You might not think of the beach as the first few destinations in Japan that you would want to add to your Japan itinerary, but you might want to reconsider. The city lights and culturally rich attractions are great and all, but can it beat a beach day out? Some are even wonderful spots for sunsets and sunrise — after all, it is the Land of the Rising Sun.
As soon as summer hits, you’ll see families and groups of friends crowding every beach in the country! From dipping in the waters to beat the heat and suntanning in the warm sun to beach sports and water activities, the whole stretch of shore will be full of excitement and fun.
Whether it is travelling down south during the colder seasons or packing a day bag for the seaside in summer, the Japanese love their beaches. Let’s take a look at the top beaches in Japan — both mainland and islands — as well a few Japanese beach etiquette.
Japan Mainland Japan Beaches
Not all of the people in Japan want to take days off work just for a day at the beach down south. Some just want a day trip to a nearby beach on the mainland. You might think it’s a substitute of the island beaches of the tropical Japan destinations, but you’ll be surprised at some of these being even more beautiful than you imagined!
What’s more, these mainland beaches are more accessible and some even offer things you won’t get on the Japan islands. Here are the top mainland beaches for your short day getaway from the bustling cities:
Kanagawa — Zushi Beach
Just around the corner from Kamakura in Kanagawa is the Zushi Beach. This is one of the most popular beaches in the area and the first choice for swimming, surfing and parasailing. If you’re in the city to visit the Budhha Statue, why not drop by this 600m long beachside for a leisurely stroll or sit?
If you’re lucky enough to get a clear sky on the day of the visit, be sure to stay till sunset. You’ll get to witness a spectacular view of Mt. Fuji as the sun sets behind its hilly bits.
Kanagawa — Yuigahama Beach
Source: Dick Thomas Johnson from flickr
Kanagawa is not far off from Tokyo, and if you find yourself in the area or looking for a beach to relax after a busy few days in the city, head down to Yuigahama Beach. This is the perfect choice for those looking for both relaxation as well as convenience in a beach spot. Yuigahama Beach is close enough to the nearest train station and fully equipped with pop-up stalls of food and drinks for your pleasure.
It’s only natural to assume a beach so developed would be less of nature and more commercial. Rest assured Yuigahama Beach is the perfect balance of serenity in nature and modernity.
This beach spot is one of the favourite local choices for surfing as well, depending on the currents and tides. Plan your days accordingly to enjoy the best of what this beach can offer!
Shizuoka — Miho Beach
Source: south from flickr
Don’t want to travel too far out of Tokyo? Perhaps a car ride to Mizo Beach in Shizuoka will satisfy your beach day cravings. This beach is unique in the sense where you won’t be getting a normal seaside view — you’ll be getting an Mt. Fuji view!
Miho Beach is not your average sandy sand beach — it is rather pebbly in comparison. But a lie down on the sand isn’t what the visitors are here for. The stunning view amidst the tall pine trees and other beautiful flora nature makes the trip down here worthwhile. Grab your swimming suit — a dip in the sea with Mt. Fuji in the background sounds like an unbelievable experience!
Shizuoka — Toji Sand Ski Resort
Source: Izu navi from flickr
Even though it’s named as a resort, it’s not really one. Also in Shizuoka, not so far from Tokyo, is the Toji Sand Ski Resort! This is not your average beach. While you can still bring your beach mats, you might want to grab a sled as well (or rent one at a shop near the beach). This Toji Sand Ski Resort is one of the only few with a sand slope that you can sled down on as you take in the beautiful scenery.
After your sledding adventures and a dip in the waters, get your adventure on by exploring the nearby open cave called the Ryugukutsu. A trip to the Toji Sand Ski Resort will undoubtedly not be your average beach day in the best way possible!
Wakayama — Shirahama Beach
Take note that this is not the Shirahama Beach in Shizuoka that we’re talking about, this is the one in Wakayama! Named as the “white beach”, you expect it to be one of the most popular beaches in the country — and you’re right. This spot is one of the most ideal ones for both dipping and lounging, along with a wonderful resort area to spend a few nights in.
