Sohara Lakeside: Summertime Glamping-style Foodcamp in Urabandai!

Date(s): August 20 (Sun.)

Genta Kanemitsu is the proud owner of the Bandai Lakeside Garden, a campsite at a wonderful location known for its reflection of the towering Mount Bandai on the surface of Lake Sohara (Sohara-ko). It has been 17  years since the beauty of the nature of the Urabandai-area made him settle down here. Having developed a deeper love for the area than maybe even the average original resident, Kanemitsu’s nature walks that show off what Urabandai has to offer are a fantastic way to gain peace of mind.

In charge of the cuisine is chef Matsuoka of Restaurant L-Marl. We can’t wait to find out what Chef Matsuoka – whose culinary range and heart are about the size of Mt. Bandai – has in store for our guests. Come enjoy this glamping-style edition of FoodCamp at the cool and refreshing lakeside north of Mt. Bandai.

Bandai Lakeside Garden -
Restaurant L-Marl -

This tour is no longer offered.
A report is being prepared.


  • Enjoy Urabandai and Lake Sohara to the fullest!

    Urabandai and Omotebandai, respectively the back and front (or north and south side) of Mt. Bandai have very distinct, beautiful facades. The rough side of the mountain, due to its eruption, as well as the resulting lakes and forests make for a view right out of a picture book. At an altitude of 825m, the Urabandai Highlands having a welcome climate for hot summer days.

  • Enjoy your time the way you want with various activities!

    For this tour, we are planning five different activities. How to spend time before lunch is all up to you! The offered activities are listed below.

  • A French lunch course, with all of Urabandai's goodness!

    From watershield (junsai) to summer strawberries, large raddhish, runner beans and various herbs, the Urabandai highlands offer a wealth of wonderful ingredients. Get a taste of the ingredients carefully selected on-site by chef Matsuoka while preparing for this tour, skillfully incorporated into a French course lunch.


For this Urabandai Summer Glamping-style FoodCamp tour we have prepared 5 different activities. How to spend time before lunch is all up to you!


❊ This activity may be cancelled in the event of bad weather. Please be sure to bring a hat, a towel, etc., as well as comfortable walking shoes and clothing.


❊ There are single- and two-person kayaks available. When reserving, please note the number of people per kayak.

❊ For the kayaking activity, there will be staff available to help you get on and off the kayak, but please operate the kayak yourself. As there will not be any instructors available, we urge people with experience to join (or for first-timers to join together with someone with experience).

❊ There is a chance your clothes will get wet. Please wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet (and an extra set of clothes), as well as comfortable shoes.


❊ In case of good weather, the workshop will take place at the lake shore, but elsewhere in the event of bad weather.

❊ There will be herbal tea and other herb-goods available for purchase. Enjoy a leisurely time in the moss grove surrounded by the aroma of herbs!


❊ For those who want to take it easy: enjoy a wonderful piano performance, accompanied by an alcoholic beverage or herbal tea.



Important points:

❊ For those interested in joining the non-free activities, please state which activity when placing your reservation.

❊ For the kayaking activity, there will be staff available to help you get on and off the kayak, but please operate the kayak yourself. As there will not be any instructors available, we urge people with experience to join (or for first-timers to join together with someone with experience). There are single- and two-person kayaks available. There is a chance your clothes will get wet. There are showers and changing rooms on-site.

❊ For those joining the nature walk or kayaking activity, please wear clothes that cover your whole body (with shorts/short sleeve  shirts you run the risk of being stung by insects), and comfortable shoes.

❊ In principle, all activities take place outside. Bringing a hat, a towel, etc. is recommended.


Drawn by the nature of Urabandai Owner, Bandai Lakeside Garden - Genta KANEMITSU
Genta Kanemitsu is the proud owner of the Bandai Lakeside Garden, a campsite at a wonderful location known for its reflection of the towering Mount Bandai on the surface of Lake Sohara (Sohara-ko). It has been 17 years since the beauty of the nature of the Urabandai-area made him settle down here.

Drawn by a magnificent scenery

Genta Kanemitsu was born in Tokyo. During his 20s, he was working in Tokyo, but had a latent desire to leave the big city. His first visit to Urabandai came about from an offhand comment by a colleague who told him about Urabandai. It was fall, and Urabandai’s turning leaves, and the scenery of rich forests and lakes left a deep impression. Next spring, he quit his job and departed for Urabandai, without even finding a house in advance. He started working for a hotel in Urabandai, and afterwards ran a pension, which finally led him to become the owner of camping facility Bandai Lakeside Garden.

Who could blame Kanemitsu for settling down here, seeing the light through the grove hit the almost carpet-like soft moss ground, and the amazing view of Mt. Bandai. In order for guests to enjoy their time at the campsite with peace of mind, Kanemitsu divided the site into five parts, to ensure enough space and a quiet environment.

