If you haven’t gone camping yet this year, there’s still time to plan that glorious weekend in the sunshine – with hikes, refreshing swims in the lake and cooking under the stars.
Camping, while it may seem like the pastime of large countries with immense land area, is actually a very popular activity in the small, beautiful nation of Japan. With its long coastline and multitude of forests, Japan is home to a wide range of amazing campsites, making it easy to find spectacular spots to pitch a tent. Some notable spots are the Koan Camping Ground on Lake Motosuko in Shizuoka where you can wake from your tent to a stunning view of Mount Fuji, the exact view that’s printed on Japanese currency! Or, for an entirely different natural environment you might check out the Konashidaira Campground in Kamikouchi, Nagano. Surrounded by the Hida Mountains and home to crystal clear rivers and mirror-like lakes, this beautiful highland valley is often referred to as Japan’s Northern Alps.
Though you might not be heading to the other side of the world to pitch your tent, you can still take inspiration from some of the delicious classic Japanese camping food being enjoyed. The following ideas are a far cry from the typical hot dogs, beans and trail mix.
This Japanese curry rice can be a simple, nutritious, and super flavorful staple of your camping dinners. Just bring along a lightweight camping “hango” rice cooker (you can find one on your favorite camping gear website to upgrade your dining experience at the campground), your favorite curry sauce and virtually any protein for a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
This delicious red bean soup with mochi is slightly sweet and extra nourishing. It makes an excellent breakfast to fortify you for the day’s activities.
Shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) gives the familiar camping favorites a serious flavor upgrade with its rich umami flavor. Sear juicy burgers or marinading fresh caught fish with shoyu and honey and cooking in tinfoil over the fire. Add a small dash to nuts, pretzels, or crackers for an addictive snack or heighten the natural sweetness of stone fruit to take on the trail with you.
Of course, everything tastes better out in the fresh air. So, please take inspiration from the above, and enjoy the flavors and enhance your camping experience with a fun Japanese twist.