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Top 5 Beaches in Japan

Japan, which is surrounded by seas on all sides, is home to many beaches. Here are five gorgeous beaches in the country that will make for a good trip. You can go swimming at these beaches, and the sights are wonderful, too!


1. Tottori Sakyu Kaisuiyokujo (Tottori)

Sprawled in front of Tottori Sakyu (Tottori Sand Dunes), Japan’s largest sand dunes, is a beach named Tottori Sakyu Kaisuiyokujo. It is loved for its silky, fine white sand that resembles the sand found at the sand dunes, and for it being a swimming area where people can enjoy the clear seawater since there is no river nearby. The Tottori Sakyu is Japan’s biggest sand dunes which measure 2.4km north-south and 16km east-west, and are located along the northern shoreline of Tottori. The wind ripples made by the sea breeze from the Sea of Japan and the sand in the sand dunes create natural art. The huge hollow cavity that resembles a mortar, nicknamed “Suribachi" (mortar), has a 90m max difference from its lowest point to its highest. What is particularly famous about this beach is the 48m-tall “Uma no Se" (horseback) dune. The sand here is fine, so climbing up may be difficult. But once you get to the top, you will get to marvel at the stunning view of the sand dunes and the sea. The main appeal of this swimming area is that you get to enjoy swimming in the seawater of the Sea of Japan with the Tottori Sakyu at your back. Don’t you think it’s a great idea to look at the majestic sand dunes while drifting in the beautiful sea? This is definitely a spot that is recommended to those who are dissatisfied with the conventional seawater swimming areas. Swimming period: Mid-July to late August Swimming time: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

2. Chirihama Nagisa Driveway (Ishikawa)

Chirihama Nagisa Driveway is the only beach in Japan where you can drive your car up to the edge of the surf. It's an approximately 8km drive from Hakui, on the western side of Ishikawa's Noto Peninsula, to Hodatsu Shimizucho, and it takes your car, motorcycle, or bicycle directly to the shoreline. The drive is especially marvelous during sunset as you get to take in the sun while it is setting over the Sea of Japan. So how come cars can drive up to this beach, unlike in the other beaches in the country? The secret is the shape and size of the sand. In the usual beaches, the size and shape of the sand are uneven, but in Chirihama, every sand granule is very small and has an angular shape. This is thanks to the moderate amount of water permeating the sand, making the sand tight enough to form a beach where cars and other vehicles can pass. However, if the amount of water is too little or too much, the sand will become quite silky, so be careful when you drive then. During the summer, it is enjoyed by guests as a shallow seawater bathing area, but do not forget that cars cannot drive on the beach at that time.

3. Miyazaki Sakai Kaigan (Hisui Kaigan) (Toyama)

Located on the eastern tip of Toyama, the Miyazaki Sakai Kaigan is a beautiful pea gravel shoreline that stretches about 4km from east to west. It is also called the “Hisui Kaigan" (Jade Beach) owing to the jade stones that wash onto shore. Jade is a type of dark green translucent gemstone that has long been a highly prized gem in such countries as China. Even in Japan, it is called a precious stone and is used in crescent-shaped jewelry called magatama. There are people who enjoy searching for jade on the day after a rough sea weather, so wouldn’t it be nice to get one as a souvenir for your journey? The sand on this beach isn't mixed with seawater, so the clear seawater flows through. During the sea bathing season from mid-July until mid-August, a lot of young people and families come to this beach. It is also popular as a sunset beach where the sunset is just spectacular. This is a beach where you can enjoy the sunset, searching for gemstones, and bathing in the sea, so it can be said to be a rather eager beach.

3. Miyazaki Sakai Kaigan (Hisui Kaigan) (Toyama)

4. Onna Seaside Civil Park Nabee Beach (Okinawa)

Almost at the center of the main island of Okinawa on the west coast, there stands Okinawa's representative resort area Onnason. Numerous resort hotels line up the coast that features a vast spread of beautiful coral reefs. And within Onnason, Onna Seaside Civil Park Nabee Beach is the public beach that is open for everybody. While it is said to be small, it is quite near the famous Manza Beach and has white sand and a beautiful sea. This beach is full of activities to enjoy! Not only can you swim here, but you can also enjoy the standard marine leisure activities such as riding on banana boats, snorkeling, and sea kayaking, or go fishing wherein the fish that you caught will be cooked by the boat captain, or cook some barbecue under the Okinawa-style red-tiled roof cottages. At the restaurant Okinawa Food Kamenuhama, there are terrace seats where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Cape Manzamo. It is a superb spot that can be appreciated by those who know of it. This is a beach that is recommended to people who want to rest while in Okinawa. Swimming period: Early April to late October Swimming time: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm (*varies depending on the season) *Photo is for illustration purposes

4. Onna Seaside Civil Park Nabee Beach (Okinawa)

5. Nishihama (Okinawa)

Found on the northwestern portion of Haterujima Island, the southernmost inhabited island in Japan, is Nishihama Beach. This beach is home to the kind of scenery that can only be seen here: a deep-blue sea called Hateruma Blue, white sandy beach made from coral, and a sky filled with the intense sunlight of the south. When you’re here, you can definitely have a relaxing time, with every visitor enjoying his time in his own way, such as by looking at the sea the whole day, going snorkeling, or drifting on a rubber swimming ring. How about surrendering to the natural beauty of this beach? Note that there are no vending machines and stores at this beach, so make sure to buy what you need before you come. Further, this beach has not been turned into a sightseeing spot, so there are no demarcations on the swimming area. With that in mind, be very careful when you go snorkeling or enjoy other marine activities!

Even though “beach” is a single word, you can enjoy various beaches with different atmospheres all over the long island country of Japan from north to south. Won’t it be great to search for a beach all your own?

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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Writer: masuda

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