RV Camping - HappyVagabonds.Com Copyright © 2020

RV Vacations in the Land of the Rising Sun

Article Contributed by: David Astley When Americans and Canadians think about taking an RV vacation overseas, usually Europe is the first choice, and perhaps Australia or New Zealand the second choice, but there’s another country that more and more North American RVers are discovering – and that’s Japan. There are about 4,000 campgrounds and RV parks throughout Japan, and according to the travel magazine xyzAsia, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world in which to take an RV vacation. Not only that, but there are many places in Japan where RVers can camp overnight for free, making an RV vacation in Japan one that will appeal to budget travelers. Hiring an RV is much the same as in North America. Many of the larger RV rental companies have English speaking staff and English language websites through which advance reservations can be made. The main difference between hiring an RV in Japan and North America is that the models on offer are much smaller, and are designed more for touring than for long stays in a campground. The roads are narrower in Japan, so the smaller models are easier to handle. Most of the hire companies divide their models into three categories – the small and mid-size models that will accommodate two or four people – and larger models that will accommodate up to 6-8 persons. Only the largest models will have an onboard restroom, but even then these are usually recommended for ‘emergencies’ only, because Japan has clean, free restrooms almost everywhere in the country. For those who may not have a lot of experience of driving on the left hand side of the road, the smaller models make it easier to adjust to the different road conditions – especially when parking and negotiating intersections. Some of the companies that cater for visitors from North America publish English language guidebooks to the campgrounds. These are helpful to make advance bookings when required because most of the campground booking sites are in the Japanese language. The overnight parking fees for Japanese campgrounds and RV parks are similar to those in North America, but as already mentioned there are also many places where you can park for free. These are the roadside rest stops that are found along major highways and go by the name Michi no Eki’. There are more than 1,000 of them throughout Japan. All of them have rest rooms, and some have shower facilities, shops and eating places for both Japanese and western food. Many have small supermarkets where you can stock up on supplies. There is no charge for parking at the Michi no Eki overnight, although you will have to contend with vehicles coming and going through the night because the restrooms are open 24 hours. Where shower facilities are not available at the Michi no Eki, usually nearby towns will have public baths with shower facilities. In the mountain regions these public baths are often located at hot springs called onsen, so not only can you get a shower there, but you can enjoy soaking in the mineral rich warm spring water. A very pleasant way to end a day of traveling! It is also possible to free camp in parks and at beaches in most of Japan unless there are signs to the contrary. You will need to find a safe area to pull off the road, because parking on the road is strictly prohibited and would leave you liable to hefty fines. Places To Visit The main island of Honshu and the northern island of Hokkaido are the most popular areas of Japan for RVing. For first time visitors, a round trip tour from Tokyo down to the ancient capital of Kyoto via Hakone and the Izu Peninsula, and back via the Japanese Alps, is highly recommended. This trip will take you past Mt Fuji, through several regions of hot springs, and back through some spectacular alpine scenery. You will need at least two weeks to do this trip. In winter months some of the mountain campgrounds are closed, and there may be road closures due to snow. For those with less time to spare, the trip can be done one way, picking up the RV in Tokyo and dropping it off in Osaka, or vice-versa. Not all companies offer one-way hires, but many do for an additional fee. The return journey can then be made in half a day by air or bullet train. For those with more time, the Kyoto trip can be extended down to Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, another ancient city that dates from the 14th century, and Shimonoseki which is home to many cultural festivals during the year and a spectacular fireworks festival in August. Another popular tour is the circuit of Hokkaido. This is where Japan’s wilderness areas can be seen, and requires 10 days to do comfortably. Most of the campgrounds here are not open in the winter because snowfalls are heavier there than further south. When traveling off the beaten track in Hokkaido, you will need to keep an eye out for wildlife on the road. Deer and foxes are common, and the occasional bear may be seen. Hokkaido is best visited from late April through to September. The southern islands of Kyushu and Shikoku don’t attract as many overseas visitors as Honshu and Hokkaido, but they are great destinations to include for those who have more time to spend in Japan. They are connected to Honshu by major bridges, so don’t require any ferry travel to reach. However, if you wish to travel between Kyushu and Shikoku by ferry, you will need to check with your rental company that this is permitted. Most of Kyushu has a sub-tropical climate, so it’s ideal for visiting at cooler times of the year. The ancient moss forest of the Shiratani Unsuikyo valley in Kyushu’s Kagoshima Prefecture attracts hikers from all over the world. The Atomic Bomb Museum at Nagasaki also attracts many overseas visitors. It’s less crowded than the one at Hiroshima. The Ritsurin Garden in Shikoku’s Kagawa Prefecture is regarded as one of Japan’s best traditional gardens, and the Mt Kiro Observatory Park in Ehime Prefecture offers some spectacular views over the islands of the Seto Inland Sea and the impressive Kurushima- Kaiyo Bridge. An RV vacation in Japan is guaranteed to be a safe and memorable experience. You will be impressed by how clean and well-organized everything is in Japan, and how polite the people are. You will learn a lot about Japanese culture and get to enjoy the beauty of this historic and scenic country. It will be an RV vacation that you will be able to talk about with your friends for many years to come.
RV Vacations in Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
RV Vacations in Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
RV Vacations in Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
RV Vacations in Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
Learn about being a work camper and work camping jobs on our Work Camper Jobs page.

