Summer is in full swing! What can be better to counter the heat than a day at the beach? These beaches are approximately 1-1.5 hours away from Tokyo. I can’t wait to take a dip and frolic in the waves! Now where’s my hammock…
Rating: 4 out of 5 parasols
The famous Shonan Beach is a must-go when visiting Enoshima. Taking a day trip to the island and its beach is very popular amongst Tokyoites in the summer. The sand is volcanic gray sand and the waves are bigger than at the other beaches. Beach bars and cafes dot the shoreline, and there are even courts for beach paddle ball. Beware of the crowd during weekends though!
Directions: From Shinjuku, ride the Odakyu Line to Fujisawa station, switch to Odakyu Enoshima Line and ride to Katase-Enoshima station. The beach is about a 10-minute walk away.
There are 3 coasts in the historical mecca town, Kamakura. It is just a stone’s throw away from Enoshima. Besides restaurants and bars, there are also apparel and trinket stores.
Directions: From Shibuya, ride the Tokyu Toyoko Line to Yokohama station. Switch to the JR Yokosuka Line and ride to Kamakura station. From there, you have the options of riding the Enoden Line, buses, or walking to the beaches.
Rating: 3 out of 5 parasols
Zushi is also another popular beach amongst Tokyoites because of its accessibility. It has beach huts playing music, and of course throngs of people. It can get rowdy and mildly intrusive at times. Alcohol, loud music, exposed tattoos and BBQ grills are prohibited on the beach, but are allowed at the beach bars and shacks. Even though the water is murky with sediment, there are shoals of fishies near the shoreline that sometimes fly above the surface! Close by is Zushi town, where quaint establishments nestle in its back alleys.
Directions: From Shibuya, ride the Tokyu Toyoko Line to Yokohama station. Switch to the JR Yokosuka Line and ride to Zushi station. The beach is about a 15-minute walk away.
Rating: 5 out of 5 parasols
It is the most inaccessible of the beaches, along Hayama on the west side of the peninsula, and is the most exclusive and has the best sand. There is a pretty grass knoll that is perfect for picnicking. Isshiki Beach has fancy beach houses and is reminiscent of what the Hamptons are to well-heeled New Yorkers. The Imperial family has a summer residence there as well. The restaurants and bars are much more upscale and cosmopolitan than the grubby shacks on the other beaches. Stay clear of these bar hawks! There is also a famous shrine and torii gate at Morito beach.
Directions: Take Bus 12 from Zushi station.
Miurakaigan Beach is a 1km long stretch lying on the east side of the peninsula that faces Chiba. The water is shallow and ideal for playing. Windsurfers also favor this spot for catching good strong winds.
Directions: From Shibuya, take the Yamanote Line to Shinagawa station. Switch to the Keikyu Line and ride all the way down to Miurakaigan station.
On the west coast of Miura peninsula further south from Hayama lies Araihama Beach, nearby Aburatsubo. It is a small, but the least crowded, and perfect for a short-lived but much-appreciated recluse beach. Flora and fauna are plentiful; Tokyo’s Marine Biology research station is in the vicinity.
Directions: Ride one stop on the Keikyu Line from Miurakaigan station to Misakiguchi station, and then hop on Bus 4 to Aburatsubo.
And that’s about it! If you have access to a car or can afford to travel further, Chiba has some pretty sweet beaches too. Uchiura, Onjuku, and Kujukuri Beaches are on the west coast of Chiba, and face the mighty Pacific Ocean. It must look majestic! It’s also a popular spot for surfing, kite-surfing, windsurfing and a plethora of other water activities.