Kei Saito: on Japan’s secret campsite 

Japanese brand Snow Peak make the best camping gear in the world. Minimalist fire pits. Coolly understated tents. Earth-toned apparel. All of it functional and quietly beautiful, all of it built to last. We talked to their main man in Europe, Kei Saito, on his favourite off-the-beaten-track campsite in Japan.

My favourite place is a campsite near a small town called Tosashimizu in the Kochi Prefecture in the far south of Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. It takes six hours to drive from Osaka – but it’s worth it. It’s right on the beach and its location means that it gets hit by the Kuroshio current from the Pacific that brings super-clear waters and lots of incredible sea life. When I’ve been snorkelling there, I’ve seen turtles and eagle rays. And the bay is brilliant for fishing, particularly skipjack tuna, but also mackerel, snapper and squid. The scuba-diving mecca of Kashiwa Island is only half an hour away. The waters are famous for their incredible visibility, which means you get amazing views of the incredible coral, which is home to rays and sharks and all kinds of tropical fish. The campsite is framed by some beautiful mountains, which are great for hiking and if you don’t fancy camping, there are little air-conditioned huts that you can rent. 

It’s also a great part of the country to eat and drink. They get through a lot of sake and shochu down there, but the real draw is the bonito fish, which is the best in Japan. There aren’t any fancy restaurants. If you want to eat out, you just go to the local pubs, but they all serve bonito sashimi the traditional way: fire-seared on the outside over burning rice straw, which makes it wonderfully smoky. But they do it quickly so it’s still raw in the middle, then you dip it in citrusy ponzu sauce. It’s delicious. 


Visit Snow Peak’s London store at 16a Regent Street; uk.snowpeak.com/pages/store-london

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