Best 4 Spots To Fly Your Drone This Summer Near Tokyo
The end of Japan’s rainy season (“tsuyu”) is approaching and I have been dying to take my Mavic out for a proper fly without having to worry about getting struck by lightning, or worse, damaging my drone. Like cats, drones don’t like water. I learned this the hard way a few months ago when I crashed my baby directly into the mouth of a waterfall.
Finally I am packing my bags for a summer of epic travel which has not yet been fully planned out. I’ll start by pitching a tent in Nikko somewhere and then make my way from there. That’s just how I roll.
For now I’ve gathered a list of the most popular spots this summer that are drone friendly (safety first!) and have been highly rated by both Japanese locals as well as travelers. We’ve added these spots to our drone map on the homepage so, make sure to check it out. Don’t own a drone? Rent one from us and get going!
Here we go.
#1: Okutama (おくたま地域振興財団)
Okutama is located in western Tokyo and is a green oasis ripe with lakes, rivers, waterfalls, hiking trails, and camping. It’s one of our favourite hiking spots during summer as well as a popular family spot. We recommend packing a lunch and when you get there renting a bicycle at Trekkling near Okutama station. The “floating bridge” is about a 2 hour bike ride from the station which gives you a great view of the lake as well as a few places to get good drone footage, including the floating bridge itself.
Drone shooting is absolutely OK in Okutama and no permissions necessary. Just keep that bad boy under 150 meters! If you’re living in Tokyo this is a day or weekend trip. Shout out to Atsushi Matsumoto for making this great Okutama video of his weekend trip.
Getting there:: 1 hour and 40 minute train ride from Shinjuku station on the Ome Line straight to Okutama Station.
#2 Ren Village, Izu
This glamping spot is a badass getaway on a private island off the Izu Peninsula, a couple hours south west of Tokyo. You have to reserve a minimum of 4 spots for 1 day and book via their calendar online. It’s surprisingly not expensive (16,000 yen per person) considering you can reserve it for the whole day, and you get an entire island to yourself and your friend(s). Also free access to their tents, canoes, bathrooms and showers.
There’s an opportunity for some really great drone footage here. Hell, bring 5 drones — there’s nobody there to stop you!
Getting there: 2 hour car ride or 3 hour train ride from Tokyo. Take a shinkansen train from Tokyo Station and get off at Mishima Station (roughly hour). Transfer to the Izu Hakone railway all the way to Shunzenji Station ( 修善寺駅). Get off and take the West Izu Tokai Bus for about 80 minutes all the way to Takko Bus Stop (田子バス定). Get off and walk to the West Izu Takko Gyoko Port (西伊豆田子漁港). Take a 10 minute ferry boat to Ren Village. http://ren.villageinc.jp/index.html
#3 Lake Nozori, Gunma
Gunma prefecture in Japan is famous for being very, very green and having great natural hot springs (onsens). Lake Nozori is in the western gunma region and surrounded by campsites where you can pitch your tent, go canyoning, and check out one of of dozens of onsen in the area.
Make sure not to fly your drone over the onsen…eh, you know, because people are naked and that’s naughty. No but seriously, you’ll get arrested. Keep the drone around the lake and generally where you can see it and it should be fine.
Getting there: This one is tricky and you will most likely need to rent a car as there is no direct train/bus that goes to the lake. From Tokyo you can take the JR Agatsuma line from Shibuya station all the way to Naganoharakusatsuguchi Station. From there you’ll need to rent a car and make your way north to the Lake about 40 minutes.
#4 Mitsusuishi Kaigan, Kanagawa Prefecture, Ashigarashimo District. (三ツ石海岸)
Source: Atsushi Matsumoto
This bad boy is a cape at the mouth of the Izu Peninsula that stretches and winds in a big curve out to the sea. At one end of the cape there is a Shinto shrine and long rope connected across two of the rocks to ward off evil spirits.
There are are some camp spots nearby (type in “三ツ石海岸キャンプ場” into google search) so you can get in the sea, nature, and some good ol’ fashioned Japanese barbecue. Don’t forget your veggies… and your Phantom 4.
Getting there: A 2 hour train ride from Tokyo. Take the Yamanote line from Shibuya station to Shinagawa station. Transfer to the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen train to Atami Station, about a 40 minute ride. Board the Tokaido Line train (orange line) and get off at Manazuru station. Board the Manazurueki station Bus Stop towards the Cape and get off at Cape Manazuru. Get off and the cliffs are just a 2 minute walk away!