Fascinating and different
Japan is fascinating and different because it has long isolated itself from the rest of the world. A country so Asian yet so unique, it just begs you to explore it! That is how we felt and that’s probably how you feel too.
So hard to travel by yourself
But the unbelievable lack of (any) spoken English by most Japanese combined with the high costs of traveling make it very hard to travel on your own; free and creative as traveling should be. So most people keep Japan low on their wish-list, and may end up missing out.
But you should not miss out! And now you don’t have to, either.
That is what Go Camper Japan is about;
sharing with others the sweet solution, a trick almost
sharing how simple it actually is to discover The Land of the Rising Sun, by yourself!
Exploring all corners you choose, without any booked itinerary. My family and I have been doing that since 2010, now you can learn from our information, rent your Camper and enjoy.
It’s your turn… Go Camper Japan!
…enter your email address and get free access to our detailed information to create your unique trip! Go Camper Japan!
Please call me Sandor. As a tour guide and backpacker I have traveled all over the globe and with over twenty years of work experience in tourism I know a bit about what travellers seek and where they might get stuck. Since 2007 I live in Asia, first in Hanoi, next Bangkok, Bali and Japan.
Japan, another approach
My Japanese chapter starts in 2010. Actually Mirjam, my wife, sparked the story, as she does so many. She always felt attracted to this country and so when in between jobs, we looked at how to do Japan, the right way. We’d normally just buy a return ticket and a guidebook and find out the rest along the way. But for Japan it felt like another approach was needed. Just too many stories about the language barrier blocking independent travel. And high costs compared to developing countries. And yeah, our boys, then aged 1 and 2, coming along had something to do with looking for a slightly less out-of-the-backpack style.
That was when we came up with the go-by-camper idea. Why not; successful in many countries and giving you full freedom while saving on accommodation and meals. And giving us a home-on-the-road, making it much more comfortable with children too.
So we started gathering information about rental and what you can and cannot do. It was a short search. At least in English it was. No websites, no companies with an offer, no travel blogs and just one or two similar questions on travel forums that did not even have real answers. Dead end you’d think..
Local help required
We then asked our Japanese friend, Hiroko-san. Super helpful, as most Japanese are, she dug around the Japanese web and made many calls for us. To cut a long story short; with Hiroko’s help as go-between we managed to find and communicate with a rental company, get most questions answered and reserve a camper. Upon our arrival, she actually had to come along to collect the car and help complete the paperwork. Once we set off however, we were fine. We did not once have to fall back on her support during the trip. It was peace of mind that we could have though!
On the road we learned by trying
Like on the second evening when, on a lakeshore parking by ourselves and cooking dinner while gazing at mount Fuji, a police car approached. Are we really allowed to do this, yes or no? With a brief smile they passed; so the answer was ‘yes!’ Or the simple fact that convenience stores are everywhere and open 24/7, with food, parking, ATM and clean toilets. I mean, that helps right?
And that’s just some practical information. Spots we discovered, back roads we drove, little out-of-the-way villages we found. And amazingly, we never saw any foreigners in that month! Besides a few at some of the well known sights like Matsumoto and Nagano, and in Kanazawa where there are many exchange students. That only added to the feeling of exploring, of doing something really special. A rarity in today’s world.
Sharing our experience
During and after that amazing 1-month-long first introduction to campering in Japan I realised how privileged we are to have such a wonderful friend to help us. And that most people don’t have such a Japanese friend. I found that our experience was well worth sharing so I decided to become the Hiroko-san for other travellers, their Japanese help and source. To give them that little push it often takes to go do something amazing.
One of these travellers could be You and I hope my information will contribute to your amazing Japan experience.
Have a great journey, please share your experiences with me and all Go Camper Japan -travellers!
What others say
“to be honest, it never occurred to us to rent a camper in Japan. Why? I guess it’s just something that nobody does, so you don’t think about it. When we stumbled upon your blog, we pulled Japan right back up to the top of our list; suddenly that dream seemed possible! And it became an amazingly rewarding holiday. Thank you so much for sharing your information and help, keep on writing, we will spread the word with you! – kind regards from Boston, Emma and Joel Dujardin”
“…so grateful for your trick on how to combine Tokyo and Kyoto with the rest of Japan! To add the Camper-experience just made all the difference. I felt so free and relaxed, going anywhere we wanted, parking to make lunch on the most beautiful spots, sleeping next to a temple in the forest. And all the hot springs we ‘had to’ visit as our bath rooms. Coming back for more would be great though I don’t think so, there are still too many countries I want to see. But renting a camper I will now try anywhere I feel it’s safe! Thank you and good luck, Albert and family, Belgium”