SUBMITTED BY HYLA ERNST

We spent last Memorial Day weekend in Nagato with a few friends and their families, combining both our desire to spend time with friends before PCS-ing and sightseeing at the same time. We spent two nights at the campground on Omijima, half of us in cabins and half of us in tents.

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Getting there took roughly 2 1/2 hours, exiting the expressway in Mine (same exit as Safari Land, Kagekiyodo Cave, Akidoshido Cave, Fossil Collecting, etc) and following directions on Google Maps using the phone number provided below. Once we arrived at the campground (look for the sign above), we paid for parking (500 yen per day) and went to check-in at the office. The man below speaks a little bit of English and can direct you where you need to go. From the parking lot, it is about a 2-3 minute walk to the campground. The office has several wheelbarrows for hauling gear.

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The campground only allows reservations for cabins (starting at 7000 yen per night). Tent sites are first-come-first-served.  The staff is very friendly and was very patient with us despite the language barrier.  When we went in May, before the beginning of Japanese camping season, there were really only about five feasible camping spots: three platform spots (3000 yen per night) and two ground spots (2000 yen per night).  The rest of the spots up the hill were completely overgrown.

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Photo: Amanda Oehrlein

We really enjoyed the view and the breeze from our camping spot. Keep in mind:  there are no steps leading up to these platforms, you simply have to climb up the hill.  Also, the spots are not meant for larger tents.  Our 6 man tent in the picture, without attaching the vestibule, took up all of the available space.

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Above is the view from our tent.

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The beach isn’t a sandy beach and when we went, there was a lot of small debris mixed in with the pebbles.  Definitely not a barefoot beach!  The kids found some nice shells and squid “bones” (not actual bones, obviously, but the gladius).  They also enjoyed climbing up the rocky cliff to the side of the beach.

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Photo: Amanda Oehrlein

 

To the right in the picture above are the cabins that our friends stayed at.  Each comes with its own picnic table below.  The cabins were mostly bare inside, but they had electricity.

Photo: Teresa Rosencrantz

Photo: Teresa Rosencrantz

Per campground policy, cooking is allowed only in the kitchen, on the beach (or on the steps), and in designated fire pits.  The staff is very strict about enforcing this rule. It is 1500 yen per day to rent the BBQ pit (you get a metal grate and a pair of tongs), but you can bring your own grill.  Since the campground was virtually empty except for our group and a few after-hour visitors, we were able to spread out and use other BBQ pits to build a fire as well.

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There is an indoor kitchen with gas stoves and sinks.

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Dogs are allowed at the campground as long as they are leashed. They are not allowed inside of the cabins, however.

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The campground has a short nature trail that goes up to a view point.  It was beautiful at sunset!

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During the day, starting from around noon, there was a red algae bloom.  It’s a naturally occurring phenomenon, but it was definitely surreal to see the entire cove turn red! I’m not sure if this is a seasonal thing (probably is?) or a year-long thing.

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Photo: KC Humphries

When the water is clear though, this area is perfect for diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddle boarding. In fact, there is a dive shop at this location, with gear rental for various water activities.

campground

Photo: Teresa Rosencrantz

What I really liked about this campground is the number of water activities available. Adam and I both dive, and I wish we had known about this campground last summer.   Here’s some info I found on diving on Omijima.   The location is great for sightseeing in Nagato as well.  Here are the the places we visited.

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Boat tour around Omijima, terminal about 10 minutes away. Website.

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Motonosumi Inari Shrine, about a 30 minute drive.  Google Maps.

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Terraced Rice Paddy, one of Japan’s top 100 most scenic.  About ten minutes away from the Motonosumi Inari Shrine.  Google Maps.

omijima-5Mara Kanon fertility shrine in Tawarayama.  About 30 minutes away from the campsite.  Google Maps.  In addition to the places we visited, there are several onsens nearby as well as other attractions.  For more information, check out this link.

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Final thoughts.  While we certainly had a memorable weekend and had fun with our friends and their families, it was definitely one of the rougher camping trips we’ve done (hauling gear, squatty potties, going three days without showers because the shower room only had cold showers, etc).   I would recommend this campsite for those looking for places with water activities (diving, snorkeling, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc). For families looking for a sandy beach to play on, I recommend trying other beach campsites in the area or head up towards Hamada.

Address:  2059-1 Senzaki, Nagato, Yamguchi 759-4106

Phone Number:  0837-26-4023

Check-in:  1:00 PM

Check-out:  10:00 AM

Cost:  Camping (2000 – 3000 yen), Cabins (starting from 7000 yen)

Facilities:  Restrooms (squatty potties near the campsite, western toilets near the parking lot/dive shop), shower (300 yen for 3 mins, cold shower only).  BBQ pits, picnic tables, dive shop, gear rental, nature trail.

Trash:  Sort into combustibles (separated into yellow bags obtained from the office), glass (dark and light colored bottles), and PET bottles (caps off and plastic labels off).  Glass and bottles are sorted into bins in the trash area across from the restrooms.

Website:  http://omijima.net/

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