Have you decided to embark on a road trip of a lifetime in Japan? Have you worked out all the places you want to go? Have you decided the area you would like to go on your first day but have not yet nailed down exactly what you will do? If you are picking up your Travellers Autobarn  campervan directly after a long flight, you are probably going to be exhausted, so you don’t want to have to sit behind the wheel for many hours. If you are uncertain as to where you will spend your first night in Japan, this blog will provide you with some suggestions for two areas you can reach within 3-4 hours from our branch!

 

Hitachi Seaside Park

If you are planning to visit the Tohoku region (Northern Honshu) as your first destination, you should definitely stop at Hitachi Seaside Park which can be reached in just under two hours by campervan from Travellers Autobarn near Narita International Airport. Colorful flowers such as nemophila, daffodils, and tulips in spring, poppies and roses in early summer, zinnias and sunflowers in summer, kochia (summer cypress) and cosmos in fall, and ice tulips in winter making a visit any time of year an enjoyable experience. The most popular displays are in spring with the breathtaking sight of 5.3 million blue nemophila blanketing the area and in autumn when the fuzzy kochia turn red making the landscape burn bright red. The park has bicycles for rent and 11 kilometers of cycling paths making for a great way to tour the vast park. There is also a forest athletic course, putter golf, a barbecue plaza, and even an amusement park, Pleasure Garden, with more than 25 attractions to enjoy!

 

Where to stay the night: RV Park Landport Ajigaura

RV Park Landport Ajigaura is just minutes from Hitachi Seaside Park, and its idyllic location facing the Pacific Ocean makes it a great place to stay the night. The owner speaks English, so you can make a reservation in advance by phone or email, or if you avoid weekends and holidays, you can usually get in on the same day. The great thing about this place is the facilities. The office is very clean and has tourist information with hot coffee available in the lounge. There is an onsite microwave oven, and snacks and refreshments are available for purchase. There are restrooms, sinks, and the showers are available for 500 yen. The fact that such excellent facilities are open at night and can be used freely for overnight stays shows how safe Japan is. Generally, the people who use these facilities are well mannered.

Those going to Hokkaido on the Sunflower Ferry can be to the Oarai Port Ferry Terminal in 20 minutes from RV Park Landport Ajigaura. Hokkaido is a popular destination spring through fall, and there are ferry terminals all over the country, but if you want to get to the ferry as soon as possible after picking up your campervan from Travellers Autobarn Narita/Tokyo, this is the place to go. With RV Park Landport Ajigaura very close to Hitachi Seaside Park, you can visit the park early in the morning the next day, or if you have children, visit Aqua World Ibaraki Oarai Aquarium near the ferry terminal where you can see dolphin shows and cute sea lions. Also located very near the ferry terminal is the Nakaminato Fish Market where you can enjoy all sorts of freshly caught seafood. One of the specialties here are the creamy raw oysters that are prepared right in front of you. Each oyster costs between 300 and 400 yen, and you can eat them right there on the spot with lemon and soy sauce! The fish market usually opens early in the morning, so it is best to go in the morning.

 

Fuji Five Lakes

The most popular destination for our clients, which often is their first stop, is the Fuji Five Lakes area around Mt. Fuji. It takes about three hours by expressway from Travellers Autobarn Narita/Tokyo, so it is not that far especially if you have two drivers. Fuji Five Lakes is a must-visit destination on a road trip through Japan.

Fuji Five Lakes is abounding with outdoor activities such as canoeing, pedal boating, camping, mountain biking, and hiking that allow visitors to enjoy the outdoors all the while having Mt. Fuji in view. Of course, even if you’re not looking to do anything all that active, just relaxing wherever you have stopped and basking in the view of Mt. Fuji is a treat in and of itself.

While climbing Mt. Fuji is very strenuous and can only be done in the summer with a reservation, there are other mountains in the vicinity that offer less strenuous hikes. One such mountain is Mitsutogeyama which offers an easy hike that takes less than 3 hours round trip and offers a good view of Mt. Fuji.

 

Where to stay the night:

1) Parks, Observation Areas, Roadside Stations (michi-no-eki)

There are many free parks, observation areas and a good number of roadside stations where you can spend the night with a view of Mt. Fuji. While the parks and observation areas have limited facilities, the roadside stations, which do not require a reservation, have well-kept 24-hour restrooms and vending machines. Many roadside stations also have a market and restaurant that are open from around 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

2) Fumotoppara Campground

If you are looking for a proper campground, then Fumotoppara Campground is worth checking out. Located on the eastern side of Mt. Fuji, this vast campground provides its guests with great views Japan’s iconic mountain no matter the time of day. If you time it right, and the weather is favorable, you might get to witness “Diamond Fuji” where the sun spectacularly rises or sets from Mt. Fuji’s cone. Onsite facilities include showers, restrooms, a trash station, and a store. It is a comfortable place to spend your first night in your Travellers Autobarn campervan.

At 800 meters above sea level, it is somewhat cooler, so many people stay here for several days, especially in summer. It is recommended to make a reservation early as it is very popular. The price is 4,000 yen per campervan plus 1,000 yen per adult. While this in not all that cheap, the facilities, expansive grounds and excellent view of Mt. Fuji make it a worthy overnight destination.

About the Author

Sayuri

I have been travelling by campervan to various areas all over Japan for more than 5 years. My goal is to visit all 47 prefectures in Japan! Just 12 more prefectures to go and I'll have accomplished it! I hope I can share some of information of wonderful places in Japan.

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