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Camping Conscientiously

Camping Conscientiously

Hey, travel-savvy Dream Drivers! Have you been wondering how you can best enjoy your trip-of-a-lifetime while also abiding by Japanese camping etiquette?  We’ve put together this little list to help you do just that! Of course, we can’t cover everything, so always feel free to ask if you are unsure! People are typically super friendly and more than happy to help!


In recent years, Japan has seen a major increase in the popularity of camping, and a lot of people are enjoying this freeing form of travel. Unfortunately, however, violations have also increased, such as the illegal dumping of garbage and excessively long stays in public places.


In order to make your driving adventure in Japan harmonious and hassle-free, here are some simple ways to avoid committing some common camping faux pas.


1. Don’t stay too long in areas undesignated for camping

Roadside stations and highway service and parking areas are not intended to serve as accommodations. While it’s certainly fine to stop for a short nap or break, you should refrain from staying longer than a sleep to get yourself refreshed. Also, please avoid spreading your gear and belongings on the tables at service and parking areas, so that everyone can use them!


2. Park your Dream Drive vehicle in designated auto camping sites

Camping with your car in Japan is sometimes referred to as “auto camping.”  It’s ideal to park in these areas! Please note that some spots may require a reservation.


3. Please don’t use public power without permission

Please note that it is illegal to use public power without permission. Please use power supplies designated for auto camping, such as those at auto camping sites only. Again, if you’re not sure, just ask!


If you happen to use a generator in your travels, kindly ensure that the sound doesn’t disturb others.


4. Please use the proper methods to dispose of your garbage and recyclables

Basically, you should take home any of the garbage you accumulate during your camper trip unless you are at an auto campsite, in which case you may be able to dispose of the garbage in designated bins there.


Additionally, depending on the gas station, there are some that will allow you to dispose of your garbage when refueling. Please ask if you’re not sure. If you find a highway rest stop, they also provide bins to empty your garbage.


Although you may see public garbage cans in city and town streets, generally these should not be used to dispose of large amounts of trash not generated in that place itself.


5. Using public bathrooms

Japan is super convenient when it comes to public restrooms!  They are typically very clean and abundant! You can feel free to use any toilets at parking and service areas on the road. However, if you are using a convenience store toilet, it’s generally considered polite to purchase something small.


6. Avoid idling campers

Idling unnecessarily isn’t good for our environment, so please try and avoid idling when possible!


Otherwise, simply strive to be friendly to fellow humans and our environment and have a magical trip!


Avid camper, family of 5, long term resident of Japan and founder of Dream Drive