Hi everyone! Have any of you thought about going on a trip in a camping car?
I can imagine for some, you may want to try, but don’t have the opportunity.
I am a student who loves road trips, but unfortunately, without a driving license, I haven’t been able to rent and drive one for myself. However, I was recently invited to an event in Kosuge village, Yamagata prefecture – the “Fruits of the Earth festival”, and I was able to experience the camping car holiday that I had always wanted!
In this article, I hope to convey the enjoyment that I had from this camping car trip!
Kosuge village is located in the north of Yamagata prefecture, and has a population of only around 700 people. It is located at the source point of Tamagawa River, and is on the border of the edge of greater Tokyo. You can reach Kosuge by car in about only 2 hours, making it perfect for a weekend getaway.
For this trip, we rented a camping car “CAMP IN CAR” with capacity for six people. Of course, I wanted to see what it was like inside and when I looked, the first thing I thought of was how much bigger it was on the inside than I thought! I wouldn’t even using this as a permanent mobile home!
There are seats that hold four people around a table, and we were able to have fun chatting and eating sweets on the trip, while the two guys in the picture were driving us! (It must have been tiring for them!)
After leaving Tokyo, there was a bit of traffic, but as we travelled further and further from the town center, the traffic subsided and nature started becoming more abundant.
When I saw the autumn leaves, I opened the window without even thinking! In this picture you can see Okutama, it’s hard to believe that it’s technically part of Tokyo, and the air is so fresh. We took a break here and took in the natural wonders around us and took plenty of photos to boot. Straight onto Instagram! And…we arrived.
① Roadside Station Kosuge
We arrived at Kosuge Road station, located about 30 minutes away from Okutama, and where the “fruits of the earth” festival was being held. The road station was in fact only opened in 2015, and was packed with many local visitors, with people coming on organized tours visiting the area. At the festival, Kenchin-jiru soup made with locally grown vegetables and Salted Trout on offer. As well as other home grown vegetables on offer, there were locally crafted and hand-made goods and ornaments that were also available to buy. Roadside Station Kosuge is registrated as a "RV Park Roadside Station Kosuge" so you can stay here comfortably. (Here is more informations about staying at the RV Park)
Great shot of the NPO Tama-genryu-Kosuge group and the head of Kosuge Village – Funaki san!
In the Kosuge road station, there is a “Fureai-kan” that provides information on events in Kosuge, including tours, hot springs, lodgings, areas In the town and the surrounding regions, as well as various photos showing the beauty of Kosuge during each of the seasons.
③ Genryuu Restaurant (Genryuu relates to the source/start of a river)
Next to the contact centre is Genryuu restaurant, where you can try various culinary delights which are all grown from water in the local river. It is especially famous for its Stone Baked Pizza and Croquettes!
This is also next to the contact centre, and sells numerous souvenirs. These include Konjac products, fresh vegetables grown from the local mountain water, food products made from the local trout and char fish, honey and much more. The variety of products not only attracts tourists, but is also an essential place for the locals!
⑤ Forest Adventure
We also visited the “Kosuge Forest Adventure” area which is highly recommended for those who enjoy losing themselves in nature. This kind of park was invented in France, and is a park which is integrated with the nature with no construction encroaching on it. There is also a zip line ropeway situated about 15 metres high up – the only one existing nearby a village mountain. With other activities such as bouldering, a free kids play area and goat field, the area is cherished by everyone in the area, young and old.
⑥ Kosuge no Yu Hot spring
Kosuge hot spring is high in alkaline and is said to be good for the skin, earning its nickname as “The Hot spring of beauty”. There are a total of 9 bathing rooms, each of which are unique, such as the regular baths, outdoor baths, wooden heated baths, sleeping baths and event bathing areas. The area is often visited by families with children, and always has a happy and friendly atmosphere.
⑦ Tamagawa Camp Village
Located along the Tama River, a tributary of the Kosuge River with a gentle stream and clean water, this campground boasts a land area of 33,000 ㎡ surrounded by the traditional nature. You can catch trout, char and rainbow trout at the fishing spot in the park, and children can also catch them.
And for the evening – an amazing night view of the stars and even galaxies (if you look hard enough!)
Just 2 hours away from Tokyo you can lose yourself in nature, enjoy delicious local foods as well as the unique local hot spring baths. It’s an amazing place that I would highly recommend for those of you thinking of visiting somewhere a little different but still close to Tokyo by car.