Kagawa is a great prefecture to visit since it can be conveniently accessed from the Kansai area or Okayama. It’s Japan’s smallest prefecture and is home to the beautiful Ritsurin garden, historic temples which are part of the 88 temple pilgrimage route and the most delicious udon noodles in Japan!
If you are planning on enjoying van life in Kagawa or staying overnight in your car, there are many wonderful free overnight spots.
In this blog post we will recommend our favourite 5 places that we stayed!
This list will include a combination of roadside stations, campsites and random locations. The places we list will also be spread out over the whole of Kagawa prefecture so that if you are planning a 5 day trip, you can use each location while exploring the entire prefecture.
When staying overnight, there are always two important factors which we look for in addition to the place being free of charge.
- Toilets (if they are clean, then that is a huge bonus)
- Running water
Other factors that we like but are not necessary:
- Nearby Onsen
- Nearby Amenities (for example: supermarket or convenience store)
- Nice View
1. Genpeinosatomure Rest Area
This is a well-equipped roadside station located beside a nice park. It has a restaurant, a shop selling local food, clean bathrooms and vending machines. In the park, there is an old train carriage and a jungle gym.
The park seemed to be popular in the morning with many locals who were out walking or jogging. There were 3 other camper vans when we stayed here so it seems to be a popular stop for people who stay overnight in their vehicle.
2. Mineyama Park Camping Ground
This is a park and campground located at the top of a hill on the outskirts of Takamatsu city. It takes around 10 minutes to reach the top of the hill after driving up a long and windy road. The park at the top of the hill is lovely and has a nice campground and viewpoint.
We were there on the weekend and it was a very popular place with families. Before reaching the park, there is a flat car park which is a good spot to stay overnight since there are toilets.
It is usually tricky to find a free place to park near a city, so this is a good place to stay near Takamatsu city.
3. Chichibugahama Beach
Chichibugahama Beach is a really popular spot in Kagawa for watching the sunset and taking photos. When the tide is out, pools of water form on the beach and beautiful photos can be taken due to the reflections showing in the water.
There are two free car parks near the beach with clean toilets. Most people head home after watching the sunset but we had no issues spending the night here and then leaving in the morning.
4. Ichinomiya Koen Nai Camping Ground
This is a park with a campground located on the outskirts of a town. We liked it due to it being near the sea so you can take a nice walk down to the seafront and admire the view.
There are two flat car parks which are both suitable for staying the night. There are clean toilets available and water for washing dishes within the park/campground.
5. Hōnen'ike Dam
Hōnen’ike Dam was built in 1926 and is very impressive! There are two parking areas which could both be suitable for staying overnight.
One of the parking areas is down a road which goes inside the dam and the other car park is at the top of the dam. We stayed at the top of the dam since the toilets were very close by and easy to access.
We hope this blog post was helpful for those of you who are planning van life in Kagawa prefecture. We absolutely loved Kagawa (especially all the delicious udon noodles) and can’t wait to return again someday.