This is one post I am particularly happy to be bringing you! We have been trying to stay at Kinomura Camp in Tokigawa for the last five years. However, as it is extremely popular we have never been able to secure a booking for a date we wanted. This year, 2020, ironically thanks to the Coronavirus, we were finally able to get a booking.
However, all that being said, Kinomura camp didn’t turn out to be what I thought it would. It is a really beautiful location, but as a campsite it has some major failings. More about that below! I am grateful we went and delighted to cross it off the bucket list. It is insanely popular with good reason. But while I would recommend it for the nature and scenery, it is strictly on the premise that you can accept its downfalls.
Kinomura Camp 2021
The incredibly popular Kinomura Camp has started taking bookings (since yesterday March 2nd) for the 2021 camping season. You can also book for their cabins now too. The 2021 camping season at Kinomura Camp starts from Thursday April 1st and will end on Sunday October 31st. Reception for reservations opens from 8 am to 5 pm daily. Scroll down to “information” for the phone number.
Our trip to Kinomura Camp
Chances are if you’ve ever bought a camping mook for the Kanto area and / or a Saitama tourist mook, you’ve seen this campsite in photos before. It is one of the most picturesque riverside campsites we have stayed in. The abundant waterfalls at the site are one of the captivating draws of the hillside camp and cabins.
The campsite is located along the Toki river and some of its tributaries. It is in the lush natural forest of the Kinomura area of Tokigawa. At about 250 meters above sea level, with its riverside location and close to source waterfalls, it is also much cooler than the flat lands of Saitama. Moreover the incredibly reasonable price also attracts campers from around the Kanto plain.
The Kinomura Campsite is open to the public from April to the end of October annually. However, this year due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the campsite remained closed until this month. They started taking bookings again mid June and reopened for business on July 4th. We were among dozens of happy campers at the fully utilized resort this past weekend.
Facilities / Services
- Day camp
- Water play
- Log Cabins
Day tripping / day camp
Kinomura Camp offers a respite to anyone looking to get out of the city and into the countryside. It is only 90 minutes from downtown Tokyo. Forest bathing, negative ions, clear cool water – all you need to recharge the batteries, so to speak, in the great outdoors. However, the day camp area is not as nice as the overnight area. They request that day trippers stick to their side of the bridge, but in reality most come up to at least check out the fancy end!
There is a set fee for anyone who wants to enter Kinomura. Whether you are day tripping or staying over every adult has to pay 600 yen and every child 400 yen to enter the resort. For that, day trippers park in a general car park and then pitch a tarp wherever they like – first come first served – on one side of the river. If you want a site with its own hand basin and electrical output with a place to park your car it costs 4000 yen for the day. There are various items available for rent too, such as their “camp set”, that provides everything you need for a barbecue – except the food!
Water / River Play
The wading river remains cool all year round as it is close to the source of the river, particularly on the cabin side of the resort. One area is ideal for water play for small children. Another area is deep enough to swim in. Most areas on this end of the river, by the large waterfall, have some shade from the natural forest. There are some beautiful make shift bridges over the river throughout the resort. As well as the large Okunugi bridge that marks the divide between the day area and the accommodation. On the day tripping end the water is much shallower. There is a slanted area where kids like to slide. However, on that end there is no shade at any part of the river.
You can also fish in the river. Fish include trout, swordfish, dace and crayfish. Small fish need to be released. You can not use a rod with a casting reel on it.
If you are there on a day return you can either bring your own barbecue equipment or rent it. If you book an auto site there is a water supply at the site you are given as well as an electrical outlet. For those who are staying overnight in the cabins or at the erected tents or free sites, there is a shared barbecue area. It is roofed with facilities such as fridge freezer and grills. There are sinks and an area to leave your rubbish too.
Camp and cabins
There are several ways to camp at Kinomura. You can bring your own tent and stay at a site with electricity and water. There are also “free” sites which means an area without the tent site mapped out. First come first served. Both of the free sites are right beside the largest waterfall. These have no electrical outlets.
If you don’t have a tent or for whatever reason would prefer not to bring one you have, you can just bring yourself and stay in one of the Kinomura tents. You can rent bedding too, however during the Coronavirus outbreak they are not offering that service:
Camping during the Coronavirus outbreak
Due to the coronavirus outbreak there are a couple of changes to staying at Kinomura Camp. The main one for people staying overnight is that you need to bring your own bedding. They are not renting bedding, not just sheets – futons too, during the coronavirus outbreak. Even for people staying in the cabins, you need to bring your own futons.
This is where we stayed. There are two sizes. The vast majority are cabins that fit up to five people. Then there are two that supposedly fit up to seven people. Fake news! We are a family of two adults and four children aged between five and ten years old and it was a squeeze.
