Ibaraki hopes camping boosts local economy amid pandemic

Kyodo -- Nov 02
Camping in Japan has gained newfound appeal amid the coronavirus pandemic as an outdoor activity that a wide range of generations can enjoy while maintaining social distancing.

Many might think camping sites are mostly far from big cities, but Ibaraki Prefecture, just northeast of Tokyo, has more sites than any other prefecture in Japan.

When a survey by the Japan Sports Agency for the fiscal year through March 2019 was released, Ibaraki had 163 camping sites, followed by Hokkaido (147), Nagano Prefecture (143) and Hiroshima Prefecture (102).

Ibaraki, with sites reachable within a few hours from Tokyo by car, provides a rich outdoor environment, with sea, mountains, rivers and lakes.

Fresh seafood is another specialty of Ibaraki. At a camping site in Oarai, one of the most popular sites in the prefecture, visitors can feast on seafood from a nearby fish market.

Ibaraki has launched an official website specializing in camping, called Ibaraki Camp (https://ibaraki-camp.jp/). It allocated 22 million yen ($210,500) in a supplementary budget this past June to attract visitors to local camping sites.

- Kyodo