A unique blend of one part cafe and one part camping gear shop, TARPtoTARP in Yokohama, Japan is the melding of one man's passions. Known to the internet as Tomotech, he is TARPtoTARP's owner and on any given day could just as easily be found brewing delicious coffee as he is researching the newest, coolest camping gadgets. "I love saunas, so I'm preparing to import tents from Russia. I'd like to popularize the sauna tent as a new way to enjoy the outdoors."
With his in-depth knowledge of the camping world, we sat down with Tomo to hear more about his experiences traversing the unique Japanese landscape.
"I had bought a Land Rover Discovery 4 (LR4) and it inspired me to explore nature. I booked my first camping trip and the weather was terrible — pouring rain and strong winds almost collapsing our tent. My family and I were exhausted and ready to go home. After a few hours, the weather cleared and a huge rainbow appeared. It was in that moment that I fell in love with camping."
Looking for a new adventure, or just want to camp vicariously? Read on to check out Tomo's top 3 places to camp in Japan...
#3. Fumotoppara Campground
My first camping trip was here at Fumotoppara, and it's perfect for beginner campers with its ample open, flat space and easy access from Tokyo, which is about a two hour drive away. However the biggest selling point for me is the majestic view of Mount Fuji.
This is the only campground in the vicinity of the mountain, so I suggest that you definitely plan on bringing a comfortable reclining chair and blanket to sit back and enjoy the great Mount Fuji backdrop.
#2. Goko Pasture Auto Camp
This campground is located at the base of the Yatsugatake Mountains, and the best part about it is the wide variety of camping experiences within one space. Across the sprawling Nobeyama Highlands you'll find heavily wooded areas, riverside camping, wide open grasslands, etc. and each section changes with the seasons.
However, if you visit, you'll need to bring proper heating equipment. Due to Goko Pasture's high attitude the temperature rises and falls dramatically throughout the year. This was also the perfect spot for my Andiamo speaker since the campground is so large and quiet, it’s nice to have good camping playlist for the campfire. I personally like acoustic guitar in the morning, such as Ralph Towner, and jazz or more mellow beats at night.
#1. Shirasaki Kaiyo Park
Located in the Wakayama, Prefecture in what's known as the “Japanese Aegean Sea”, this park is surrounded by beautiful limestone and bright blue ocean. It's my absolute favorite place to camp in Japan, but there's so much more to it than just a campground. From BBQing to cabin rentals, there's even an indoor pool for scuba training and entry points into the ocean for beginner divers. With so much to do, each visit is a new adventure, I'm hoping to try canoeing next time!
Something to keep in mind when planning your trip is that the park is located on a peninsula and is therefor very windy. I recommend you to bring a high-wind resistant tent and double-check that it's staked down properly.
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