Japan's largest camping car fair, Japan Camping Car Show 2018 was held from 2nd to 4th February. A total of 330 vehicles were exhibited this year. Various types of motor home camping vehicles gathered, from a full-fledged mobile home that pull behind the car to the camping car which the car body itself was refurbished as accommodation space, nearly 70,000 fans visited the event in three days.

In Japan, the demand for camping cars was not high originally. Japanese do not have a habit of staying long in the resort area on a long vacation, and there are few facilities that can do motor home camping. However, in recent years, the number of cases where people who have retired spend the time to travel around Japan has increased, and along with that, the sales of camping cars are also growing. For the first time in 2016 the number of camping cars nationwide in Japan exceeded 100,000. Let's take a look at the car at the camping car show.

Popular simple type camping car which refurbished from wagon car


Speaking of the most elegant caravan, will be a mobile home. It is a large type of pulling "home" with wheels which are more than 3 tons by car. The second is the buses and heavy-duty trucks renovated as motor home camping. It also has the best facilities such as bedroom, living room, dining room, shower and toilet.

However, these are too large to run on a narrow Japanese road and it is also hard to secure a storage location. Camping car which is in demand in Japan is much smaller size. It is called Vancon (abbreviation of Vanconversion) which is refurbished cargo and wagon cars.

There is also small camping car of compact car


Various Vancon type models were exhibited at the venue. Compared with a large caravan, the interior is small, but it is tailored to a very luxurious and comfortable room by using Japanese-style space design, effectively utilizing the narrow space to the limit. Even mini cars, which are Japan's compact car standard, become excellent camping cars if handled by an excellent refurbishment manufacturer.

In addition, Nissan Motor was exhibiting a camping car which loaded a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 8 kWh at this show. Speaking of 8 kWh, it is the amount of electricity that can fully cover the electricity used over a night for a medium-sized house. It is possible to install air-conditioner in the car, to cool down in the summer, and to warm up comfortably in the winter.

Reasons to be camping car even it’s not equipped with toilet and shower

Many units sold in Japan, which is Vancon type camping car is not equipped with toilet and shower. Why is it recognized as a camping car even though without a comfortable equipment? There are situations peculiar in Japan.

First of all is toilet. There are many public toilets regardless of anywhere in Japan. There is road station (come with public parking lot type, public shopping center where special products such as agricultural products and folk crafts are sold, more than 1100 places nationwide), 24 hours convenience store, gas station, park etc., there is nothing to worry about toilet when driving in Japan. Given the trouble of cleaning, the necessity to equip a toilet in a car is low.


Then, how about shower? This is also one of the good facilities that you do not need in Japan because there are many hot springs in Japan. The author has many opportunities to drive through Japan, but most of the time, he decided to take a bath in a hot spring along the driving route. There are abundant varieties, from large forest hot springs in the mountain to hot springs with ocean view. It is much more fun than purposely using a shower at hotel or car.


For these reasons, camping cars equipped with a simple bed only are starting to get popular in Japan, which is simpler than ordinary Vancon (Vanconversion) type. "Shachu-haku (車中泊) = stay in a car" is a car model tailored to the travel style used only for moving and sleeping, and additional facilities is at most only television and heating. The price is very cheap as it only adds bed charges to ordinary car. This is also a product that seems to be Japanese style.

What do you think about Japanese camping cars that are small and convenient and carefully made? Please tell us your opinion.