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Camp site(kyanpu jo, キャンプ場)

A free camping site in Asahikawa, HokkaidoZoom

There are two types of camp site. One is for auto-camping which are like that you can enter the site with your car and pitch a tent nearby. In many cases, they have a lot of facilities such as a general store, flush toilets, plug outlets and so on. It costs from about 1500yen to 5000yen. As a general thing, they are in handy location; urban areas or major resorts. You might want to avoid this type of site.

The other type is suitable for most of us. They aren't bulldozed so much and have more plain facilities. Many of them have car parking space, but drivers have to carry camping equipment to the site by their hand. It costs starting from FREE to 1500yen.

Usual pay rate varies by locality. The most cheapest rate is that of Hokkaido. In Tohoku, Shikoku and Kyusyu, they are also reasonable. It's expensive in Kanto, but in more inconvenient place, more cheap.

In winter, many of the sites are closed to business. For example, nearly half of them in Kansai district are available all year, and the others are closed from November to middle of April.

The best way to find camp site is use "Touring Mapple". It's written only in Japanese, but it shows campsites on a map by graphical icons.

Free Camping(nojuku,野宿)

If adequate campsites are not found by your side, you might want to camp in the open. But any place may be someone's domain, so it's important to pay common-sense attention.

Let's talk to locals first!

In the case like that, let's talk to locals first. They may know the place which is suitable for camping. Even if they don't, you could avoid being regarded with suspicion by giving information who you are and why you are here.

It's good idea to open your mouth like that, "Mizuwo morae masuka?(Would you give me some water?)" , while holding out your canteen. It just doesn't matter if you feel dry or not. That asking makes you aware from his/her manner that if he/she is collaborative to your journey. Then broach the subject.


If you don't speak Japanese, it's convenient to carry a piece of paper with the Japanese words which tells people that you find appropriate site for camping in this neighborhood. Like that;

私は "YOUR COUNTRY" から来た"YOUR NAME"といいまして、野宿をしながら自転車で日本を旅しています。今夜一晩だけでもこの辺でテントを張れるところを探しています。どこかテントを張れるようなところがあれば教えて頂けないでしょうか。もちろんゴミは残さず、焚き火もしません。よろしくお願いします。


My name is "YOUR NAME" and I'm from "YOUR COUNTRY". I just travel around Japan by bike as bed down in open fields. Now I'm finding appropriate site for camping in this neighborhood, even for overnight. Could you tell where it is? I will never leave trash and never make a bonfire. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated.

You can cut&paste and print the above writing. To enable your PC to handle a Japanese character, check the web site Nihongo-ok!.com(for Windows) or Amherst College Information(for Mac OS9).

For further information, "Language page" has another phrases forl camping.

JCN translates your writings

If you'd like writings other than those above, we could translate the sentence you wrote into Japanese. Send us which you'd like to translate into Japanese. At a time, please specifying your full name and habitation country. Then we'll send back you the PDF file written in Japanese character. Now we accept English and Spanish (because one of our staff is rookie of Spanish language and seems to be bursting to use it).

Remember that all we are volunteers, we accept it at no charge and doesn't accept liability for any result of using the file we make.

Find the site by yourself

Asking locals is the best way to find the site, but this may not always be the case. Now we're going to show a knack for finding the site by yourself.

  • Coast may be all right. Also mountains are good, but make sure that there is no indication of falling rocks or cliff failure.
  • In the middle of big cities, broad and flat riverside may be the best site. Make sure that there is no sign of swollen river.
  • NEVER make a camp along mountain stream. More often than not, light rainfall at the top of mountain makes bleeding swollen stream. It's tergiversation is beyond our imagination.
  • The site near glebe or rice paddy is likely that's someone's domain.
  • Be clandestine. Graffiti or trash-strewn is the sign that someone comes at odd intervals, especially at midnight.
  • Parks in residential blocks are inappropriate. In relation to dealing with vagrants or security, peripheral people have a heightened sensitivity to it, especially in urban area.
  • On the face of things, roadside stations "Michi no Eki(道の駅)" seem optimum. However, making a camp is not allowed in many of them. It's important to make sure that the station allow it before pitch a tent.

Fuel for cooking(nenryou,燃料)


Petrol/Gasoline(gasorin,ガソリン),Paraffin/Kerosene(tohyu,灯油) is sold at petrol station(gasorin sutando,ガソリンスタンド) everywhere in Japan
White gasoline(howaito gasorin,ホワイトガソリン) is sold only at mountain gears shops(tozanyouhin ten,登山用品店)

Butane Gas cartridge

Butane Gas cartridge(gasu bonbe,ガスボンベ) produced by EMI, Prims and Coleman is sold at mountain gear shops.
Coleman and Prims, Butane Gas cartridge might also be sold at DIY shops(hohmu sentaa,ホームセンター) in summer.
Japanese style Gas stove is popular for home users(Kasetto konro,カセットコンロ)
Cylindrical cartridge is cheap and easy to buy(even at convenience stores). However, the stove is maybe too big for cyclists.
Some people use special attachment to connect this kind of cartridge to portable stove like you have. (Maybe this is widely sold in Korea.) It is hardly found in Japan...
Some people refill your gas cartridge from "Kasetto konro-type" gas cartridge. It is officially sold in Japan. But this one also difficult to get it(only mail-order business).

Methyl alcohol

Methyl alcohol is sold at drugstore(Nenryouyou aruko-ru,燃料用アルコール)
You will be probably asked your address and seal impression. Sorry I'm not sure how can you buy.
You can also buy Methyl alcohol at mountain gears shops by higher price, but I never asked seal impression there.

Cooking fish soup in Hokkaido

uploaded:18, 02, 2006