Ryokami Sanroku Camping Ground is an old style riverside camping ground with cabins, deep in a mountain valley and cocooned by forest. The campsite is an isolated area of Ogano that has for the most part escaped tourism development. I think it is the most remote location in Saitama that we have camped in to date. And thanks to its seclusion and limited online presence we were able to secure cabins and tent grounds for four families on short notice during silver week!
Ryokami Sanroku Camping Ground
The campsite is suited to groups of friends camping together. Particularly families as the campsite turns off the barbecue area lights at 10 pm and ask for you to keep the noise down from then. There are accommodation choices for most budgets. You can stay in a tent, stand alone cabin, terraced cabins or shared accommodation. There are showers and a bath on the grounds, but they close at 8 pm! They rent out futons and camping goods. And although the camping grounds are in the boons, there is a bus that passes by the campsite so it is suited to people coming by public transport.
The surface is gravel, soft to medium ground underneath perfect for pitching a tent. The camping area is at the back of the camping grounds, past the cabins. Tents are on the river side and cars can be parked opposite at the foot of a forested hill. There are a few other tent spots along the river between cabins. There is a central barbecue area with picnic tables and benches. Hand soap is provided, but not washing up liquid.
They have different types of cabins. A large percentage of them are just a basic 6 tatami stand alone cabin. Ours was a 10 tatami cabin with loft and an outdoor barbecue area shared with the neighboring cabin. The others in our group that stayed in “cabins” were actually in rooms that were like a series of attached or terraced cabins.
There is also a deluxe cabin that has a Japanese Irori hearth on the first (ground) floor. You can grill your freshly caught fish while bantering around the hearth. It holds up to 20 people. There is a large tatami room upstairs that sleeps 14 people. And a smaller tatami room downstairs that could sleep 6. The cabin also has a balcony overlooking the river.
River play & fishing
There isn’t any play equipment in this campsite, but when you are camping with other families you don’t really need much else. However, the river is shallow and suited for river play and fishing. However, its quite rocky so river shoes are advised. It is the Komori River. Beautiful clear water, it looked good enough to drink, but with the nearest big hospital around 45 minutes away I wasn’t taking any chances! (There is another 30 minutes away, but has fixed hours).
There is little to no phone reception. Of eight adults – 7 with smart phones, 1 with a garakei – I was the only one that had a signal. I am with Softbank, but so is my husband (garakei!) and at least two others and they didn’t have phone reception either. Mine was the only Android Softbank and my wifi was strong! There were two others with an Android, but another cell phone provider. Could it be the Android + Softbank is the winning combination? Please do comment if you know – I am curious!
Nearby – sort of!
The nearest restaurant and shops are all around 30 minutes away by car. One really good spot is the Arakawa Roadside station. It takes just over 30 minutes and it has a small shop, a couple of restaurants, lots of fruit and vegetable picking and two hot springs! The famous Dahlia garden of Ryokami is also relatively ‘near’, also about 30 minutes in the car.
The only thing that is really nearby is the beautiful Marugami falls, which are around 30 minute on foot or a short drive from the campsite:
All the way to Chichibu the traffic was bumper to bumper. Until we turned into the Ryokami area. We didn’t see any other car or person until we passed the other campsite in the area. And shortly after that we surprisingly came across a hub of activity in an obscure place along the narrow ravine road. It turned out it was the pedestrian entrance into the area of Marugami falls.
The Kuroyama Santaki (the three waterfalls of Kuroyama) used to be featured in the top 100 waterfalls of Japan, but are no longer. Making Marugami falls the only waterfalls in Saitama with a coveted spot on that list. It flows from a stream on the chert rock Mt Ryokami. Marugami falls are 76 meter high three tiered waterfall. The town maintains a 1.5 kilometer walkway to the waterfall. It is a popular manageable hiking trail in unspoiled nature. The falls are beautiful all year round, but Autumn is recommended for the stunning leaf colors.
If you are visiting the falls in February or March it might be worth stopping at a nature preserve nearby. There is a natural Habitat of Setsubunso – one of the largest in Japan – at Dojo. It is relatively close to the waterfalls. Jun-zetsumetsu kigushu – near endangered Eranthis Pinnatifida – grow there from late February to early March. They look like a blanket of snow in full bloom. Please note Ryokami Sanroku Camping grounds are not open in winter and early spring.
We were particularly impressed by how well they catered to our large group. They were exceptionally accommodating and organized for the tent users among us to be near the cabin stayers. The early check in time of midday for both cabins and tents was another plus for this campsite. I also liked that you could buy leave your rubbish at the site by paying just 100 yen for a designated rubbish bag. Moreover I really appreciated that we could secure a booking for a group just days before silver week! If you are looking to book a campsite last minute this maybe a good place to try. It was warm enough to play in the river when we visited. But it is much cooler in Ryokami than mainland Saitama so the water was cold! Water play maybe nearly finished, but the Autumn leaves will be starting soon. There are dozens of maple trees on the grounds so I imagine it is beautiful. However, the campsite only opens until the end of October due to the cold.
|Ryokami Sanroku Camping Ground|
|Address:||5432 Ryokamikomori, Ogano, Chichibu District, Saitama 368-0202|
|Hours:||Check in 12 noon, check out 10.30 am|
|Season:||Golden week to the end of October|
|Cost:||From 4000 yen.|
Tent sites cost 4000 yen.
Cabins start from 8,000 yen.
Day camp costs 500 yen per person, plus 500 yen parking.
Amazingly there is a bus that passes by the campsite. A dinky little tourist bus! You can get a bus from either Chichibu Tetsudo Mitsumineguchi station or Seibu Chichibu Station. The bus stop is Shiroasuguchi 「白井差口」. The bus timetable here (Japanese language only).
By car: from the Hanazono Interchange of the Kan-Etsu Expressway take National Route 140 toward Chichibu. Take the Minano / Yorii Bypass (charged) to national Route 299 and on to the Ogano Bypass. Turn left at the “Kurokaido Bypass” signal onto Prefectural Road 37. At the “Komori” bus stop there is a Y-shaped road, take the ‘right’ for Shiroisasu and straight up to the campground. You pass another campground on the way on the left hand side, then the waterfalls and shortly after you will see the narrow bridge to the Ryokami Sanroku campgrounds. If you pass it there is a car park on the left you can pull into and do a u-turn.