Given that Japan is surrounded by ocean, you can expect there to be plenty of beaches in the country for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Japan has some amazing beaches, and most are found to the south of the country although there are some nice stretches of sand elsewhere.
Find out more about the best beaches in Japan, and where to go to get some sun and sand, in this quick guide.
The southern province of Okinawa is subtropical and the area is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and clear blue seas. The beaches are open all year round and the temperatures do not drop too much in winter, although summer is, of course, the best time to go swimming and sunbathing. There are some poisonous jellyfish species in this region, however – watch out for local warnings.
Kume Island has three beaches and all of them provide excellent swimming opportunities and you can also go snorkeling. There is also Hatenohama Beach, located on a sandbar, which you can reach by boat on a tour.
Some of the best of the country’s beaches can be found here on Miyako Island. The beaches are ideal for diving, snorkeling, swimming, and lazing on the sand. Nearby coral reefs are perfect for exploring the underwater life.
Okinawa Main Island Beaches
All around the main island of Okinawa you’ll find some lovely beaches for relaxing and swimming. Some hotels and resorts on the oceanfront charge for beach entry although there is plenty of choice about where to go.
Located a short distance from the main Okinawa Island, these islands have their own beautiful soft sand beaches and are excellent for swimming and snorkeling. You can also enjoy some good diving here, with sea turtles and lots of fish to spot.
You can snorkel on the reefs off Ishigaki Island, or take a boat tour around Kabira Bay, which is a picturesque bay where snorkeling is not permitted.
Amami Oshima is situated to the north of Okinawa and has some wide, expansive beaches to enjoy. You can snorkel in peace as the beaches here are generally less crowded than those in Okinawa.
Beaches Around Tokyo
It may not appear that Tokyo, the urban metropolis, has beach access but there are some excellent beach spots not very far from the capital. You can usually swim up until the end of August, and after this temperatures remain nice for sitting on the beach and taking part in water sports.
Shirahama Beach on the Izu Peninsula has some quite good surfing and it is also one of the best-known spots on the peninsula for general beach fun. The beach is around 800 meters long.
Onjuku Beach is around 90 minutes by express train from Tokyo or longer by local trains, and it is a lovely place to escape. Get to the beach by walking from the train station through the quiet town.
Tatadohama Beach has some good waves, making it a popular spot for surfing, and it also has some nice amenities nearby like hot springs, cafes, and hiking. Take the train to Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take a bus to the beach, and walk to the shore via a small path.
Hayama-Isshiki beach is close to the better-known Zushi Beach, although it is more secluded and more picturesque. You can get here by taking a bus from the Zushi train station and walking down a path to reach the shore.
Kamakura has some lovely beaches although they do not have white sand. They get busy in the summer at weekends with people from the city, but there are plenty of facilities and it is good for swimming.
Enoshima is lined with beaches, most of which are very popular in the summer months. You’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars, cafes, and water sports here and the Enoshima beaches are ideal places to spend a sunny vacation.
Other Top Japan Beaches
Jodogahama Beach in Miyako is on the Sanriku Coast and there are some excellent rock formations to make the views interesting, and the beach itself is sheltered inside an inlet.
Miho Beach in Shizuoka has lovely views of Mount Fuji and while the beach has stones rather than sand, it is a great place to spend a few hours.
If you are looking to really get away from it all, you have to go to the Ogasawara Islands. This island chain is in the Pacific Ocean around 1,000 kilometers from Tokyo. You get here by taking a 25-hour ferry trip from the capital. You’ll be rewarded with secluded beaches, lots of chances for swimming and snorkeling, and a lovely warm climate. The best beaches are on Chichijima, Hahajima, and other more isolated islands.