National

Camping becoming more popular in Japan as options, including ‘glamping,’ increase

JIJI

With various new camping options available, camping is regaining popularity in Japan after a mid-1990s boom led by the country’s first baby boomers, who were born in the late 1940s.

The new options include “glamping,” or glamorous camping, which offers luxury tent stays without the need to bring any camping gear or food, as well as solo camping. Conventional family camping is also popular.

An increasing number of businesses are starting to make and sell related products, expecting further growth in the camping market.

According to an estimate by the Japan Auto Camping Federation, the number of people who made car-camping trips in 2017 rose for the fifth consecutive year to 8.4 million.

About 20 percent of the total were beginners with less than a year of camping experience, the federation said.

The current camping boom is led by so-called second baby boomers — those born in the early 1970s.

“People enjoy camping in diverse ways,” posting photographs of their trip on social media and going camping in winter, a federation official said.

The official hopes the spread of camping to a wider segment of the population, which was not seen during the previous boom, will help maintain its popularity.

Glamping, which provides campers with all the necessary gear and amenities, is growing rapidly and becoming popular among beginners. Glamping campers can stay in a tent that has been already set up with furniture inside, as if staying in a hotel.

In June last year, outdoor gear seller Snow Peak Inc. opened a glamping facility in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, in collaboration with railway operator Keikyu Corp. Snow Peak, based in Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture, is also stepping up the development of special products for glamping.

Newcomers are piling into the camping goods market.

Sanyo Shokai Ltd., a long-established apparel-maker, launched its first outdoor clothing brand, 5LAKES&MT, in the spring of this year. Meanwhile, sports goods retailer Alpen Co. opened a store specializing in outdoor goods in Kasugai, Aichi Prefecture, at the end of April.

The store has attracted many customers from outside Aichi. President Atsushi Mizuno says the outlet is “doing very well.”

The company plans to open more stores in the future.