Life in Urabandai

The area around Lake Sohara, located at an altitude of 825m, might seem like a difficult environment to settle for someone from Tokyo. However, Kanemitsu refutes that, having first boarded in a pension, and then lived in a hotel dorm, before ending up in his current place. The most difficult time, though, are the winters, which exceeded his expectations. With temperatures of -15℃, mornings when he has to start his commute by treading the long road from his house to his car on snow shoes, and of course frozing water pipes, life in this Snow Country proved to be a baptism-like experience. Nonetheless, thanks to his gained experience to deal with any situation, and with a good deal of inventiveness, Kanemitsu manages to live a comfortable life.

A FoodCamp regular?

Although this is the first edition of FoodCamp with Kanemitsu as a member of the main cast, we have actually had the honor of working with him many times before. For example, Kanemitsu cooperated when we received an offer from a wedding planner to facilitate an outdoor wedding. Also, he hosted an event that showcased the Aizu area.

This edition of FoodCamp will take place in August, the heart of summer. We hope that all our guests will enjoy the cool climate of Urabandai and its wonderful atmosphere, as well as Kanemitsu’s kind hospitality!

Expressing the character of ingredients and their producers, as well as the location Chef, Restaurant L-marl - Tadashi MATSUOKA
Nobody enjoys FoodCamp as much as Chef Matsuoka, a specialist of French cuisine and disciple of the Japan Escoffier Society. He is ready to raise the bar for this glamping-style FoodCamp, by showing off his skill with all of the natural splendor the majestic Urabandai area has to offer.
写真:Tadashi MATSUOKA

Visiting, seeing, hearing, tasting

On a June day, at the start of the rainy season, the FoodCamp team headed out to Urabandai together with Chef Matsuoka. At every producer we visited, the chef would waste no time before crouching down, looking at the products, asking questions, and of course having a taste. This is  common practice for Chef Matsuoka. Often with a sense of joy, sometimes with a straight, serious expression on his face, in deep thought.

It has already been 5 years since Chef Matsuoka’s first FoodCamp. Right from the start, he thought FoodCamp was a ‘fun project.’ When the chef is enjoying himself, even more so than our own staff, he becomes the life of the party. Beyond just the taste of the meal, chef Matsuoka manages to entertain the guests through his careful composition of the menu, and an array of subtle, original ideas.

A wealth of delicious ingredients, from highland vegetables to herbs

This time too, Chef Matsuoka took time out of his extremely busy schedule to actively discover this edition’s location. Together, we visited farmers and producers of ingredients like watershield, to highland vegetables and summer strawberries. At every farm, the chef looked more excited than ever before.

At the watershield farm, he crouched down at the pond and extended his hand into the water, in order to find this strange herb, covered in a layer of translucent gel. He felt the texture, and had a chat with the local ladies busy harvesting it. At the summer strawberry farm, he tasted strawberries in their various stages of ripening; some with a soft gentle color, some still distinctly white. All this is done to ensure that the chef understands the characteristics of the ingredients, so as to express them properly on the menu for the day.

The producer as the deciding factor

According to the chef, casual conversations with farmers and producers reveal many valuable bits of information. Why is this farm located here? What are the farming methods? How are the products usually enjoyed? The chef makes a point out of carefully listening to the farmers.

Chef Matsuoka had a long career as a hotel chef, meaning he is used to providing meals in formal settings. But FoodCamp allows him to arrange his cuisine in a more casual way, that expresses the local  area and its charms. Be it the scenery, or the personality of the featured farmer, the chef goes to far lenghts to find a way to express it through his cuisine.

This will be a glamping-style edition of FoodCamp at the shore of Lake Sohara. We are convinced that Chef Matsuoka will find a way to entertain us, and create such a comfortable, fun time that our guests won’t want to go home anymore.

Tour Schedule

  1. Pick-up / Meeting Place

    8:40 a.m.

    Pick-up by taxi (Koriyama Kanko Kotsu Taxi) from your house or place of stay in Koriyama, or at Koriyama Station. We will inform you of your pick-up time one day before the tour.
    *For those scheduled for pick-up at Koriyama Station, please arrive at Koriyama Station by 8:30.

  2. Let's go!

    9:10 a.m.

    Departure for the tour site, from the Magonote Travel Asaka Office.
    * Those coming to the Office directly, please arrive by 9:00 (limited parking available).

  3. Arrival at the Urabandai Sight Station, departure for the Nature Walk

    10:20 a.m.

    Those opting to join the Nature Walk (+/- 90min.) get off here! Afterwards, you will head to the FoodCamp-site. People opting to join other activities, please remain seated.

