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Beaches of Japan: Six of the Best

Japan is a nation of islands, with the vast Pacific Ocean on its southern and eastern shores and the cooler Sea of Japan to the north. The Japanese archipelago is made up of over 4000 islands and has just under 30,000 kilometers of coastline, so it comes as no surprise that the country is home to many wonderful beaches as well.

Index

  • Ryukyu Islands

  • Kyushu

  • Shirahama

  • Izu Peninsula

  • Kamakura

  • Moriya Beach

  • Ryukyu Islands

    Ryukyu Islands

    Ryukyu Islands

    At Japan’s most southerly end lie the Ryukyu or Nansei Islands, which stretch in an arc from Kyushu all the way to Taiwan. They are a chain of subtropical islands with mild year-round temperatures, pristine coral reefs, and some of Japan’s best beaches. The largest island in the chain is Okinawa Island, and while it has some nice beaches of its own, the nearby Kerama Islands are like an untouched paradise of white sandy beaches and richly diverse sea life for divers and snorkelers. Maehama Beach on Aka Island is a great spot for seeing coral while snorkeling, while local companies on beautiful Zamami Island offer diving trips for beginners through to pros. The Kerama Islands can be reached by air and ferry from Naha.

  • Kyushu

    Heading north, Kyushu is the most southerly of Japan’s four main islands and so also experiences milder temperatures than the rest of Japan, and it has many scenic coastal areas to enjoy. Laid-back and balmy, Miyazaki is becoming renowned as one of Japan’s premier surf spots and it has a number of fine beaches within the city limits, such as Aoshima and Kisakihama. They both offer good year-round surfing conditions with a reliable typhoon swell, but they are big and wide enough for regular beachgoers to enjoy too.

    Kyushu

    Kyushu

    A nice day trip from Fukuoka in north-west Kyushu lies Karatsu, a small historic port city with plenty of stunning coastline scenery nearby. Just outside the city center is Niji-no-Matsubara, a 5 km stretch of land thick with pine trees that were originally planted as a sea defense, which straddles the beautiful Azumanohama Beach. This large sandy beach offers splendid views of the bay, the islands, and the nearby mountains. There are plenty of seaside hotels a short distance away, yet it rarely feels overdeveloped or crowded.

  • Shirahama

    Shirahama

    Shirahama

    One of the most popular beaches in the Kansai area is Shirahama, a couple of hours from Osaka in neighboring Wakayama Prefecture. This small town is famous for its white sand beach and numerous hot springs, making it a popular summer getaway.

  • Izu Peninsula

    Izu Peninsula

    Izu Peninsula

    For Tokyoites, the Izu Peninsula has likewise long been a popular weekend retreat, thanks to its numerous hot springs and superb rugged coastline. At its southern end close to the town of Shimoda is Tatadohama, a nice big sandy beach good for families and surfing, with some facilities such as showers and a restaurant but still not overly developed. There are plenty of other good beaches in the area too, including the more popular Shirahama to the east of the town.

  • Kamakura

    Kamakura

    Kamakura

    Even closer to Tokyo is Kamakura, an attractive seaside town with plenty to see and do and an easy day trip from the capital. It has a number of sandy beaches, such as the popular Yuigahama and Zaimokuza, both of which can be very busy in July and August. Instead, head a little further west to Shichirigahama, a beach with nice views (Mt. Fuji is visible if it’s clear), small waves for surfers, and plenty of places to eat afterwards.

  • Moriya Beach

    Moriya Beach

    Moriya Beach

    On the other side of Tokyo, neighboring Chiba Prefecture also has some attractive beaches, which are great for escaping the city. Close to the town of Katsuura is Moriya Beach, a clean sandy beach with beautiful views of the blue Pacific Ocean. The surrounding coastline is worth exploring too, with many shrines, caves, and hidden inlets to discover.

    Keiyokanshoto
    Address
    Okinawa Prefecture Tokashiki-son, Shimajiri-gun and Zamami
    Phone
    0989872333
    Yonaha Maehama Beach
    Address
    Okinawa Pref. Miyakojimashi Shimoji Yonaha 1199
    Phone
    Kisaki Hama
    Address
    Miyazaki Miyazaki Kumano
    Phone
    0985211791
    Higashinohama Beach
    Address
    Saga Pref. Karatsushi Higashikaratsu
    Phone
    0955724963
  • Shirahama
    Address
    Wakayama Pref. Nishimurogunshirahamachou Katata
    Phone
    Address
    静岡県下田市吉佐美
    Phone
    0558221531
    Yuigahama Beach
    Address
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Yuigahama
    Phone
    Zaimokuza Beach
    Address
    Kanagawa Pref. Kamakurashi Zaimokuza 5-chome
    Phone
    0467613884
    Moriya Beach
    Address
    Chiba Pref. Katsurashi Moriya
    Phone
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