Sun Amenity Kitamoto Camp Field and outdoor activity center is ideal for an inexpensive camping experience. It is just 500 yen for the night until April 2024 when the price is going up. But you can still do one coin camping during the day! Open all year round, but it is particularly scenic in spring with cherry blossoms and ‘hanadaikon’, a flowering plant similar to bluebells. Furthermore, the camp is located close to several cherry blossom viewing locations including one of Japan’s five great sakura. Moreover, it is a Forest Therapy base, part of the only registered Forest Therapy site in all of Saitama Prefecture.
Kitamoto Camp Field
On my way to Takao Sakura park sometime toward the end of March (cherry blossom season is a blur), I was accosted by a blast of pink as I glanced left to secure the safety of a parking lot entrance. Intrigued, on the drive home I drove by it as slowly as I could. Thankfully I was successful in eying part of the name of the location and committed it to memory.
When I got home, I promptly researched “Sun Amenity Kitamoto”. Turns out I had the location saved on Google Maps under camping. Because that what Sun Amenity Kitamoto is – a camping ground. But it is more than just a camping ground. Hence, like an unbelievable amount of places (and I sound like a broken record saying this) it goes by a gazillion names. The most common after “Sun Amenity” or “Kitamoto Camp Field” is Kitamoto City “Yagai Katsudo Center” or “Outdoor activity Center” which they call yakatsu for short. Furthermore, it is part of the Arakawa Biotope, the Saitama Greenery Trust and an unofficial car park lot for the Takao Miyaoka scenic area. They seem to be branding it as “Sun Amenity Kitamoto Camp Field” now. I will go with a mix of Sun Amenity and Kitamoto Camp Field hereafter!
As a park
My research not only confirmed the location as a campsite (and later in 2022 as a Forest therapy Base). Moreover, it turned up several Japanese language blogs and social media posts about the cherry blossoms on the grounds. What I couldn’t find information for online at the time though was whether or not the grounds of the campsite are only for paying guests. Fast forward a few days to March 31st and I intrepidly pulled into the car park of Sun Amenity, still unsure whether or not it is permitted. I was half expecting someone to come down from the office and tell me that it wasn’t permitted to park there.
However, after exploring the site I can confirm that there is a large section of the grounds that are open to the public (between 8.30 am and 5 pm). Moreover, it is the area with the stunning cherry blossoms and bluebells. The campsite is actually only a small part of the park. They have it clearly marked where is for paying guests and where is for the general public. Thankfully many of the facilities fall within the public area. They include toilets, vending machines and even a little shop, pictured above.
Kitamoto Cherry Blossoms
I’m sure I’ve said this in at least one blog post before, but Kitamoto City stands out to me, along with Honjo City, as one as the better cities for cherry blossom viewing in Saitama Prefecture. There are several reasons I say that. For example, Kitamoto has one of the five great cherry blossoms of Japan. Moreover, that “great” cherry blossom is the only one of its kind in the whole world. In addition, Kitamoto has a disproportionate amount of cherry blossom viewing spots. Within walking distance of this campsite alone, there are five stunning cherry blossom viewing locations including that of the ONLY kabazakura in the world. The other four are Takao Sakura Park, Jougaya Embankment, Kitamoto Nature Observation Park and the Kitamoto Children’s Park. Even without children you can appreciate the voluminous cherry blossoms in that park.
Sun Amenity Cherry Blossoms
Moreover, the cherry blossoms at the campsite are an attraction in themselves. Cherry blossoms encircle the public green area at the front of the park. There are also cherry blossoms on the hill by the car park on the east of the campsite. The east side parking lot is the public car park. Parking for the campsite is on the North end. The east car park is locked up nightly so do be sure to get back to your car by 5 pm! The east end car park can also be used if you are hiking in the Saitama Greenery Trust Takao Miyaoka Scenic area.
There is also a car park at Kitamoto Mizube Plaza from where you can use a picturesque walkway lined with hanadaikon flower daikon, aka Chinese Violet Cress (like a bluebell), that leads to Kitamoto Camp Field. The Kitamoto Mizube Plaza Park is on the flood plains of Arakawa River. The campsite is also along the flood plains, although far enough back not to be threatened by heavy rain. However, during a typhoon it is likely there are times when the campsite has to close due to the threat of high waters.
