The Beaches of Okinawa
A trip to Okinawa is a trip to the beach. There are various other activities offered around the islands but with so many pristine beaches, spending you time by the water is the best use of your time. Here are a selection of beaches from Honto to Taketomi Island with varying amenities, free public access, and of course the turquoise waters that make Okinawan beaches so famous.
Mibaru Beach is located in Nanjo, on the southwestern end of Honto. It is a small beach where the highlight is the glass boat tours around the coral reef. For 1,600 yen, the boats will take you on a 20-minute ride to get a look at the starfish and eels that can be found in the area. If the boats are not your thing then go for a snorkel and take a closer look at the sealife. When you get hungry, walk over to Hamabe No Chaya and rejoice with their delicious treats and the seaside views.
Sunset Beach is one of the livelier beaches in Okinawa and you’ll find it next to the American Village in Chatan. This one is perfect for the beachgoer who loves hanging out on the beach and having seaside town comforts close at hand. Here you can enjoy a bbq, rent paddle boards, shop in between ocean dips at the Depot Island, or simply enjoy the calm water with a drink in hand while watching the sun set over the horizon. If you are looking for a good vibe then this is the beach to be at.
Imgya Beach is situated at the southern end of Miyakojima near the Shigira Beach Resort. This is the “natural swimming pool” of Miyakojima thanks to the inlet formed by rocks and coral reefs. Known also as the Imgya Marine Garden, this spot is awesome for snorkeling through the reefs, especially if doing so with kids. The beach is small yet there are free showers and toilets on site, although not much else beyond that. Besides snorkeling, you can also used the boardwalk to get to the top the observation deck on top of the hill and take in the breathtaking view of the corals reefs and the vast deep blue ocean beyond.
Also in Miyakojima, Sunayama Beach is famous for its arching rock formation and its magical sunset views. A short walk through a seaside forest path will take you to this small sandy paradise. The sight of the water through the arch makes for a picture-perfect moment and is the main draw to this beach. Beyond this, chilling on the sand with friends and taking a dip in the ocean as the sun starts to set creates a memorable experience on the island.
You will need to fly down to Ishigaki then take the quick ferry over to Taketomi Island to enjoy this one, but the sand bar which forms in the middle of the water is worth the effort. The beach can get crowded as with most of the beaches in Okinawa, but not many people seem keen on making the short walk over to the sand bar which makes it a perfect spots for an almost private look at Iriomote Island in the distance. Keep in mind that public transportation is scarce around Taketomi Island so to reach the beach it is best to rent a bicycle in the town.