Where to Camp in Kansai

ByJustin Hanus
Feb 18, 2021

Where to Camp in Kansai

As the weather starts to warm up, what better way to make the most of the great outdoors than camping? This fun pastime is popular in Japan, and you will find a variety of great camping locations across the Kansai region. These include an abundance of nature resorts such as parks, beaches, and forests where you can camp for free, auto camps with drive-in facilities, and more luxurious “glamping” facilities. Here is a selection of some of the best.


Located close to the pine-covered beach area in northern Kyoto, the Amanohashidate (which translates as “ladder to the heavens”) campsite offers the chance to pitch up among one of the three best natural wonders in Japan. The site is open from April to November each year and has auto camping for around 1,000 yen a night. There are on-site showers and a nearby onsen, but you’ll need to bring all your own camping gear.

Address: 542 Monju Miyazu, Kyoto 626-0001

Grampus Shirahama

This campsite is at the end of the Kumano Kodo trail in Wakayama, so it is perfect if you want to precede your camping experience with a scenic hike. Grampus Shirahama is right next to a wondrous white sand beach, and the site includes tent-pitching zones with auto camping plus yurts and lodges if you want a more upmarket experience. There is also a nearby onsen, and you can rent camping and BBQ equipment, which means you can enjoy the Kumano Kodo hike without being burdened with excess luggage.

Website: http://grampus.biz/


Another quality campsite on the Kumana Kodo trail. Kawayu is an onsen town translating as “river hot spring,” which is a good description as you can actually dig your own onsen in the riverbeds next to the campsite! Camping costs around 800 yen per night, and there is auto camping, BBQ facilities, and food available to purchase.

Address: 1288 Hongucho Kawayu, Tanabe-shi, Wakayama 647-1717


Tomogashima is a group of desolate islands off the coast of Wakayama. On the Okinoshima island, you can find a secluded campsite amid military ruins and abandoned buildings that give off a distinct vibe. The campsite is free but is only accessible by ferry, so check ahead that this is running. You’ll also need to bring all your own provisions. However, charcoal grills can be rented if you want to have an evening BBQ.

Website: Tomogashima

Tsurumi Ryokuchi

An ideal camping venue if you don’t want to venture too far away from the city crowds, Tsurumi Ryokuchi is a large memorial park within reach of Osaka city center. It’s open for camping from March to November and has plenty of attractive features, including a children’s forest, playgrounds, botanical gardens, a swimming pool, and an onsen. Naturally, it’s popular in the summer so advanced booking is advisable. Camping is free, but you’ll need to pay for on-site camping and BBQ equipment if you don’t bring your own.

Website: https://www.tsurumi-ryokuchi.jp/guide/bbq-camp.html

Glamping locations

Glamping is basically camping without the hassle of providing and pitching your own tent. You can find many “glampsites” across Kansai that offer cabins, yurts, and other homely types of accommodation suitable for a few days out in the sticks. Recommendations include the Nesta BBQ Park in Kobe, opened in 2016, where you can choose cabins and maisonettes with pool facilities; Camp GRAX among the mountains of Kyoto where you can rent bungalows and trailers and indulge in activities such as marshmallow roasting; and Palm Garden Maishima in Osaka, which offers luxurious seaside camping from American-style trailer houses.

Free camping in the Kansai region

You can search for free and cheap camping locations across Japan, including Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, Nara, Wakayama, and Shiga here.

NK1375, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

About the author

Justin Hanus editor