With Japan having a popular camping culture and hotels being expensive, it made sense to camp during my stay. Japan has a strong outdoors culture and you can find camping grounds throughout the country, even in the center of Tokyo. Camping in Hokkaido also means really good amenities, including showers, laundry service and running water. People don’t often see many foreigners camping, so will be intrigued to know why you are here.
Buses and trains are also pricey (e.g. the Bullet Train from Sapporo to Tokyo is 28,000 Yen which is about £250 for a four hour ride), so it made sense to give hitchhiking a go. A man I met at a hostel in Tokyo told me that Japan is maybe one of the easiest countries in the world to hitchhike in, so I thought I would try my luck.
Being short on time and travelling on a budget, I wanted to see as much as I could, in the cheapest way. National parks are scattered around the island and I wanted to spend one night in each of them. Attempting to hitchhike whenever I could, as well as camping, was the much cheaper option. Having a rough idea of where the campsites are is also important.
Flying into Chitose airport, I had a campsite in mind that I wanted to get to which was 10 kilometers away. After taking a taxi and getting my head around the exchange rate, I realised, “wow! this country is expensive.” I camped at the Izumisawashizennomori campsite, which is set in a valley. With the rain pouring, I questioned why I was doing this trip. But looking out over the forest the morning after, I became aware of just how peaceful and wild Hokkaido is. Currently, I live in Ho Chi Min City in Vietnam where the nature is non existent, so this was a pleasant change!
Would I recommend it?
Japanese people are extremely friendly which makes hitchhiking easier than in other countries, so it is definitely possible. The scenery around Hokkaido is so stunning. To witness it first thing in the morning as you step out of your tent is absolutely breathtaking. So for those two reasons alone, I really think people should try this.