Camping is a popular activity in Japan, it makes sense bearing in mind how crowded the cities can get. Camping is a great way to have a bit of downtime, connect with nature, enjoy a slower pace of life, and even have a sense of adventure.
With the autumn months fast approaching, these next few months might be the perfect time to get outside and go on an adventure. Kansai has a diverse landscape. If you want to experience mountain camping, Kyoto has great options, you can also enjoy Awaji Island camping, camping in Wakayama, Nara, the north of Hyogo, or even in Osaka!
There are endless campsites scattered around Japan for you to enjoy! This guide focuses mainly on places to go camping in Kansai.
1. Awaji Island camping
There are various campsites dotted along the west coast of Awajishima. One of these, where you can enjoy beach camping, is the Keino-Matsubara campsite.
Located on the Seto Inland Sea, Keino-Matsubara beach is one of Japan’s 100 top bathing areas. It is also a wonderful place to view the sunset over the sea, so make sure you don’t miss it! Awaji Island camping is a great way to experience some of the beauty of the Seto Inland Sea.
There are toilets available but they are limited to other facilities. There are showers available at a cost. The beach is close to restaurants if you want to enjoy some delicious food whilst camping in Kansai.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious Awaji Island camping or glamping experience, try out the Awaji First Class Backpackers Inn. There are Awaji Island camping options for everyone, so please do try it out!
From JR Sannomiya Station, take the Awaji Kotsu Bus bound for Fukura. Get off at “Riku no Kosaitan” and from there, you will arrive in about 10 minutes by taxi. Some people prefer to go by car but the decision is yours to make!
2. Luxury camping Kyoto
If you’re looking to enjoy some easy camping, Kyoto has glamping options available at the large Kyoto GRAX campsite. It’s one of Japan’s many large auto campsites.
The GRAX campsite has dome tents, glamping tents, trailers, and cabins available. The campsite also offers food and has an onsen, swimming pool, and café. Glamping is a great way to enjoy winter camping, Kyoto gets cold in winter, but the tents and trailers are well-equipped for all seasons.
The campsite offers a free shuttle bus from Nissei Chuo Station and Sonobe Station.
3. Beach camping in Wakayama
Tomogashima is a small chain of uninhabited islands off the coast of Wakayama, close to Kada. You can camp on Okinoshima, the largest Tomogashima island, and the campsite offers beautiful ocean views.
The beach camping on Okinoshima is free, so facilities are limited to a toilet and picnic bench, please make sure to bring food and drinks since there aren’t any shops.
On the island, you can also enjoy hiking and exploring the remains of an abandoned military fort. The scenery on the island is said to be reminiscent of studio Ghibli films.
It’s a 15-minute walk from Kada Station on the Nankai Kada Line to Kada Port. Here you can catch a boat to Okinoshima, which takes around 20 minutes. It’s worth checking the boat times in advance because sometimes they do not run.
Tomogashima is one of the most remote places to enjoy camping in Kansai, so it can be a bit challenging to get to, it’s worth it though!
4. Takeno beach camping
The north of Hyogo is home to one of mainland Japan’s most beautiful beaches; Takenohama beach. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming in crystal clear turquoise waters. The sand is soft and white, and the area feels more like a tropical island rather than mainland Japan.
If you love the sea and want to enjoy camping in Kansai, this is the place to go! It is also near the famous onsen town of Kinosaki, so we recommend a quick visit to Kinosaki whilst you are there.
There aren’t any free campsites around the area, but you can enjoy beach camping nearby at the Benten Beach Campground at a cost. There is a nearby supermarket and basic facilities including toilets, showers, and a cooking area.
The closest station is JR Takeno station, which can be accessed from Kyoto (3-4 hours), Osaka (3-4 hours), and Kobe (3 hours). The Benten Beach campsite is an 18-minute walk from the station. Takeno beach itself is about a 15-minute walk from the station.