsu Station.

Yodogawa River Osaka Japan
Yodogawa River Osaka Japan | Source
A markernakustu station -
Nakatsu Station, 3 Chome-16 Toyosaki, Kita-ku, Ōsaka-shi, Ōsaka-fu 531-0072, Japan
get directions

Close up Photos Of Yodogawa River Camping Location

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Can get noisy when trains pass, Yodogawa River Osaka JapanHomeless resident, Yodogawa River Osaka JapanGreat fishing spot, Yodogawa River Osaka JapanWithin walking distance of Umeda, Yodogawa River Osaka JapanWalk for miles along the river banks wide open spaces, Yodogawa River Osaka JapanCamp under the bridge when it rains, Yodogawa River Osaka JapanCamp in the bushes, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan
Can get noisy when trains pass, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan
Can get noisy when trains pass, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan | Source
Homeless resident, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan
Homeless resident, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan | Source
Great fishing spot, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan
Great fishing spot, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan | Source
Within walking distance of Umeda, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan
Within walking distance of Umeda, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan | Source
Walk for miles along the river banks wide open spaces, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan
Walk for miles along the river banks wide open spaces, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan | Source
Camp under the bridge when it rains, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan
Camp under the bridge when it rains, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan | Source
Camp in the bushes, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan
Camp in the bushes, Yodogawa River Osaka Japan | Source

How to Camp in Japanese Cities

Don’t stay where there are many homeless. They may feel you are encroaching on their territory. Find a quiet out of the way location where not too many people will walk by. Always stay only one night in each location if you feel the area is not discreet enough. If you cant find a discreet location, pitch your tent late and leave early in the morning, and always avoid causing any pain for passers by. Avoid inner city parks where there are many people. Move to the outskirts of the major inner city areas. Don’t pick very small parks, parks with playground equipment or parks near schools. Find a reasonable size park with some bushes to hide your tent behind if possible. Finally always pack light so it’s easy to move locations.

Where to camp in Kobe

If you find yourself in the neighboring city of Kobe, it’s possible to camp on the beach or in the mountains. However I recommend you find a place well off the trail, only go there after dark, wake up early and pack up your tent. As many elderly hikers may be on the mountain trails. Nunobiki falls is a great place in the mountains, with a beautiful waterfall; just minutes walk from Shin Kobe station.

A markershinkobe station -
Shinkobe Station, 1 Chome-3 Kanōchō, Chūō-ku, Kōbe-shi, Hyōgo-ken 650-0001, Japan
get directions

Photos Of Nunobiki Falls

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Entrance to Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo JapanTemple at Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo JapanView of Kobe City from Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo JapanNunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo JapanNunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo JapanNunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan
Entrance to Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan
Entrance to Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan | Source
Temple at Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan
Temple at Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan | Source
View of Kobe City from Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan
View of Kobe City from Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan | Source
Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan
Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan | Source
Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan
Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan | Source
Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan
Nunobiki Falls Shin Kobe Hyogo Japan | Source

Camping At The Beach

If you prefer the beach, go to Suma station. Walk west to the first beach after Suma beach. You will see a long fishing jetty with a circular building at the end of the jetty. It’s a barbecue restaurant. This beach is rocky and quieter, and does have a few homeless living there. However, the authorities won’t bother you if you stay there. This is also a great place to fish. If you’re there in summer, Suma beach also has night parties and beach bars to enjoy.

A markersuma station japan -
Suma Station, 4 Chome-2 Sumauradōri, Suma-ku, Kōbe-shi, Hyōgo-ken 654-0055, Japan
get directions

Photos Of Suma Beach Camping Location

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Rocky Beach North of Suma Beach Hyogo JapanHomeless Resident Suma Beach Hyogo JapanUse this tunnel when it rains, Suma Beach Hyogo JapanFishing Jetty, Suma Beach Hyogo Japan
Rocky Beach North of Suma Beach Hyogo Japan
Rocky Beach North of Suma Beach Hyogo Japan | Source
Homeless Resident Suma Beach Hyogo Japan
Homeless Resident Suma Beach Hyogo Japan | Source
Use this tunnel when it rains, Suma Beach Hyogo Japan
Use this tunnel when it rains, Suma Beach Hyogo Japan | Source
Fishing Jetty, Suma Beach Hyogo Japan
Fishing Jetty, Suma Beach Hyogo Japan | Source

Have you ever camped in Japan?

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