A camping ground on the shores of Lake Nojiri in northern Nagano Prefecture.

The campground is in an amazing location, with direct access to the water. There is a toilet block with mens and womens toilets, and a shelter with running water and sinks for doing your dishes. There are also reportedly bathing facilities, but these were closed during our stay. Besides, if the weather is nice, you can just go for a dip in the lake.

Korakuen Camping Ground has an enormous plus—its location next to Lake Nojiri | Photo by Gregory Lane

The location next to the water also contributes to one of the negatives—in the early evening, there are clouds of midges, insects, and mosquitoes. If spending time outside, make sure you’re well covered—by clothes or insect repellent.

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The campground could also do with a spruce up. The spaces are not signposted, many of the spaces are overgrown and it’s difficult to see the boundaries between sites. If you arrive when the camp manager is absent, you’ll probably struggle to figure out where your site is. Another minus is that they don’t have any garbage collection or disposal, so you’ll have to take everything with you—and you’ll have to keep it inside with you in your tent or camper van.

Cooking up a storm next to the lake | Photo by Gregory Lane

Fees for your stay are slightly complicated. There are three components—a per person fee, a parking fee, and a site fee. The per person cost is ¥1,000 for adults (junior high age and above) and ¥600 for children. The parking fee is ¥1,000 for a regular car, and ¥2,000 for a camper van. The site fee is either ¥1,000 or ¥1,500 depending on the position. So for a family of four staying in a camper van with elementary school age children, the cost would be ¥6,700. Ask what qualifies as a “camping car” as if you’re in a Dreamdrive camper or similar, your parking fee might be the lower amount.

The camp office for checking in is the large building directly to the right of the camp entrance.