Here’s where we get to the not so great stuff about Kinomura. I understand now why the cabins are so cheap…
You are basically just paying for a floor, walls and a roof over your head. The cabins do have a veranda which afford a nice view. But nothing else. Nowhere to hang your coat even. And there was a locked box around the plug so you can’t use the electrical output in the cabin unless you pay for it. Its just 500 yen for the night though. However, even considering how little comes for your money, it is still better value than a lot of other camps. We paid 11,000 yen for the cabin in Kinomura. We stayed in a very similar cabin in Nagatoro Autocamp and paid exactly double – 22,000 yen – for one night.
While the room in Natagoro autocamp was more expensive, at least that campsite had better facilities, including a lot more toilets! There are only one group of toilets in the center of the cabins in Kinomura. They are down a flight of stairs or rocky crevice. There are only three toilets for men and same for women for 15 cabins, two large camping areas and eight of Kinomura tents. There are more toilets by the entrance to the campsite, but that is a good walk and the area is barely lit up at night.
Parking is miles away. You need to carry your gear from a temporary car spot about 300 meters away with no cover from the elements. If its raining your stuff – futons and all – are going to get wet unless you have then wrapped up well. There are wheel barrow type contraptions you can use to help carry your luggage some of the way, but to get to all but three of the 15 cabins, you need to use a stairway. Same for one of the free tent sites.Then you have to move your car to a spot about seven hundred meters away. As the crow flies its closer, but there’s a river in the way!
There is a shared barbecue and eating area. There is nowhere to grill or even sit outside of this area. Normally, this is a great environment for amicability, but with the current Coronavirus outbreak it is not so ideal. Particularly as there are only two fridges and one freezer for everyone to share. You need to write your name on your stuff before putting it in either. The tables are close together. The sinks are spotless!
Breakfast by 9 am please! They start cleaning the shared barbecue area by 9 am so you can’t use it or any of its facilities after that even though check out isn’t until 10 am.
Showers are charged and there isn’t anywhere to even just wash your feet, which is definitely the exception not the rule. Most campsites have a tap by the river to rinse off feet. However, it isn’t uncommon to have to pay for a shower. We had to pay for showers in several campsites in the past, such as Waterpark Nagatoro. What is unusual though is that it is 200 yen for three minutes, twice the going rate.
Despite all the negatives, we have no regrets that we visited Kinomura Campsite. And as I said above, so long as you are prepared to accept the pitfalls, I have no hesitation in recommending it as a place to stay. All of my kids loved it. The eldest because he could fish to his heart’s content. My girls because they could play in water all day. For me personally, the rugged natural landscape within view and roaring waterfall within earshot (of all cabins) were enough to counteract any negatives.
|Address:||1440 Ono, Tokigawa, Hiki District, Saitama 355-0366|
|Hours:||Season April 1st to November 1st|
Phone Reception – 8 am to 5 pm
Entry – 8 am
Check in – auto site day / overnight 11 am*
Check in all other – 2 pm*
*You can play from 8 am, but just can’t check in to your accommodation until 11 am (auto site) and 2 pm (free site / cabins).
Check out – 10 am
|Cost:||600 yen entrance fee per adult, 400 yen per child base fee.|
☆Day auto site (with electricity / hand basin / parking) 4000 yen
☆Overnight auto site (same as above) 6000 yen
☆Free tent site (no electricity) from 3000 yen, you can rent a tent too for an additional 1000 yen.
☆Already erected tent 4,000 yen.
☆Log cabins – 9000 yen for up to 5 people. 11,000 yen for up to 6 people.
They have a wide range of camping goods available for rent, even bedding. However, during the Coronavirus they are not renting out any bedding and you need to bring your own.
The campsite is located in the mountains of Tokigawa. The location is quite remote, but not as remote as Dodaira (the famous star gazing campsite). And great news for anyone without a car – you can get to the site by public transport. A bus goes from Tobu Tojo line’s Musashi Ranzan station. If you are coming from the East, watch out for the Totoro on the way!!
In the area
- Sanba Gorge accessible nature spot Tokigawa
- Comoriver Tokitama Himitsu Kichi| TOKIGAWA
- Suzumegawa Sabo Dam Park
- Retro Tamagawa Hot springs and Sento | TOKIGAWA
- Washi workshop in Tokigawa
Other cabin campsites in Saitama on this blog
- Baths and play area in glampsite You Park | OGOSE
- Midori No Mura: Remote Retreat, Park and Log cabins
- Yoshida Genki Mura | CHICHIBU
- Waterpark Nagatoro | CHICHIBU
- Family Friendly Nagatoro Autocamp | CHICHIBU