  4. Arrival at Bandai Lakeside Garden, start lakeside activities

    10:30 a.m.

    The view Urabandai from Bandai Lakeside Garden, today's FoodCamp-site, is like one from a picture book. The well-maintained moss garden has a wonderful atmosphere. Here, you can join a range of activities, to spend the time until lunch to your own leisure.

    1) Kayaking
    (¥2200 per person, limited to 6 groups or 8 people, prior reservation required. +/- 90 min.)
    2) Herb Workshop by Bandia
    (¥1500 per person. Prior reservation required.)
    3) Piano Concert (Free)
    4) Drinks by the Campfire Bar
    (drinks charged cash on-site)

  5. Lunch: Lakeside Dining

    12:30 p.m.

    Enjoy a lunch course full of the wonderful ingredients Urabandai has to offer, such as highland vegetables and herbs. Chef Matsuoka is in charge of the lunch. This specialist of French cuisine is sure to provide an inspired and joyful course lunch, that is sure to satisfy everyone.

  6. Piano Concert

    14:40 p.m.

    Enjoy a live piano concert by jazz pianist Shimpei Sato, who manages to hit just the right notes to go with the summer lakeside atmosphere. Perfect as an after-lunch delight.

  7. Departure from FoodCamp-site

    15:00 p.m.

    All good things come to an end. Wave farewell to the view of Urabandai before heading back to Koriyama. But not without making a brief stop at the Inawashiro Roadside Station for a bathroom break, and the perfect opportunity for some souvernir shopping.

  8. Arrival at the Magonote Travel Asaka Office

    16:45 p.m.

    After arriving at the Magonote Travel Asaka Office, you will be brought by taxi to your home or place of stay in Koriyama City, or to Koriyama Station.
    *For those planning further travel by public transportation please prepare an itinerary from 17:15 forward.

Tour details

August 20 (Sun.)
Per person ¥18,700
Optional activity (Kayaking) ¥2,200
Optional activity (Herbs Workshop) ¥1,500
Same price applies for children/participants arriving by own transportation
*same rate applies for children/participants travelling to the venue directly with their own vehicle.
What to wear/bring
・This tour takes place outdoors. In case of clear skies, please prepare a hat or cap to protect you from the sunlight.
・Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
・In order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, please wear a mask.
Conditions of Participation
Participation open to everyone over elementary school-age, and able to participate on their own (no need for accompaniment by a care helper, or with permission from a doctor). Same price for adults and children.
Operating Company
Koriyama Kanko Kotsu K.K.
Tour Operator
Magonote Travel's own staff will accompany the tour.
Payment Method
Please refer to "How To Apply" for more information.
Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is required for all tours, in case of accidents and emergencies. The insurance fee is included in the price. For this reason, we need to ask for your date of birth.
Cancellation Fee
The following cancellation fees will be charged for tours with lodging and tickets: 20 to 8 days in advance: 20%, 7 to 2 days in advance: 30%, the day before the tour: 40%, on the scheduled date before the tour starts: 50%, no-show without notice: 100%.
For one-day tours, the following fees will be charged retroactively from the day before the start of the tour: 10 to 8 days in advance: 20%, 7 to 2 days in advance: 30%, 1 day in advance: 40%, on the scheduled date before the tour starts: 50%, no-show without notice: 100%.
In case of bad weather
The tour will not be cancelled in case of bad weather. However, in case the tour has to be cancelled due to a natural disaster, you will be informed one day before the tour. In this case, you will receive a full refund.
Minimum number of participants
If there are fewer than 15 participants the tour will be cancelled. In such case we will inform you at least 4 days in advance.
Terms and Conditions of Travel
Please visit the ‘Terms and Conditions of Travel'-page.
Other points of caution
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we ask all guests to fill in a health-check form beforehand. We will send you the details after we have received your application. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


How to apply

  1. Applications for the tour

    Please submit information (including the tour you wish to join, tour date, your full name, address, date of birth, participant phone number), and apply via fax or online.Payment may be made by credit card from our website or by bank transfer.

    Apply via fax


    Apply online

    Please click on the “Tour sign up” button at the bottom of the tour page.

  2. Delivery of guidebook

    A guidebook will be sent by email within few days.

  3. Payment confirmation

    Your booking will be confirmed when payment for the tour has been received. Please pay within 15 days of application.

  4. Final confirmation

    The tour conductor will email you on the day prior to the tour and provide information regarding taxi pick-up times.

  5. Tour day

    A taxi will go to your house or Koriyama Station. In addition, the conductor will provide you with a guidebook (guide leaflet for the day).

Contact us

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Photo: Food Camp's Blue Sky Restaurant