My Paradise: Camping at Lake Motosuko near Mt. Fuji

Photos by Cindy Birch
Photos by Cindy Birch

My Paradise: Camping at Lake Motosuko near Mt. Fuji

by Cindy Birch
Stripes Japan

Throughout the last 10 years, my family and I have traveled to 23 countries.  We lived in the USA, Europe and now Japan.  Our lavish adventures included trips to Egypt, Italy, Tenerife, France, Cypress, Greece, Spain, Turkey and the Philippines, to name a few.  Then, everything came to a halt as the COVID restrictions came into play.  We followed all protective health measures, wearing masks, social distancing and followed all protocols to protect ourselves and others.  As various areas began to open, we immediately hit the road.  We went to Shimoda Beach, Legoland, Tama Hills Recreation Area, hiking, fishing, picnicking and camping within Japan. We also traveled to Okinawa.  We still practiced protective measures and followed PHE (Public Health Emergency) recommendations, but it was nice to fulfill the travel bug once again!

We have enjoyed camping for the past 15 years of our marriage, and as children, we both went camping with our families.  We now enjoy taking our son camping.  When we knew it was going to be limited on what we could do, we began researching various areas to go camping.  I did my research, and my spouse did his research.  We both exclaimed that we had found the perfect spot.  Low and behold, we had both chosen the same campground: Kouan Campground. 

Our piece of paradise is camping at Kouan Campground at Lake Motosuko, Japan.  Mount Fuji is across the lake.  If you look on the back the 1,000 yen bill, the same image reflects across the lake early in the morning and different parts of the day.  It is such a beautiful landscape, placid lake and care-free campground.

Now, we like to camp in style.  We have a huge tent that sleeps 12; although, we only have 3 in our family, plus 2 dogs.  We sleep in -25 degree sleeping bags, cots, and air mattresses, depending on the time of the year.  Our amazing camping gear also includes a canopy, table, camping chairs, kitchen area with a sink, shower, changing area pop-up tent, and a portable toilet.  We always say, “We take everything and the kitchen sink!”

We take our portable grill.  In addition, we have drinks, snacks and an ice-chest full of breakfast, lunch and dinner cuisine.  We grill Wagyu, chicken kebabs, ribeyes, hamburgers and hot dogs.  We also have side dishes.  We never forget Jiffy Pop Popcorn and S’mores!

The scenery is breathtaking.  The views of Mount Fuji are incredible.  We camp in the wooded areas; however, many others prefer right on the beach.  Camping at Kouan has been our paradise “go to” several times.  We enjoy fishing, and we have caught some good size trout.  We bring our raft, T-Rex and Penguin floats and enjoy the clear, blue lake.  Our dogs enjoy swimming, too. 

If you decide to camp in the wooded areas, you can build your own campfire.  We often take our own firewood, and sit by the blazing fire. There is a small store for firewood, too.  It keeps you warm during cold evenings,  or it is nice to have in order to get your marshmallows just right! You can also do small fireworks, which is always a joy for children and adults!

The drive from Yokota AB to Kouan Campground is about 90 minutes.  The tolls cost approximately 4,300 yen.  The camping fees are very reasonable, along with rental costs of kayaks, canoes, SUP (stand up paddle boards), and life jackets.  Fishing licenses are available for purchase. Showers are available for those who do not carry their own portable showers.  If you need other items, the drive back to the nearest town is about 25 minutes.  If you desire the best peaches during peach season, there are road-side farmers’  markets that sell different fruits, vegetables and the like. 

If you have not enjoyed this breathtaking campground, check it out!  They also have a bath, sink clean-up area, toilets and showers near the beach camp sites.  They offer a restaurant and cabins for those who prefer enclosed camping and eating out. You can also take your pets as long as they remain on a leash.  We will be happy to share our piece of paradise with you!

When I chose to share our little piece of paradise, I could have easily chosen our memories of riding camels in Egypt, or snorkeling in the Red Sea or even basking on the beaches of Spain.  However, I wanted to share this location in Japan.  We occasionally see a few Americans, but the Japanese enjoy camping as much as we do.  You will be very impressed with their set-ups, too! 

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