In this article you will read about:
how to use the Go Camper Japan unique Rides-in-Japan section
how that helps to combine famous Japanese highlights with off-the-beaten-track
why NOT to include Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka in a camper trip
that being a little flexible make your camper travel that much more enjoyable
Now you have decided to explore Japan by yourself it becomes easy to prepare your trip! You can go anywhere and stay as long as you like. It depends on your personality really; are you a planner or a minimalist who might jot down a few locations and likes to find out the rest ‘on the go.’
Personally I am a bit of both. I read and prepare because I don’t like the idea to miss out on something interesting. But on the other hand you need to be flexible and allow time to add unexpected extras. Like local festivals or something you just stumble upon. Or for when things simply take more time than expected, like getting to a certain place.
Traveling by camper allows you to go to ‘all highlights in the book’ and more. Because you are just one you are faster then a group. You can continue without having to wait for others, or stay as long as you wish. Without feeling rushed because you need to get somewhere; your hotel is waiting on the parking already! The best part is while driving, stop where and when you like. Pictures, picnic, a rest.
Suggested itinerary; rides in Japan
But you will need something of a plan. To decide at least roughly where you will drive. And when you will be at the drop-off point. My suggestion is to read as much as you can about Japan so you know what there is you like, and list that. When you shuffle the list into some sort of geographical order it becomes the backbone of your trip. You can add the Go Camper Japan-information in ‘Rides in Japan’ for this.
In our Rides-section you will find ordered by subject an ever growing number of stories dedicated to camper travel in Japan. In all seasons, in many places. It includes suggestions and details to make you planning easier. Like where to park for the night, where to shop or which hidden secrets to go enjoy. And as a (free) Member you get even more detailed information, that you cannot find on the site. So join and miss nothing to create your own unique trip.
In these online-times it is easy to forget the traditional tourist offices. Remember? Those colourful offices full of information, maps and smiling staff. Although even here English is not widely spoken, the offices are useful for us. You can simply see all highlights in the area, get free maps and other info, often partly in English, and ask questions. Especially the maps are great to pick up. You find these offices at railway stations, at town centres or sometimes at a major parking. Your GPS will show them too.
Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto; never!
Personally I never recommend a camper for the part of your trip in these cities. You will be better of in a hotel and use public transport. And that is part of Japan-fun too; the hightech trains, fast subways and staying in a hotel. If you can afford it, stay at least 1 night in a Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. It is quite expensive but includes meals and if it is the right area, a hot spring. This will be very different from anywhere you have ever stayed before!
Another highlight for many is riding the shinkansen, the bullet train. Most famous is the stretch between Tokyo and Kyoto, blasting past Mount Fuji at over 250 kilometers per hour! Of course you don’t need a camper for that either. Many camper rental companies are located in the Tokyo area, giving you the chance of taking the bullet twice. Some have several rental locations, allowing different start and end-points.
In any case I would visit the cities first. It will help you getting used to Japan in a travel-style you are familiar with, hotels. After that you will feel very much at home so adding driving to the mix will be great fun. Plus, you risk cancelling your city-arrangements if you start by camper and find how how amazing that is!