With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

I Love Camping

Posted by Heliocentrism on April 11, 2011

April 9, 2011

All Pictures

First camping trip in Japan.


I remember watching Stone Pillow with Lucille Ball when I was a kid. It’s about a homeless woman who likes living on the streets. Lucy’s character talks about life as a homeless person as being free from responsibilities and how a person on the street can do whatever she likes.

I don’t know how true that is in reality, but when I heard this as a child, I liked it. Since then, I’ve always wanted to be homeless, in a way. I saw myself as more of a hobo, riding the rails like Natty Gann, or rafting down a river like Huck Finn.

I’m beginning to think I watched way too much television as a child.

jump for cherry blossom joy

But this would partially explain why I love camping so much. It’s like homelessness-light. I don’t care that much about nature, but it is a huge bonus. I really just like the feeling of being away… away from work, away from walls, away from the indoors.

So this year, when my birthday came around, it just happened to coincide with the first week of days that were just warm enough to go camping. Mark and I stuffed the car with blankets and other camping gear and drove all the way (35 minutes from our doorstep to the park’s gate) to Lake Shidaka in Beppu.

Ready for sunset

The camp was not bad for one that is so close to home. There is a lake to paddle boat in, though the lake looks like it used to be bigger. The cherry blossoms not only added to the beauty, but attracted a bus full of photographers who roamed the park, walking through many people’s camps.


Shutter Bugs

They all herded together at the far end of the campsite to get some snap shots of the sunset on my birthday and I devilishly followed them to get some photos of their ridiculously large lens. But they had the last laugh because the sunset was quite beautiful.

So nice of all of you to show up and take photos of my birthday sunset.

I watched the sunset and thought about how lucky I was to have Mark, to live in Japan, and to own a tent.

All Pictures



How to get there:

You can enter Japan by plane or boat. Though, the number of boats going to Japan from other countries has gone down significantly.

Americans get 90-day visas to Japan at the port of entry. Check with your nearest Japanese embassy or consulate for visa information.







  • Be careful what over the counter drugs you bring into Japan.  Actifed, Sudafed, Vicks inhalers, and Codeine are prohibited.
  • InternationalATMs are really hard to find; more so if you aren’t in a big city. Many places in Japan do not use credit cards. Take cash and call your bank to askwhatATMs or banks in Japan will work with your cash card.
    • ATMs have opening hours. Usually 9:00-18:00 (They have better work hours than most business men and women here.)
  • You can get a Japan Railway, pass which saves you a lot of money on the trains, but you can only buy it before you get to Japan and you cannot be a resident of Japan. (I don’t have more information about it because I’ve only ever lived in Japan. I’ve never been a tourist.)

Lake Shidaka Campground
(Beppu-shi Shidakako Camp-jo)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 33°15’53.8″N 131°27’09.1″E
  • Take route 10 to Beppu.
  • Then take route 500 heading west to road 11 heading south.
  • You will drive up a very steep and windy road. At the top you will see a traffic light near a gas station.
  • Turn left and take the road that is most left.
  • Follow this road to the campsite.

From the Kyushu Express way –

  • you can take the Beppu exit which will put you on road 11.
  • Head south on road 11.
  • You will drive up a very steep and windy road. At the top you will see a traffic light near a gas station.
  • Turn left and take the road that is most left.
  • Follow this road to the campsite.


  • It’s 40 minutes by bus from Beppu Station on the Nippo Line to Tori-i Bus Stop.
  • There are 4 buses a day.


4380-1, Shidaka, Beppu-shi, Oita-ken



  • (0977) 25-3601




  • 310 per person and
  • 410 per car for parking


  • This campsite id open all year


  • There are no tents for rent. You can, however, rent grilling equipment.
  • There are toilets, but no showers.
  • There is running water near the camping area
  • You can rent bikes, and paddle boat.
  • You cannot swim in the lake.


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