Sun Amenity Kitamoto Camp field generally holds one event a month. They are often nature / agriculture based events. For example, mushroom picking or making crafts from items found in nature. They are normally open to the public, not just campers. In January 2024 they will have a mochitsuki event on Saturday the 20th, from noon. It costs 200 yen per person and all proceeds go to the Noto Peninsula Earthquake Relief Fund. Official event page.
Campsite and cabins
For the record we haven’t stayed here — yet! We have just visited the park and toured the camping grounds while there. ‘Camp Field’ is a bit misleading. Maybe once upon a time it was a rough and ready camp field. But I only visited it for the first time in 2021 and it is far from a plain wild camp field. For one, the tent sites are nicely landscaped within their own private space.
Moreover, there are cabins on the property. Very nice, new looking cabins that hold up to six people. A reader who went to visit after reading this post, let me know that she also feels that they are new cabins. She said that the cabins have an aircon which can be used as a heater too. She said the room has a kettle, an electric kettle, a katori senko, and a camping foldable table. The latter was quite unstable – when an older child in their group leaned on the table to get up it folded and the kettle with hot water spilled. Thankfully nobody was severely injured – it could have gone another way.
Contrary to what “camp field” conjures up, this is a very well done outdoor day and camp site. Most importantly, it is very affordable. A tent site costs only 500 yen for the night until the end of March 2023. From 2024 the tent site will cost 900 yen per night and 500 yen for a day camp. Cabin costs start from 7000 yen for the night. You can also rent for day time use, which costs even less again (see information section).
There is a large covered (by a roof) barbecue area with picnic benches. Likewise the washing up / food prep area also has a roof. Within the management building there are several facilities. For example, different sizes of meeting rooms and a hall. The hall holds up to 100 people. It costs 9000 yen for a full day (9 am to 10 pm) for people outside Kitamoto and surrounding cities. The meeting rooms start from 300 yen depending on the size.
There is also a bath in the main building that you can pay to use. However, you must request to use it and pay for the bath by 5 pm (thank you to a reader for this information). They also have a kiln that you can hire. With the exception of the kiln which is expensive, the facilities are reasonably priced. In addition, there is a shop in the management building. It is a very small shop with only charcoal and some drinks. The nearest convenience store is about a kilometer away. All parking is free.
One of the two big downsides of this campsite is the application process. A reader stayed here after seeing this post and very kindly let me know some of the pros and cons. She said, and I quote:
…the application process was convoluted, like one would expect of a government institution. First you need to make an application (moushikomi) by visit or phone, then step two application (shinsei) by letter or email, at this step you also need to submit the payment by furikomi.A reader who would like to remain anonymous
But she also said:
Overall I’d say it was a great adventure for the kids and a nice camping experience.A reader who would like to remain anonymous
Kitamoto Camp Field Information
The other (second) downside is that as a municipal facility there are quite a lot of rules. For example, lights out by 10 pm, no pets, no sparklers (hand held fireworks) to name but a few. You can read through the rules in Japanese here.
|9 Chome-Takao, 143 Kitamoto, Saitama 364-0034
|The park – 8.30 am to 5 pm
Day camp in the campsite – 10 am to 3 pm
Overnight camp – check in 3 pm, check out 10 am
|the park is free.
Pitching a tent during the day – is 300 yen until March 31st 2024 and 500 yen from April 1st 2024.
Pitching a tent at night – is 500 yen until March 31st and 900 yen from April 1st 2024.
Hiring a cabin (bungalow) during the day – 2,000 yen
Staying overnight in a cabin (bungalow) – 7,000 yen, except for a handful of nights during the year, generally in cherry blossom season,when the Saturday night price goes up.
Please see the “Convoluted Application” two paragraphs up.
The Kitamoto Camp Field is only a ten minute drive from the Ken-o expressway’s Okegawa-Kitamoto Interchange. National route 17 is also only a ten minute drive, from the Yamanaka crossroads.
The nearest train station is the Kitamoto Station on the Takasaki line. You can get a public bus to “Ishito Elementary school” from the west rotary’s number 3 bus stop. The camping grounds are about a 15 minute walk from that bus stop.