Out of all of the world’s beaches, which are the most famous? Perhaps, depending on our own location, we might think immediately of the Caribbean, or Bali, Hawaii or Seychelles. Unless you happen to live in Japan, your mind might not immediately think of that country as a beach destination with the exception of Okinawa. However, Japan has plenty of different beach locations! Not only are the gorgeous blue waters and white sands of the Okinawan islands featured here, but you can also have a look at the fun-filled beaches of Kanagawa, the soothing views from Shizuoka and much more. The best part is, many of these beaches are easily accessible from major cities. Check out the top 30 beaches (in no particular order) in Japan to enjoy this summer 2016!
Good news for those planning to stay in the Tokyo area, as the beaches in Kanagawa prefecture can be easily reached! Hayama-Isshiki is a lesser known destination than the nearby Zushi, but its scenery is worth the visit! Its hidden treasure-like charm makes it a great place for the more adventurous.
Yuigahama is a beach that takes about 15 minutes on foot to reach from Kamakura station. The surrounding area is historical, beautiful and cultural, but the beach itself is more for fun! Most of the time, local beach goers enjoy swimming, games with their friends or activities in addition to sitting beach-side. The sunsets here are also a must-see!
Along Kamakura’s charming Enoden line is Shichirigahama Station. The nearby beach offers plenty of opportunities for surfers to enjoy themselves with its strong waves. There is also a Bills pancake house nearby which offers a spectacular view of the beach along with its great food!
Enoshima is a well-loved beach by many in the Tokyo and Kanagawa area. Visible from Kamakura, Enoshima is about 80 minutes from Shinjuku. This beach is known to gather plenty of crowds who swim and do other activities or play games with friends on the sand. This location is also famous for its summer fireworks and its spectacular views of Mt. Fuji.
This beach in Kanagawa is accessible from Shinagawa station and you can reach it in about an hour and a half! With its long stretch of white sand and clear blue water, this is a great spot for a play-day at the beach. It’s especially nice on a clear day when you can see Mt. Fuji from across Sagamihara Bay!
Zushi is a great spot for Kanto-area travelers who would like to have some fun at the beach! You can reach the area in less than 90 minutes from Shinjuku, and once you arrive, you can enjoy swimming, relaxing or even barbecuing at a beach house.
Oarai beach in Ibaraki may seem quite out of the way from Tokyo on a map, but if you catch the right train (Super Hitachi) you can definitely get there in a reasonable amount of time! A famous landmark in the area is the Kamiiso-no-Torii gate, which becomes even more impressive during a gorgeous sunset.
Chiba is another prefecture that is often visited by Tokyoites who need a beach visit! One of the more interesting beaches there is Onjuku, which, depending on your train line choices, can be reached from Tokyo Station in 1.5 to 2.5 hours. The beach has a well-known statue of an Arabian prince and princess riding camels. Why? The statues commemorate a song from the 1920s that was based on this beach, “Tsuki no Sabaku” (Desert of the Moon).
This beach in Chiba boasts many accolades from the Ministry of the Environment as it was chosen to be among the 100 best beaches in Japan, in addition to being added to similar lists by the ministry. It is known for its wonderfully clear water which has been preserved for many years. While this beach does not allow the likes of camping or water sports, it is definitely a wonderful place to relax.
This long stretch of sand in Chiba is the second longest beach in Japan! Those in Chiba or other areas of Kanto often come to enjoy excellent swimming (thanks to the lack of reefs) and surfing at this beach. The area also has plenty of interesting history and activities.
A well-known beach in the town of Kira, this place also goes by the name “Waikiki” after Hawaii’s famous beach. The Waikiki name is actually given to the combination of two swimming areas, Miyazaki and Ebisu. They have beautiful sand and scenery and a similar feel to Hawaii’s island paradise.
Shizuoka is one of the places many people flock to for a trip to the beach. Hirizohama is a special beach for its practically untouched nature. The entire area has been designated as a national park, thus preserving its beauty!
Tatadohama has a bit of everything to offer. Tall rocks with clusters of trees, strong waves great for surfing and spectacular views to take in. It is a much more unique landscape to look at than most beaches as so many seem to either offer surfing or rocky landscapes but not often both! This beach can also be reached from Tokyo and though the ride can be long, the scenery is worth the trip!
A lesser-known beach in Shizuoka is Iritahama that is popular with surfers and sea bathers alike! This beautiful beach also has some natural Japanese palm trees growing nearby. If you can’t make a trip to a tropical location, this is one of the mainland’s many beaches that will trick you into believing you’ve gone on an exotic holiday!
