With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

Camping Extravaganza

Posted by Heliocentrism on May 29, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

All Pictures

Not only do I enjoy not planning trips, but I also enjoy not helping to put up the tents.

Roland did ALL the planning.

I love traveling and therefore I like planning trips. But guess what I love even more than planning trips… Not planning trips.

It’s tedious work that requires several hours of research just to set one day’s itinerary. It’s even worse here in Japan, were many tourist spots have no or very little information online. Many websites are just a picture of the attraction and a phone number to call for information. (Don’t even get me started on finding information in English!)

I can communicate somewhat with my limited Japanese, a dictionary, and a quick game of charades. But, that only works in person. On the phone, things don’t usually work out for me. I avoid calling non-English speakers at all costs.

He planned the whole trip and cleaned and gutted this fish too!

So when our friends from South Africa invited us to their Golden Week Camping Extravaganza that Roland planned, we happily joined. Roland planned the trip, made all the reservations, found the locations to all the spots and the best ways to get there. If he and his wife ever do an around-the-world-tour and they invited us, we would be fools not to go!

Pineapple and Ham kebabs

Potluck… or rather Grill Luck

Normally, when we camp with the South Africans, we organize our meals. This cuts down on wasted food, wasted time, trash, and dirty dishes. But, since Freda and Roland were driving all the way up from Kyushu, we weren’t sure if they would get there in time for the first dinner.

Mark and I stopped at a grocery store near the campsite and picked up whatever caught our eye. Among the vast array of items we got were a pineapple, shrimp, a fish, and a lime. The South Africans seemed to have done likewise. They brought a ham, a medley of vegetables, and some sweet potatoes.

Delicious camp grilling on smoky grills

Everything just seemed to oddly go well together. I took it as a good omen for things to come. The next day we would meet some other campers and the 6 of us would have a great time camping, traveling, and playing nerd games together.

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 ask whatATMs 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.)
    • The Post Office bank seems to work with the most international cards.
  • 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 here.)


Sunagawa Park
(砂川 キャンプ場)

How to get there:

  • Coordinates 34°42’11.1″N 133°45’22.7″E




  • 0866-92-1118



  • 1,000 JPY per tent for night camping
  • 500 JPY per tent for day camping
  • Parking is free


  • Open year round except for Dec. 29 – Jan. 3
  • Night camping 14:00 ~ 10:00
  • Day camping 10:00 ~ 17:00


  • There is a persimmon grove where you can buy fruit in the fall.
  • Take your trash home with you.
  • You need to make reservations before hand.
  • There is a water slide that you (if you’re super skinny) and your kids can use in the summer.
  • There are showers, but they seem to never be unlocked.
  • The toilets and non-flush and, depending where your camping spot it, a long walk from your tent.



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