RV Vacations in the Land of the Rising Sun

Article Contributed by: David Astley When Americans and Canadians think about taking an RV vacation overseas, usually Europe is the first choice, and perhaps Australia or New Zealand the second choice, but there’s another country that more and more North American RVers are discovering – and that’s Japan. There are about 4,000 campgrounds and RV parks throughout Japan, and according to the travel magazine xyzAsia, Japan is one of the safest countries in the world in which to take an RV vacation. Not only that, but there are many places in Japan where RVers can camp overnight for free, making an RV vacation in Japan one that will appeal to budget travelers. Hiring an RV is much the same as in North America. Many of the larger RV rental companies have English speaking staff and English language websites through which advance reservations can be made. The main difference between hiring an RV in Japan and North America is that the models on offer are much smaller, and are designed more for touring than for long stays in a campground. The roads are narrower in Japan, so the smaller models are easier to handle. Most of the hire companies divide their models into three categories – the small and mid-size models that will accommodate two or four people – and larger models that will accommodate up to 6-8 persons. Only the largest models will have an onboard restroom, but even then these are usually recommended for ‘emergencies’ only, because Japan has clean, free restrooms almost everywhere in the country. For those who may not have a lot of experience of driving on the left hand side of the road, the smaller models make it easier to adjust to the different road conditions – especially when parking and negotiating intersections. Some of the companies that cater for visitors from North America publish English language guidebooks to the campgrounds. These are helpful to make advance bookings when required because most of the campground booking sites are in the Japanese language. The overnight parking fees for Japanese campgrounds and RV parks are similar to those in North America, but as already mentioned there are also many places where you can park for free. These are the roadside rest stops that are found along major highways and go by the name Michi no Eki’. There are more than 1,000 of them throughout Japan. All of them have rest rooms, and some have shower facilities, shops and eating places for both Japanese and western food. Many have small supermarkets where you can stock up on supplies. There is no charge for parking at the Michi no Eki overnight, although you will have to contend with vehicles coming and going through the night because the restrooms are open 24 hours. Where shower facilities are not available at the Michi no Eki, usually nearby towns will have public baths with shower facilities. In the mountain regions these public baths are often located at hot springs called onsen, so not only can you get a shower there, but you can enjoy soaking in the mineral rich warm spring water. A very pleasant way to end a day of traveling! It is also possible to free camp in parks and at beaches in most of Japan unless there are signs to the contrary. You will need to find a safe area to pull off the road, because parking on the road is strictly prohibited and would leave you liable to hefty fines. Places To Visit The main island of Honshu and the northern island of Hokkaido are the most popular areas of Japan for RVing. For first time visitors, a round trip tour from Tokyo down to the ancient capital of Kyoto via Hakone and the Izu Peninsula, and back via the Japanese Alps, is highly recommended. This trip will take you past Mt Fuji, through several regions of hot springs, and back through some spectacular alpine scenery. You will need at least two weeks to do this trip. In winter months some of the mountain campgrounds are closed, and there may be road closures due to snow. For those with less time to spare, the trip can be done one way, picking up the RV in Tokyo and dropping it off in Osaka, or vice-versa. Not all companies offer one-way hires, but many do for an additional fee. The return journey can then be made in half a day by air or bullet train. For those with more time, the Kyoto trip can be extended down to Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, another ancient city that dates from the 14th century, and Shimonoseki which is home to many cultural festivals during the year and a spectacular fireworks festival in August. Another popular tour is the circuit of Hokkaido. This is where Japan’s wilderness areas can be seen, and requires 10 days to do comfortably. Most of the campgrounds here are not open in the winter because snowfalls are heavier there than further south. When traveling off the beaten track in Hokkaido, you will need to keep an eye out for wildlife on the road. Deer and foxes are common, and the occasional bear may be seen. Hokkaido is best visited from late April through to September. The southern islands of Kyushu and Shikoku don’t attract as many overseas visitors as Honshu and Hokkaido, but they are great destinations to include for those who have more time to spend in Japan. They are connected to Honshu by major bridges, so don’t require any ferry travel to reach. However, if you wish to travel between Kyushu and Shikoku by ferry, you will need to check with your rental company that this is permitted. Most of Kyushu has a sub-tropical climate, so it’s ideal for visiting at cooler times of the year. The ancient moss forest of the Shiratani Unsuikyo valley in Kyushu’s Kagoshima Prefecture attracts hikers from all over the world. The Atomic Bomb Museum at Nagasaki also attracts many overseas visitors. It’s less crowded than the one at Hiroshima. The Ritsurin Garden in Shikoku’s Kagawa Prefecture is regarded as one of Japan’s best traditional gardens, and the Mt Kiro Observatory Park in Ehime Prefecture offers some spectacular views over the islands of the Seto Inland Sea and the impressive Kurushima-Kaiyo Bridge. An RV vacation in Japan is guaranteed to be a safe and memorable experience. You will be impressed by how clean and well-organized everything is in Japan, and how polite the people are. You will learn a lot about Japanese culture and get to enjoy the beauty of this historic and scenic country. It will be an RV vacation that you will be able to talk about with your friends for many years to come.
RV Vacations in Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
RV Vacations in Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
RV Vacations in Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
RV Vacations in Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun
RV Camping - HappyVagabonds.Com Copyright © 2020

Learn about being a work camper and work camping jobs on our Work Camper Jobs page.
RV Camping - Happyvagabonds.com