I'm planning a tour September - November from Seoul in South Korea, down official bike routes to Busan, then ferry to Fukouka in the south of Japan, touring a little in the south and Shikoku island before finishing in Osaka. I'm hoping to go as lightweight as I can.
I'm just preparing everything, but I've very undecided about bringing camping gear. When I was in Japan 12 years ago I found it very hard to get good camping spots and ended up staying in local hotels every night, which itself was difficult as online booking wasn't easy in those days. I usually like to stay in local places as I find it better that way to meet other people and practice the language, and so on, and I hate camping in places which are populated, but obviously there may be places where accommodation is difficult and it of course saves lots of money.
So my question for anyone who's done this in the past few years, would it be easy enough to find reasonably priced accommodation between the main cities and towns every night, or is a tent an essential back up for some areas?
Also, I'd appreciate thoughts on the best options for tent there - I have a lightweight tent, but also a hammock and a light tarp and bivvy bag and I'm undecided as to which is the best option.
Many thanks in advance
for us having a tent is freedom ( and of course budget solution)
free camp is easy
Free camping in South Korea
Nothing can beat free camping in South Korea! This is definitively the most camping friendly country we have visited so far, Koreans love to camp, they do it every time they have the chance. There are plenty of free camping structures in South Korea, literally everywhere. Usually, those structures are fully serviced with toilets, showers, and shaded tent spots.
we do a lot of free camp in japan even if the campground was "close" they was still open ( with water and toilet)
We also land in korea begining of september for 2 moth then 2 mont in taiwan , and wa take our tent
as sptember and october is still rainy ( typhons in japan) I will not take a simple tarp and hammok
i have traveled by bicycle extensively in japan using a variety of campgrounds and accommodations. Free camping is easy, even at school grounds and city parks if you arrive late and depart early. Japan does not have any kind of daylight savings time shifts, so it will be dark by 7pm. As the other folks replied, many campgrounds will be closed after October 15, but you can just 'sneak' in. Be aware of local and national holidays, as all places can be fully occupied. Perhaps this link will help:
getting internet reservations for hostels and budget hotels is very easy these days. The weather at that time of year can be rainy for days on end. The positive side will be the changing colors of maple leaves. The japanese have recently become crazy about hammock camping, and it is more commonly accepted to string up between trees.
if you are just passing through places and putting in the road miles- I would recommend bringing a tent. If you like to stop and spend time in places- you could do a combination of hammock and hostels.
my favorite place to camp in Osaka is on Maishima island- a sporting grounds island on reclaimed land at the mouth of the Yodo river. You can also cycle to Kyoto easily by following this river.
have you considered the Shimanami Kaido cycling route?
Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me off site if you have specific questions.
my favorite place to camp in Osaka is on Maishima island
me too :)
you can also have a look at
Thanks so much for those very useful responses! Janet, I'll definitely be mailing you sometime with some questions, thanks for the offer.
I cycled through S Korea and Japan a few years ago,and free camped every night.I camped in parks with public toilets so I had access to water and electric sockets, which most Japanese toilets don’t have.I never felt unsafe at any time in either country, and would happily do it again
I can't imagine traveling in Japan without a tent, in cold rainy November. IMHO no tent, or just a hammock, is out of the question. You have mountain options most of that way, but for it prep is essential.
Thanks Liz, yes, the more I research the more I see a lot of accommodation options in mountain areas seem to shut at the end of October, so I'll need a tent.