In this issue, we would like to explain some points to keep in mind when “camping” in Japan. In the past few years, camping has rapidly become a popular leisure activity in Japan. Comics and animations with a camping theme, as well as web videos of celebrities and others who enjoy camping, became popular. So many people have emerged who are attracted to spending time in a place surrounded by nature, away from the everyday lives filled with modern population structures and industrial products. Another major factor that further increased the number of people interested in camping was the “worldwide pandemic of Corona”. In the Corona Disaster, where people were required to avoid crowded places, it became difficult to go out as casually as before. They had to spend time at each home to avoid direct face-to-face contact with others, right? Camping outdoors, where the flow of air is unimpeded, was probably very appealing to them as a leisure activity that allowed them to maintain their “social distance”. And it also attracted a great deal of interest as a means of spending time alone, away from people who live with them.

Before the Corona Disaster, leisure activities such as camping that enjoyed outdoors stays had never been so popular in Japan. Well, we guess that the main reason is probably due to the geographical environment. Japan is surrounded by the sea on all sides, and the flat land is small because it is a volcanic archipelago… That means there are no magnificent wilderness-like places suitable for camping. Most of its land is either mountainous or coastal. And most of the forests in the mountainous areas are artificial forests, with very few primary forests. Coastal areas are plains, so they are basically urban areas with a high concentration of people. And the country itself is small, so there is no need to travel for long periods of time… Of course, you can camp in any geographical environment. However, the perception of camping among the general public was usually that camping was done in the middle of a large wilderness area, moving from one place to another. Just like this, Surrounded by a vast vast wasteland-like landscape with nothing man-made… We didn’t originally have a place where we could camp as we had imagined. As a result, camping in Japan was limited to the riversides, lakeshores, and beaches. Since there were never many of them, the only other place to go was a campsite with full facilities. However, due in part to the Corona disaster, the camping attracted the attention of the modern Japanese. This has made the outdoor goods sections of specialty camping stores and large commercial facilities rapidly popular. Demand also grew for small cars and other vehicles that can be used for overnight stays. In addition to camping, the number of people enjoying outdoor leisure activities such as mountain climbing, trekking, and barbecues also temporarily increased.

But… This trend did not last very long. As mentioned above, there were very few places to camp in Japan. In Japan, camping along rivers, lakes, or beaches is generally restricted. Most of the land in the mountains is private property. Also, camping in the park is not allowed. It is also prohibited at highway service areas, roadside stations(Michi-no-eki), and drive-in parking lots. Oh, incidentally, staying overnight in a car is prohibited as well. During the camping boom in the wake of the Corona disaster, there were a number of problems such as abandoned garbage and noise because most Japanese people were unaware of these camping manners. So where can they camp? We would say, there is only campsite. Unfortunately, the same is true for other outdoor leisure activities such as barbecues. Plus… camping is actually pretty tough when you actually try it, isn’t it? It is a leisure activity that dares to get away from the conveniences of daily life, so it is only natural. For various reasons, and partly because the Corona pandemic has largely come to an end, the camping boom in Japan is now dying down. However, there are still a certain number of people who enjoy camping, and there is a decent demand for campsites. Glamping sites, where you can enjoy camping as an amusement, with all the facilities and equipment provided, are still very popular. Well, camping in Japan may be a little different from what overseas people imagine. If you are planning to stay in Japan for a long period of time and enjoy your trip while camping, please be careful. Please check carefully in advance where you can camp.