Japan cheap travel

A complete guide to budget travel in Japan

 Camping on Miyajima
 Campground on Miyajima Island


Camping is a very good budget accommodation option in Japan. There are hundreds of campsites all over Japan with prices ranging from 200 to 1,000 yen per night. The main problem with camping is finding transport to and from the campsites; they can be difficult to access and are more likely to be located in the less populated parts of Japan. For this reason, we camped when could, but still spent most of our nights when visiting cities in hotels, hostels and ryokan.

Some campsites do have bus links but many are only accessible by car. Tourist information centers should provide be able to you with a list of local campsites and give you information on accessing them. If you combine camping in Japan with the buses and/or hitchhiking you will save a huge amount on what are the two major expenses of Japanese travel; accommodation and transport. For incredibly cheap travel, camping and hitchhiking is a combination that is difficult to beat.

Campsites are often found in beautiful parts of rural Japan and many campsites will be located next to onsen (Hot springs). A couple of particularly outstandingly situated campsites we stayed in were on Yakushima island and on Miyajima island.

For a list of campsites in English produced by the Japan National Tourist Organisation, click here. Another useful link with information on hiking, camping and other outdoor activities in Japan is www.outdoorjapan.com.

Where to stay: suggestions

  • 'Miyajima Tsutsumigaura Camp-jo' is on the beautiful island of Miyajima, a boat ride from Hiroshima. When you arrive at Miyajima Pier, you can take a bus to the campsite, 10 minutes away. The campsite is open all year round, except towards the end of the year. Camping is 300 yen per person. You can also rent tents (2060 to 3360 yen) or cabins (14,830 to 49,440 yen). There is a shop, bath, showers, water, toilets and covered cooking area. Watch out for the extremely tame and greedy deer, one of whom ate our Miyajima map and tried to get into our tent. Getting there: Buses run from the port to the campsite from morning until six in the evening.
  • Inakahama Beach campsite is located beside a stunning beach on Yakushima Island, Kyushu. The camping facilities are very basic, but the camping area is sheltered and there is a covered area in which to eat. Japanese sea turtles are on the decline but can be viewed at Inakahama, at a distance, nesting and laying eggs in certain seasons. Please visit the Japan Sea Turtle Association for more information on these rare and beautiful creatures.

'Free' Camping

Camping wild is in fact illegal in most of Japan, but many people do do it. It is often worth asking permission or speaking to the locals before pitching your tent and of course, make sure you clear up after you leave. During our trip, we met a couple of travelers who had 'free' camped by pitching their tents in city parks or beside rivers late in the evening and leaving very early in the morning.