Official campsites are good but many require prior booking and reception often closes at times too early for bike tourers(5-8pm). So I try to follow an unconfirmed law that I heard some time ago.
Camping on public reserve land is acceptable between the hours of sundown and sun up.
Have followed this rule in parks, at the beach, on a library’s front lawn and even in a clearing way off the side of a road. Also used a few times in Michi-no-ekis. When not in an authorized campground I don’t cook and am always packing up as soon as awake. Have often sleep past sun up and haven’t been heckled yet.
* Follow the rule of thumb above at your own peril
And when you look in the mapple and find the campsite mark, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is gonna be an open campground there. If it’s closed, I camp there anyway in protest and quote the mapple in defense when confronted (only once so far:)
Now where do I go camping? Check out these links
All over Japan – misses a lot but is a good general guide – PDF file –
Hokkaido – awesome link
Ishikawa – Campsite link
Autocamp – Campsites that allow cars and most times bikes
In Kanto – Free campsite near Chichibu up the Kanetsu. Have used it as a launch point for touring a few times. They have toilets there but it is a bit of a trek. Acrtoss the river on the 140 are many restuarants, combinis and 24/7 fuel stations. Just around the corner on the 254 is a combini and there is a JA just up the road too.
Great start for the next morning is this section
The best planned, kept and equipped campsite I have ever seen. Sure there are more out there but this one was amazing. Just forget the name Ｗｅランド
Oh yeah it is on Notojima