There are some great campsites in Japan but many have too many rules. Our favourite campsite in the area around Mount Fuji is just the right balance of freedom and regulation.
We love camping. We wish we had more time to do it but busy work and school schedules often make it difficult to get away. Last weekend, though, we packed up a rental car and headed off for a great site we know on the shores of Lake Motosu, in the ‘Fuji Five Lakes’ region.
Motosuko is the lake and Mt. Fuji view that is on the back of the 1000¥ banknote. Whilst there is a campsite directly below the roadside viewing area for that precise view, it’s too overburdened with rules. You have to take all your own rubbish away with you [kind of fine unless like us you are in a car that is already packed to the roof with stuff for the weekend]; there are no open fires allowed and you have to check out by 10am.
Our preferred campsite allows you to relax; open fires are cool as long as you are safe and sensible. Fireworks are limited to handheld items: no massive rockets or projectiles. There are ample rubbish collection facilities and the campsite staff take away the refuse each day. Checkout and pitch vacation is 12noon. Much more sensible and a lot more relaxing.
The site has a mix of tent pitches and small buildings with tatami flooring that you can use for sleeping. The tent pitches are a generous size. We have a massive tent and the pitch was big enough for the tent and the car.
Toilet facilities are ok. There is a mix of outhouse/built toilet blocks and the kind of portaloos you find at music festivals. Shower facilities were 100¥ for three minutes. Water was piping hot.
Washing-up sinks and food preparation tables are dotted around the site.
There’s a little jetty for the kids to jump off of, into the lake.
If you’re a strong swimmer or like snorkelling [as I do] then the lake is perfect. The first 4metres of the lake, out from the shore, goes from paddling depth to about 1m 40cms. After that it shelves very quickly, as lakes do, and gets very deep.
The snorkelling is great as the water is crystal clear.
If you have small children [our youngest, Charlie] is 6 and a half, then there are plenty of parents and older kids swimming all day. We watched Charlie for the first few hours then left him pretty much to his own devices. Japan is good like that; people tend to keep an eye out for each other.
There is rowing-boat rental for 1130¥ for an hour or 3000¥ for the whole day.
There is a small shop on-site, selling the essentials [snacks, soup, noodles, beer etc]. The nearest proper supermarket is the excellent Forest Mall, Kawaguchiko: it’s around 14kms or 25mins drive away. There is an Aeon Super Value market there, a home and DIY centre that also has all the necessary BBQ, camping and outdoor products, a drugstore, Daiso 100¥ shop, Mos Burger and one or two other things. There was no coin laundry at the mall or the campsite.
We spent two nights and three days at the campsite. Myself, the wife, our two teenage kids and one primary school aged child… tent and car cost 10,070¥.
The views from the site are superb. At night the sky is full of stars, during the day the views are breathtaking. Great site. We’d go again tomorrow given the chance.
Here are some shots from the Nikon, that I took during our stay. There’s another load of shots from the Hasselblad, which I’ll sort out and upload soon. I’ll get the iPhone shots out of the phone and put them here later too.