10 Beautiful Beaches in Japan to Go to in the Summer [2018 Edition]
Japan, surrounded by the ocean, has many attractive beaches ranging from those that offer a beautiful contrast between the blue sea, white sand, and green pine trees to those on outlying islands with shimmering, clear water. This time, we introduce ten highly recommended beaches.
This is the top scenic spot in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture. It is a beach in the middle of Sanriku Geopark in Sanriku Fukko (reconstruction) National Park with a group of sharp white rhyolites. The rhyolites were created from the movement of magma 52 million years ago, so you can see the patterns made by the flow of the lava, and the flat cracks that were created when the magma was suddenly cooled. The contrast between the white rocks, green pine trees and the blue ocean is beautiful. During the summer, the ocean is especially transparent and the waves are gentle, so there are many people who visit this location. There are facilities such as a ferry port, a rest house with food and an observation deck nearby.
Shikine Island is located 160km south of Tokyo. Tomari Beach, which is a five minute walk from the port, is a spot where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views on the island. It is a cove where rocks surround the white beach that enhances the blue of the clear water. The waves are gentle as it is protected from the ocean so small children can play safely. There are facilities such as shops, changing rooms, showers and toilets. From Tokyo, it takes about 3 hours to get there on a high-speed boat and about 10 hours on a large boat.
2. Tomari Beach (Shikine Island, Tokyo)
This is a beach on the southern tip of Minami Izu in Shizuoka Prefecture. It is covered with sharp cliffs so there are no roads, and the only way to get there is on a ferry that operates between mid-July and mid-September. It is a place with untouched nature and is considered to be one of the most secluded areas of Minami Izu. The water here is so clear you can see 7m down to the bottom of the sea. It is popular not only for bathing, but also for diving, snorkeling and beach combing. There are no facilities on the beach such as toilets or showers. Be sure to bring home any garbage to protect the beautiful nature.
3. Hirizo Beach (Shizuoka)
Chirihama Beach Driveway, which stretches 8km from Chirihama-machi in Hakui City to Hodatsu Shimizu-cho in Hakui-gun on the west coast of Ishikawa Prefecture, is the only place in Japan where you can drive on a sandy beach. It is an extremely rare type of beach of which there are only three in the world. Because the sand is so fine, it becomes hardened when the waves wash over it, so you can drive on it with regular tires. You can even park your car by the water's edge and play in the water or have a barbecue. You can also visit in the early morning before sunrise, when there are not many people around, or at sundown to enjoy the fantastic views.
This is a beach on the Sea of Japan in Mihama-cho in Fukui Prefecture. The sea that changes color from emerald green to dark blue is distinguished by a transparency that is almost like crystal ("suisho" is crystal in Japanese). The fine sand is very white and contrasts beautifully with the blue ocean. In addition to the bathers, there are many people visiting for marine sports such as wind surfers who arrive early in the morning. The scenery at sunset, when the entire area is painted in orange, is also popular. There are showers, toilets, changing rooms and rest areas. There are also many overnight accommodations in the area.
Shirahama-cho in Wakayama Prefecture is known as one of the Kansai Region's foremost spots for marine sports, and one of its most representative beaches is Shirahama Beach. The sand on the beach that is approximately 640m long is smooth and white. There are palm trees on the beach that give it a tropical feel. It is a wide shallow beach so it is perfect for bathing. There are facilities such as a kiosk, showers, and changing rooms as well as beach parasol (1,000 JPY) and float (500 JPY) rental. The area is also famous for its onsen hot spring so there are many hot spring baths and accommodations.
6. Shirahama Beach (Wakayama)
Nagasaki Peninsula in southern Nagasaki Prefecture juts out into the Amakusa Sea. This is a bathing beach in the Nomozaki area at the tip of the peninsula. There are views from the beach of Hashima, which was once a coal mining island and is nicknamed Gunkan-jima Island (battleship island). In the evening, you can see the sunset over the East China Sea. There are facilities such as a sajiki rest area (800 JPY), shower (100 JPY/3 minutes) and locker (200 JPY). There is also a food court nearby so you can comfortably enjoy the beach.
On Yoron Island, which is an outlying island of Kagoshima Prefecture, there is an area that is referred to as the phantom sand beach. It is Yurigahama, which appears about 1.5km off the shore of Okaneku Beach on the east coast of the island. It is a white sandy beach that appears only at low tide between half tide and spring tide during spring and summer. On this beach, you can experience the surreal feel of being surrounded by the emerald green ocean. During June to September, there are glass-bottomed boats that go to the beach from Okaneku Beach (around 2,000 JPY return), as well as people on duty that can guide you there. There is a legend that you can attain happiness if you find as many star sand as your age, so give it a try.
8. Yurigahama (Yoron Island, Kagoshima)
This is a beach on Zamami Island, approximately 40km southwest of Naha City in Okinawa. This is a beach that is shaped in a gentle arc with pure white sand on which you can bathe while enjoying views of the blue ocean and silhouettes of distant islands. The water is very clear and there are tropical fish just a few meters from the water's edge so it is also recommended for snorkeling. Snorkels are available for rental at 1,000 JPY each. There are also kiosks, toilets, changing rooms, showers (300 JPY) and lockers (200 JPY). It is in a great location for a day trip from Naha as it is only 1 hour away on a high-speed boat.
This is a beach on Hateruma Island, which is the southernmost inhabited island of Japan. It is known to be the most beautiful among the Yaeyama Islands of Okinawa, with an ocean that has a unique blue shimmer to it referred to as "Hateruma Blue". The beach is in the northwest of the island and is about 1km in length. It is perfect not only for bathing and snorkeling, but also for sitting in the shade of a tree and relaxing with a book. Walk barefoot on the pure white sand and you will feel the soft sand between your toes. There are showers, toilets and rest areas.
If you are visiting Japan in the summer, be sure to check out some of these beaches.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.