One thing this beach spot has that the others don’t is the oceanside onsen. After your dip in the steaming Japanese hot springs, cool yourself down in the clear waters of the Shirahama Beach. You should also definitely stroll down the strip of sand to view the magnificent cliff formations!
Iwate — Jodogahama Beach
While it’s a bit of a travel from central Tokyo, believe me when I say this beach is worth the trip. Jodogahama Beach in Iwate is part of the Sanriku Recovery National Park, so you’re assured a clean and nature-rich beach — its name does translate to Pure Land Beach.
Not only this beach is a popular destination for all things swimming and hiking, but it’s also great for exploring the nearby caves amidst the beautiful and unique rock formations by going on a boat cruise. If you’re not all that adventurous, just the sight of it from the beachside is more than good enough.
Japan Island Beaches
Fair enough, Japan mainland has its own exquisite range of beaches, each with its own unique factor that the rest won’t have. Onto the island beaches in Japan — the Okinawa area is one of the most popular beach destinations for locals and tourists alike!
The region is blessed with a semi-tropical climate all year round, and since it became so popular, the area is full of beach resorts worth spending a couple of days — or even a week! — to fully explore the mainland island as well as the other smaller islands.
Because it’s such a tropical island, there are tons of beaches that you might get overwhelmed! Fear of missing out on the best beaches in Okinawa? Read on to find out the top ones to put on your Japan island beaches list!
Ishigaki Island — Sunset Beach
Last but definitely not the least on the list is Sunset Beach on Ishigaki Island. As the name suggests, this beach is the ultimate spot to view the sunset. To complete the serene view, the combination of the beach’s white sand and the glistening sea is so breathtaking it can be a picture on a postcard!
Before the sunset, take some time out for your snorkeling activities — you’ll be surprised at the variety of marine life you’ll see! Other water activities like jet boards and wakeboarding are available too! Ishigaki Island has become such a popular holiday destination that the resorts are great to stay a night or two so you wouldn’t have to rush your time on this spectacular island!
Miyakojima Island — Yonaha Maehama Beach
Located on Miyakojima Island is the famous Yonaha Maehama Beach. The reason it’s so popular is that it’s one of the beaches in all of the Pacific with the whitest sands! It’s no wonder visitors make their way here despite the slight inconvenience in terms of accessibility.
With 7km long of white sand, even with the popularity, the beach is rarely crowded at all! Every kind of water sports can be done here — if you’re a fan of scuba diving and snorkeling, make this your #1 beach destination in Japan!
Don’t just travel here for a day. The island has resort areas full of campsites and hotels that line the shore. Wake up to the view of the horizon — if you’re lucky enough, you might even get a room that overlooks the sunrise or sunset! One of the best hotels you should consider is the Hotel Locus — stylish and affordable, it also has a couple of retail outlets to feed that shopaholic side of yours!
Hateruma Island — Nishi no Hama Beach
Source: Kentaro Ohno from flickr
On the southernmost island in all of Japan is Hateruma Island. This inhabited island, specifically the Nishi no Hama Beach, is the place to go if you’re looking for the most natural beaches in the whole country. The contrast between the fine sand and sparkling blue water is quite breathtaking — not to mention the awesome feeling of dipping in the waters and lying down on the soft sand bed.
Nishi no Hama Beach is quite far out and less developed in the sense of beach stalls and shops, so it’s best to bring your own swimming and beach stuff as well as refreshments to make the best of your day there.
Taketomi Island — Kondoi Beach
More accessible than the former two beaches is the Kondoi Beach in Taketomi Island. This beach is only a short ferry ride away from Japan’s top travel destinations, Ishigaki. This beach is more untouched than the ones on mainland Okinawa Island, so it’s one of the best island beaches to get your snorkeling gear on and see some fishes and corals!
If snorkeling is not your thing, a normal swim and dip are just as ideal — or you can take in the sun as you lie down on the soft, ivory sand.
You’re all set with the tips for Japan beaches, and you know exactly where to go for a fun beach day depending on the part of the country. There are tons of breathtakingly beautiful beaches in the country — it’s only normal to want to go to them all! When the weather is warm and the sun comes out to play, what will be your first pick for the sun, sand and sea in Japan?