Nagatoro Autocamp summer in Saitama 2020

Information for one of Saitama’s most famous campsites: the scenic, riverside Nagatoro Auto campground. In 2024, they are closing in January and February for winter and will reopen on March 1st 2024. Please note that while I have updated this post with the 2024 information, please bear in mind that we haven’t stayed or visited here in more than four years.

A sign welcoming people to Nagatoro Auto campsite and campground with cabins
Beautiful Chichibu: Nagatoro Autocamp grounds on the Arakawa River

Chichibu is one of my favorite areas in Saitama due to the abundance of nature. It is a very beautiful part of Saitama, and indeed the Kanto area. And due to its accessibility from and proximity to Tokyo, it offers a weekend retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Some areas are so remote that there isn’t even any phone reception. Blissful!

Nagatoro Line Kudari boat ride down the Arakwa river passing Nagatoro Autocamp with children playing in the river
Nagatoro Line Kudari boat ride down the Arakwa river passing Nagatoro Autocamp with children playing in the river

Chichibu was the perfect choice for our first camping experience with children. My husband and I spent a lot of time in the area before we had kids, so we felt comfortable choosing a place we were particularly familiar with. Especially as we also hadn’t been camping in eleven years. However, the campsites we were familiar with weren’t ideal for babies. So I did a bit of research and Nagatoro Autocamp stood out as one of the better places for camping with babies. It was one of a number of reasons (outlined below) I chose Nagatoro Autocamp. But mainly I had always wanted to stay there after passing it once on a boat ride down the Arakawa River many years before!

Nagatoro Autocamp

If you have ever had the pleasure of taking the Nagatoro Line river ride, you may have noticed it too as you can see all the tents and families playing riverside.   We decided to ease ourselves into our re-acquaintance with camping and didn’t go for a tent this time. Well actually the choice was made for us as the tent sites were actually booked out! We  chose a cabin or as they call them a bungalow. The cabin we got was extremely basic, so while we might not be able to say we “camped”, we didn’t quite “glamp” either, it was somewhere in between!

We were very lucky to be able to get a booking for Nagatoro Autocamp on short notice. The popular train carriage cabins were all booked out, as were the cabins with air conditioning / heating. What we ended up with was a log cabin that was literally just a floor, a roof and four walls. The latter had windows, with no curtains, and lots of holes and cracks, but it kept the rain off us when a thunderstorm exploded and for the most part kept the insects out. The cabin had a roofed barbecue area with seats and nearby there was an area for washing dishes.

Cabin in the woods at Nagatoro Autocamp
Our isolated bungalow in the far corner of Nagatoro Autocamp

Our cabin was the furthest out with the most space around it as it is usually used for dog owners. We were a bit far from toilets and other facilities but we couldn’t complain. We had a beautiful view of Houraijima Park, specifically some of the famous rocks, and the river back-dropped by a wood with azalea offering bursts of colour. Another advantage of our location is that it was quieter than being in the main camping or cabin areas.

What has Nagatoro Auto campground got to offer?

Some of the reasons Nagatoro Autocamp is suited for (a first) family camping visit(s), especially with babies, toddlers and young children:

  • It has a baby and nursing room
  • There are showers
  • You can rent fridges
  • A nice playground for small children
  • A reading room with books in a converted train carriage
  • Plenty of clean toilets including barrier free
  • Fuji Mart and Seven Eleven Convenience stores only a 5 minute drive away (mapped on a Google My Map Below)
  • Also Minano hospital only a 10 minute drive away (mapped on a Google My Map Below)
  • You can just daycamp
  • BBQ set available
  • Walkways are lit up at night
  • There are washing machines and dryers
  • They rent camping gear including kitchen ware and BBQ goods
  • The Onsen is only a 5 minute drive away
  • Accessible by train (more information below, also mapped on the Google My Map below)
  • Different accommodation choices
  • You don’t have to bring your rubbish home; there is a rubbish center Since the pandemic, you have to bring your rubbish home. Even in 2024.
  • Pet friendly
  • Dog run
  • You can grape pick in season in neighbouring vineyard
  • Particularly good for Water play (in the Arakawa river)
  • The area is also known for fishing
  • And for hiking
  • Plus in the summer you can do canoeing nearby
  • Suitable for large groups
  • Vending machines selling drinks, including one with hot coffee
  • Close to the famous and very stunning Kita Sakura Street Cherry Blossom Tunnel and Mt Hodo ropeway

