Saturday, December 2, 2023


Add a stay at a Buddhist temple in Japan to your RVing plans

I sometimes run into items during my daily Internet travels that boggle my mind.

Until recently, I was of the belief that RVing was mostly an American/Canadian/Australian/European thing. I know the RV Industry of America (RVIA) would love to have their bets on China pay off, but that experiment really hasn’t gone very far.

One place I hadn’t considered as an emerging market for RVers is Japan. After all, the Land of the Rising Sun is a tight collection of water-locked islands in the North Pacific, where open land is precious. RVing and Japan just don’t seem to go together. But, in fact, camping is quite popular in Japan. There are about 3,000 campgrounds there. My former employer – Kampgrounds of America Inc. – even tried expanding to Japan in the late 1970s, opening about 5 locations – but they didn’t last.

Now, for something entirely different…

Today, I found an article online touting ways to camp at a 1,200-year-old Buddhist temple, of all places. Daitaiji Temple is located in Wakayama Prefecture and sits along the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo Credit: Temple Hotel Daitaiji

The Buddhist temple has nine camping spots available for you to pitch your tent or park your “camper van,” according to the article on the TimeOut Tokyo website. You’ll wake to the sound of morning temple prayers and “adopt the way of the monks” by partaking in the included breakfast of rice porridge and pickled vegetables. I guess pancakes aren’t so popular there.

After chowing down on rice and veggies, you can join the monks for a zen meditation session to calm your mind. You’ll shell out 1,100 yen (about $10 bucks) for that activity. You can also experience the fun of Shakyo, which is the process of transcribing the teachings of Buddha with a calligraphy brush.

Immerse yourself in Japanese culture

Interested in Japanese temple camping? You can book your site right here for just over $27 a night. That doesn’t include your tent or RV.

It actually sounds like a great way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. I wonder if Outdoorsy has peer-to-peer rentals in Japan? It’s certainly something to meditate about.


Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.



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