With summer on our doorstep, our attention turns to the great outdoors. What better way to enjoy nature for a few days than heading off on a camping excursion? Kansai has some great locations where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of city life – including free camping at beaches, parks, or woodlands, paid facilities, auto camping where you can bring vehicles, and luxury “glamping” sites. Here is a pick of the best.
Situated at the end of the Kumano Trail in Wakayama, this multi-faceted camping facility is a great way to cap off a day’s trekking. The campsite is just minutes from a gorgeous white sand beach. You can either pitch up and camp at the end of a walk, drive in with a car or choose from onsite options, including yurts, lodges, or camp trailers. There is also BBQ and camping equipment to rent, plus a nearby onsen. Costs range from 3,500 yen a night for basic camping to 10,000 yen for a yurt, trailer, or lodge.
If you’re after something a bit more in the “glamping” zone, GRAX Kyoto is the place to head to. This onsen resort in the Ruri Gorge has dome tents, trailers, and bungalows with various modern facilities. As well as choosing from a range of onsite meal options and participating in marshmallow roasting sessions, you can also check out facilities, including a swimming pool, café, and a vegetable market. The camping resort is open all year round.
Website: https://www.grax.jp/ (in Japanese)
Beach camping is popular in Japan, allowing people to bed between the night sky and white sand beaches. Takeno Beach in northern Hyogo is one of Kansai’s best resorts, offering water activities such as snorkeling and kayaking. Campgrounds around the beach provide equipment such as sleeping bags and lanterns. You can turn up on the day, but booking a space in advance is advisable to avoid disappointment.
Website: https://www.takenocamp.com/ (in Japanese)
Considered one of Japan’s three best natural wonders, Amanohashidate (“Bridge to Heaven”) is a pine-covered beach in northern Kyoto. There is an auto campsite right next to the beach where you can bring a car and pitch up for around 1,000 yen a night. You’ll need to bring along all of your equipment. The site is open from April to November and has hot showers and an onsen nearby.
Address: 542 Monju Miyazu, Kyoto Prefecture 626-0001
A great option if you don’t want to venture too far out into the sticks, Tsurumi Ryokuchi is a large urban park not far from the Osaka city center. The park campsite is open from March to November, with free access to the grounds, but you’ll need to pay for equipment if you don’t bring your own. You can rent BBQ equipment and restroom facilities. The park also contains a children’s forested area, playground, swimming pool, botanical garden, and onsen. Booking is advisable.
Website: Tsurumi Ryokuchi (in Japanese)