A beautiful beach in Shizuoka prefecture with excellent scenery, this beach not only offers natural beauty to visitors but also a barbecue area and rentals of several items such as beach chairs, parasols and body boards for your relaxation or fun in the waves! You can also make a day trip to and from Tokyo to this beach.
Not only is this beach beautiful, it’s also a great place for families. Small children can enjoy playing in the sand and in shallow parts of the beach. This would be the perfect place to bring all your tools for building a sand castle or playing games with your little ones.
Suisho means “crystal” in Japanese, and as you can imagine, this beach lives up to its name with its crystal clear waves! Fukui is not a destination well known to many outside Japan and so it seems like it might be difficult to reach, but this beach can actually be visited if you make a dedicated day trip! Surely this stunning scenery is worth the hike from Tokyo or Osaka!
This beach, which is accessible from the Kansai area, happens to have some amazing water and even a camping area that is more secluded and will make you feel like you have your own private beach. There are also plenty of options nearby to spend your time in such as the open-air baths.
If you are in the Kansai area, there are plenty of beaches that can be reached. Wakayama has many of them, including the brilliant Kataonami beach. In addition to the clarity of the water and the clean environment it has for a summer getaway, this beach takes only about an hour and a half to reach from Osaka! If you get tired of city sightseeing, you can always make a day trip to this gorgeous location.
When we think of Kyoto, our minds instantly go to maiko walking down alleys of traditional buildings and a backdrop lined with torii gates. It is a not a place that is often associated with the beach, but those nearby are in luck. Kakezukotohiki (or sometimes referred to only as Kotohiki) is a beach claiming some of the clearest water in Kansai. It is rather a popular destination for beachgoers to enjoy the sun and water to the fullest!
This beach, located west of Awaji Island is among the top 100 beaches in Japan. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery (including small fish), waves as well as camping.
Located at the southernmost point of Kagoshima’s Yoron Island, Yurigahama has been likened to a phantom paradise. Its sand is covered in all but a few areas during the high tide, but it can still be seen through the crystal clear water. Another lesser-known beauty, Yurigahama is a getaway that some Japanese people prefer even to Hawaii.
This beautiful location is the closest beach to Hiroshima city center. It apparently also a “man-made” beach, giving it its smooth sand and flat walking areas, but this does not distract from the beautiful water. Many people come to this beach during its peak swimming season in July and August.
Irino Beach is a beautiful area in Kochi, located on the quiet but scenic island of Shikoku. If you are less the city type and happen to be spending time in the less traveled areas of Japan, this beach would make a great summer spot. It is popular with locals as well as tourists for its surfing and camping possibilities. You can also catch a glimpse of baby turtles hatching and going into the sea at sunrise from August to September!
One of Japan’s best hidden gems is Hitosuku in Nagasaki. Looking at the photo of its gorgeous clear water and bright sand, you would think you were looking at a tropical island. This is the perfect place to relax and refresh yourself. It is less crowded than more famous beaches, leaving you much more room to stretch out in the sand and get a great view of the ocean.
There couldn’t possibly be a list of Japanese beaches without a mention of Okinawa! Sesoko Beach is the quintessential Okinawan beach. It has the rich blue skies and clear water that most people imagine. If you want to relax and listen to the waves in a perfect island setting, or even if you want to do some swimming with an innertube, this would be the place!
Kondoi beach is a somewhat hidden paradise. It takes about 10 minutes from Ishigaki Island to reach Okinawa’s Taketomi Island where you will find this breathtaking location. The white sands and emerald green water are truly sights that should not be missed. And the view of ocean stretching out beautifully toward the horizon will leave you speechless.
Sunayama Beach’s stunning rock arch and green-blue water look like something out of a magazine. This beach, on Okinawa prefecture’s beautiful Miyakojima, is the epitome of a tropical paradise. This is definitely must-visit sightseeing spot if you visit Okinawa!
If you are well and truly searching for a quiet escape from the world, perhaps the stunning white sands and shining blue water of Okinawa’s Hatenohama would suit you. As it is a strip of sand off the shore of Kumejima, this area is uninhabited. If you visit this remote paradise, you won’t believe that you’re still in Japan.
The list would not be complete without a nod to Okinawa’s capital city. If you can’t make it out to Okinawa’s other, smaller islands or if you’re content to stick with the city, Naminoue is your best bet. With the famous landmarks nearby such as Shuri Castle nearby, this beach could be added to your sightseeing list or you could make a day of relaxing by the water during the beach’s swimming hours.
There you have it, Japan has plenty of beaches to choose from during your summer trip. If you’re hoping for a quiet getaway, a fun-filled day with your friends or beautiful scenery, Japan’s beaches have something for everyone! Which destination would you choose?