After purchasing the biggest vehicle we have ever owned, Nissan Serena, for a completely different purpose to Vanlife, I began to think what’s like to stay in the car while travelling. Then came across the term Vanlife and decided to explore what others are doing.
When I started to research where we could go, in terms of places to park the car to stay for the night in Japan, there were very little information on the net. Even tried to find some books on this but had no luck so far.
So we have decided to document where we travel, comment on the places we have stayed to create Vanlife information for travellers coming to Tokyo.
As for the first time, we have decided to go somewhere close to Tokyo, Kamakura, Kanazawa Prefecture. It’s only about 60km from where we are based, Nishiogikubo (Tokyo), where our car is parked.
One of the best part of Vanlife in my opinion is to reduce cost of travelling.
To do that, we have decided to travel at night on Friday after work. This usually avoids traffic getting to the destination and depends on where you are going, we can avoid using highways and toll roads to reduce cost.
Avoiding highways of cause means takes little longer to get to the destination.
So it was time for us to eat and prepare for the journey.
When it comes to Nishiogikubo, there is no shortage of great local dine out spots. This time, we have decided to go to Ryozanpaku.
It’s a Ramen/Chinese place and they are famous for their fried rice with sticky meat sauce called Niku-Anakake Fried Rice.
We have tried this last time so this time, we have decided to go with Ramen with similar sticky meat sauce on top. Both of us really enjoyed what we have ordered and definitely prepared us for the drive ahead.
This place is recommend as they have parking spot, which is unusual for small place like this but it tends to get busy after 7pm so better to get there early to avoid the cue for the carpark.
After filling ourselves up with delicious Ramen, filled up the car with gas.
We always choose self serving gas stations whenever we can as it tends to be cheaper. As you have to put cash in first before being able to fill up, you usually put more money than you think you need in first as once the gas is full in your car, you get your change back (of course).
This time, I just put 5,000 yen in for the trip.
The navigation was telling us that it would take about 1 hour and 50 min to get to Kamakura, so the journey began towards Kamakura. The route was taking us though Yokohama, then down to Kamakura from there.
At Yokohama, we have decided to stop for a coffee to have little break from driving and as a bathroom stop. It was approaching 9 pm so chose the easy option, Starbucks.
At this Starbucks, we picked up this children’s book called The Missing Piece by Shel Silverstein. It is a little adventure book about life to discover missing piece in life to fill. It was simple but really deep.
The funny thing is, the reason for us getting interested in Vanlife was to find or fill the missing piece in our lives.
We both work and live in Tokyo and both running our own business.
After discovering Vanlife, we thought this was a perfect solution for giving us relaxing time, travel and work cost effectively. As work is very important for both and is basically our lives, being able to work in a different environment, waking up by the lake, mountains or new city and just work anywhere looked appealin