Camping packages fit for a city slicker

May 27th, 2011 by Felicity Hughes

Your tent is ready, madam

Camping out under the stars on a summer night can be a magical experience: the fresh air, the scent of wood smoke, a collapsing tent . . .

OK, so that last one is a bit of a problem, but what if you didn’t have to pitch your own tent, or even light your own campfire? Recently many campsites have begun offering amateur campers hassle-free camping holidays, which include a pre-pitched tent as part of the package.

Qkamura (holiday village), for example, has a teburade kyampu (hassle-free camp) plan, which includes a tent and all the items necessary for an awesome barbecue (ingredients, seasoning, fuel, charcoal and BBQ pit). A one-night stay, which includes breakfast and dinner, is a reasonable ¥5,000 per adult.

Qkamura’s campsites are located near sightseeing spots and onsens but amusement parks are also getting in on the game. Resort Pleasure Forest amusement park, for instance, do a camping package that includes norihodai (a full day’s pass on all rides). Prices for breakfast, dinner and a pre-pitched tent start from ¥7,500 for adults and ¥6,800 children.

Our favorite plan though is the hime kyampu (princess camp) at Kitakaruizawa Sweet Grass campsite. Taking the hassle-free camping concept to another level, this is a butler service version of outdoor life for pampered city princesses: Throughout guests’ stay, “butlers” are available to cater to their every whim. Naturally, such service doesn’t come cheap: For a party of  three, prices range from ¥11,000 to ¥15,000. Sweet Grass also offers some native Indian-style tents to stay in, as well as cabins with a “Totoro” theme.

The trend is logical spinoff of an overall increase in interest in the great outdoors, which has been particularly strong among young women (see the yama girls trend). Packages are pitched at beginners who don’t want to be bothered with lugging around a tent and barbecue gear. Money Zine says these plans are increasing and the summer will see the trend heat up.

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