If you are looking for a place to escape, ideally on a remote island and ideally involving a remote beach, then you might want to check out Sobama Campground on Sado Island.
This beach that stretches out for several kilometers along the southwestern side of Sado Island is said to be the island’s BEST amongst Sado’s ten swimming beaches.
If you are up for more adventure and less comfort, then drive past the hotels, inns and pensions that you will also find on Sado and instead pitch your tent at the beach. A great swim all day long, a nice place for a barbeque with friends or family and an excellent sunset awaiting you.
You don't need to be fully equipped with camping gear to enjoy a stay at Sobama Campground. There are rental tents available which will be put up for you upon reservation with the Sobama Campground office. There are 4-person tents and 6-person tents for rental and their rental fees are very reasonable: 1,700 yen/night for the former and 2,500 yen/night for the latter. In addition, there comes a cleaning and service fee per person (adults: 300 yen; children aged 3 to 11 150 yen).
Of course, you may also bring your own tent but you still need to register with the campground office before pitching your tent. The tent site fee for your own tent is 600 yen/night for a 1-person tent, or 1,200 yen/night for a 2-person or more person tent. In addition comes the afore-mentioned cleaning and service fee per person. It truly can't get any cheaper than that!
To ensure safety for swimmers and water lovers, a Shinto Safety Prayer Ceremony is held at Sobama and all the other swimming beaches on Sado. Well, if this does not assure you, then let me tell you that they have the conventional safety measures at beaches, like a lifeguard station and wave-break enclosures, in place too.
The campground is right by the beach, just a small road and some bushes separate the two. Some of the tents are under the shade of trees if you prefer it less hot. Of course, there are shower and toilet facilities and a small cafeteria where you can buy ice cream, soft drinks and beer, hot ramen or a sandwich. It is manned by an ever-friendly elderly lady who keeps the cafeteria open later in the evening if there is demand for her services.
This campground is only a short car or bus ride from Ogi Town where in August each year Kodo taiko drummers and their guests enjoy the Earth Celebration, a taiko and music festival that attracts droves of taiko fans from Japan and from around the world.
During the three days of the festival a round-trip bus makes a number of trips between Sobama campground and the EC Information Centre in Ogi.
During other times, it is best to have your own means of transportation, be it a car, a motorbike or a bicycle. A parking area for cars and motorbikes is nearby. The bicycle can be parked right by your tent.
The big minus of Sobama Beach Campground is that they are open for business for only one month, roughly from July 15 to August 20.
Well, there is always next season when you can start your day with a refreshing swim in the sea and finish it with a barbeque while watching the sunset at Sobama.
- Sobama Campground Office
Tel: 0259-86-2363 (Japanese only)
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Celebrating my 10th year anniversary in Japan in May 2018, the country that I call home now. I lived in crazy Tokyo for 6 years and since 2011 I call the Kii Peninsula (Kumano, Koyasan and Yoshinoyama) my home. I have visited all 47 prefectures of Japan and for the last 4 years I have worked as a guide for foreign visitors. My special interest is in Japanese nature and spirituality. I love spending time in the forest and mountains and I love visiting temples and shrines. I am also a licensed guide for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails and for Koyasan, the Buddhist monastery, in addition to being a practitioner and guide for Shinrin Yoku (Forest Therapy). In recent years I have taken visitors to walk the Kumano Kodo trails, the Nakasendo trail, the 88 temple pilgrimage trail around Shikoku Island and to Dewa Sanzan, the three sacred mountains in Yamagata Prefecture. If you look for nature and spirituality in your trip to Japan, then Wakayama, Nara and Yamagata Prefectures are ideal places to get started!