Accommodation Choices

  • Tent Site
  • Bungalow
  • Train Carriage Bungalow
  • Glamping
  • Hotel
Glamping bungalow at Nagatoro Autocamp
Glamping bungalow

I don’t think the cabin we got is value for money for what you get. Especially considering that before we had to start paying for the children we could stay in a lodge in Tokinosumika (Gotemba) with a kitchen, bathroom, toilet and beds for the same price.  The camp sites are much better value. Please see the official website for accurate up-to-date prices. I’ve given a rough outline in the ‘Information’ section. I can only guess that the campsite is a little more expensive than others due to its location and popularity.

All in all, while we were very happy with our experience, there is something we can’t put our finger on that was missing for us. The accessibility is convenient, the riverside location really is excellent, the facilities are better than most and it truly is very family friendly. We may go back someday, but we’ve a lot more camping grounds to try out in the meantime. It may appeal to us even more after comparing it to its competition. 🙂 And while it isn’t in my top ten family get away locations, I have no hesitations in recommending it as a suitable place for a first family camping experience in the Greater Tokyo Area.

Information

Season: from March 1st to December 31st 2024

Hours: closed most Tuesdays and Wednesdays except during. You can see the 2024 calendar here.

Check in / out: You can check in between noon and 5 pm for the tent site and from 2 pm for the bungalows. You can check out between 8.30 am and 11 am for the tent site and until 10 am for the bungalows.

Cost: there is a base fee of 800 yen per adult, 400 yen per child and 400 yen per pet. Plus the cost of the tent site or bungalow. Prices differ greatly depending on the site location (e.g. by the river) and the season. On average a tent site is around 4500 yen, but goes right up to 13000! Bungalows upwards of 17000 yen, but on average 27,000 yen.

Address: Nagatoro Autocamp, 559-1 Ido, Nagatoro, Chichibu District, Saitama 369-1312. View on Google Maps. There is also a map below with the nearest convenience store, hospital and other services mapped.

Access

Nagatoro Station

Nagatoro Station is on the Chichibu Tetsudo and Steam Locomotive Paleo Express lines. It is about 2 hours from central Tokyo.  The main connecting stations to get the Chichibu Tetsudo line are Hanyu station on the Tobu Isesaki Line, Kumagaya Station on the Joetsu Shinkansen / JR Takasaki lines, Yorii station on the Tobu Tojo / JR Hachiko lines and Ohanabatake station on the Seibu Chichibu line.

Nagatoro Autocamp is about a ten minute drive by taxi from the station, but it is almost the same on foot (about 13 minutes) as there is a foot bridge you can use to cut the journey if you are walking. By car the campsite is about a 25 minute drive from the Hanazono Interchange on the Kanetsu Expressway. Plenty of parking available at the camp site.

Official website


Other Nearby attractions

14 Comments

  1. oh wow this looks sooo amazing- i love how you captured them all in these pictures!

    1. I was on the ball that day – sometimes I remember to do it, more often than not it’s on the way home it dawns on me that I didn’t take any photos of the facilities!!

    1. Camping is so much fun and a cheap alternative to hotels when travelling 🙂

  2. It looks so beautiful! I would love to visit Japan! I never even thought about camping!

    1. We accidentally took up camping again a couple of years ago! WE had camped many years ago before kids. I find it really therapeutic being in nature and living without screens or any other distractions 🙂

  3. What a wonderful camping adventure! So many accommodations that make camping with children easier – and I love that they have a reading room!

    1. The kids really enjoyed that (the reading room) too, so did I and I loved that it was an old train carriage 🙂

  4. Such a beautiful place! And how amazing that allthose amenities are available…even mini fridges!

    1. The fridges are so handy, especially in the summer when it gets incredibly hot here. 🙂

  5. I’ve never been to Japan and this area looks so cool! I need to make time to get out of the city when I go. 🙂

    1. This area is particularly nice and it is handy that it is commutable from Tokyo 🙂

  6. Wow! Those views are amazing!!

    1. I am dreaming of being back there right now! Hopefully we’ll get to the area again next month 🙂

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