I was concerned when I first heard about Urban Camping Japan. My mother and I had bought tickets for 7 weeks to Japan. At that point, the worst that could of happened would be for us to be stuck in Tokyo, then as time passed we raised more money and we could travel further afield. By the time we boarded the plan we had saved/spent $10k USD to travel Japan.
Our first trial was just outside the Tokyo Imperial Palace (hidden) because we still had our American ways. We had gone into the experience assured that many people biked, hiked, traveled Japan and did the exact same thing we were going to do: Urban Camp. This meant that we would be finding public locations and set up home. Obviously we would be considerate, set-up late, pack-up early, and leave no trace; unlike some basic assumptions people come to when I first mention it to them. They believe that we would be like American homeless: dis-respectful, rude, and disgusting (of course not all homeless do this, but that is the general image, I’ve seen many around my current apartment).
Throughout our travels we had locals come up and make sure we would be warm, dry, and free of mosquitoes. None asked why we were doing it, none asked why we didn’t have a hotel. Many cared for our comfort and asked about our travels. We were able to show them our SMR hammock system, assure them we would be warm, dry, and mosquito free; we were also able to chat about some of the amazing places we had seen in Japan and the United States.
We found around 20+ amazing locations all around the country and would love to share what we had discovered. Of course you don’t have to use these, but in many of the posts we found the locations were far outside major cities and a little closer to stealth camping.
Urban Camping Japan
|Days Used||Locale Photo||City||Coordinates||Description|
|2 & 47||Imperial Palace, Tokyo||35°40'39.6"N 139°45'29.8"E||Right across the road from the Imperial Palace|
|3||Portside Park, Yokohama||35°28'00.8"N 139°37'48.1"E||One of our favorite spots, a little cold, due to the breeze, but amazing|
|6||Maruyama Park, Kyoto||35°00'13.1"N 135°46'45.6"E||Fell asleep to the sounds of gongs and Shrine hymns|
|7||Sagakamenoocho, Kyoto||35°00'54.2"N 135°40'15.8"E||A field of bamboo and pretty easy to access, a little out of the way|
|8||Himeji Castle, Himeji||34°50'14.2"N 134°41'28.4"E||The only place we were asked to leave, but they waited until 5 am, so we had a good nights rest|
|12||Ohmoto Park, Miyajima Island, Near Hiroshima||34°17'38.1"N 132°18'50.0"E||We didn't feel comfortable Urban Camping in Hiroshima, and wanted to see the famous Floating Torii. Easy walk and beautiful monkey sounds to fall asleep to|
|13||Beppu Park, Beppu||33°16'52.1"N 131°29'33.3"E||Surrounded by the Seven Hells and lots of bath houses. One of our favorite shots of the hammocks|
|14||Dinosaur Park, Sakurajima||31°35'31.6"N 130°36'06.1"E||Didn't get to sleep under the dinosaurs, but did have a great set-up with kitchen, great sink, upstairs, and friendly hawk|
|15 & 20||Kagoshima||31°35'40.9"N 130°33'50.1"E||Near the boardwalk and easy access to ferry's and train|
|19||Inakahama Beach, Yakushima||30°24'21.7"N 130°26'00.6"E||Across the street from the Turtle Egg Laying. In the brush, but close to really nice bathroom and a little more hidden for great sleep.|
|22||Tempozan Ferris Wheel, Osaka||34°39'26.0"N 135°25'57.1"E||Up the mound in the park right next to the Ferris Wheel. Can take a Ferry across the river to train station and convenience store. Train stop for Osaka Universal Studios|
|24-26||Shirarahama Beach, Shirahama||33°40'54.7"N 135°20'43.4"E||Most beautiful beach and surrounded by palm trees. Close convenience store, grocery store, and local bathhouse.|
|27||Kii-Tanabe||33°46'30.1"N 135°30'14.5"E||On the walkway from a parking lot to the visitor center. Watch out for dead trees, they don't hold weight. Across the road from the shrine and beginning of Kumano Kodo trail. Only has drink vending machines.|
|30||Nagoya||35°10'56.9"N 136°53'44.4"E||A major intersection between Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto; also a major city to Toyota (and their factory tour).|
|31||Yamaguchi||34°10'49.5"N 131°28'33.0"E||On a ledge in the park by the library. Easy walk from the Train Station|
|33||Masuda||34°40'47.0"N 131°50'36.7"E||Really close to the train station, good bathroom for cleaning up/washing clothes. Close to a grocery store.|
|35||Wajima||37°23'29.2"N 136°54'33.9"E||A little more secluded, but easy walk to the bus stop to a hundred rice fields and Kanazawa|
|36||Niigata Park||37°54'53.6"N 139°02'21.8"E||Centrally located and near the river|
|37 & 38||Matsumoto||36°13'41.8"N 137°58'04.0"E||Really close to the train/bus stations, above the bathroom and car garage. Also near a grocery store.|
|39||Niigata Seaside||37°55'52.2"N 139°02'22.8"E||A bus ride and walk away from the train station, but right on the Sea of Japan|
|41||Akita||39°43'12.9"N 140°07'31.0"E||A major train station with Shinkansen terminal. Has turtles in a lake near the park.|
|42 & 43||Nakajima Park, Sapporo||43°02'50.8"N 141°21'14.9"E||A train ride away from the main terminal, exit right onto the park, secluded and right next to the bathroom.|
|44||Okayama||34°40'18.4"N 133°55'23.6"E||A little park next to a school, a walk away from the train station. A great way-point to Shikoku Island.|
|46||Inokashira Park, Mitaka, Tokyo||35°41'51.3"N 139°34'19.5"E||A suburb of Tokyo, next to a zoo and famous anime creator Studio Ghibli Museum|