Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lake Biwa Camping

June 3, 2009

November 14, 15 and 16, 2008

In November, Julian and I decided to go on another camping trip. I was a little worried, because it was getting cold at that time, but I’m so happy we went, the weather was perfect. Before the trip, we purchased two light-weight sleeping bags and we had sleeping mats as well.

Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan. It is just north of Kyoto. Our original plan was to bike part way around the lake and camp along the way, but we couldn’t find much information on how to go about renting bikes and what area we could ride along. Instead, we went to an area on the lake called Makino. We camped at Makino Sunny Beach Campsite.

We arrived early in the evening, right before the campsite office was about to close. So, we rented a tent, a grill, and bought wood and drinks. We struggled with putting up our gigantic tent at night.

Julian got the fire going and we prepared our chicken and veggie kabobs. We were the only ones at the campsite that night and our tent was under some pine trees right next to the beach. It was great! Fortunately, it wasn’t that cold!

Our campsite looking out at the lake.

The next day, we made breakfast and some more campers arrived. We rented bikes from the campsite office. There was a beautiful bike path through rice fields, along a river and up into the mountains. Our destination was the nearby onsen (hot spring). It was a gorgeous fall day and the leaves were bright yellow and red!

The bike path.

A falcon

Fall is an important time in Japan, so we were lucky to be in a somewhat remote place enjoying the leaves. Usually, the more frequented places such as Kyoto are packed full of tourists fighting to see some leaves.

We got off the bike path and ended up on a big road with a line of gorgeous trees that were starting to turn yellow. As we biked along this road through the trees, we were surprised to see a number of photographers taking pictures at the other end of the trees.

We continued on to the onsen, which was at a ski resort. We had a wonderful soak and headed back to our campsite. On our way back, we saw wild monkeys!!! There was one in the road and we could see a group of them jumping and climbing around the trees.

There's a monkey in this picture. He's sitting on the road, but you can barely see him.

We made it back to our campsite and relaxed for the rest of the day. We made curry and rice for dinner and hung out by the lake. The next day we headed back to Himeji!

Camping Information:
Makino Sunny Beach Chinai-hama Camp-jo
Address: Chinai, Makino-cho, Takashima-gun
Contact: (074)027-0325
Open: all year round
Fee: Y2000 per site
Rental: Tent Y1500 - Y2000
Facilities: Restaurant, showers, water, toilets and cooking area
Activities: Lake Biwa; swimming, fishing, tennis
Getting There: 20-minute walk from Makino Station, Kosei Line
Note: A 7-minute walk from Makino Station, there is also Makino Sunny Beach Takagahama Camp-jo

There is a weblink for the above information on the right side of my blog under Accommodations: Camping in Japan-PDF File. Scroll down and look under the "Special Interests" section and click the "Camping in Japan" PDF file. It's listed as number 38.

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