Summer is here and the rainy season is almost over. This means people are looking for good beaches in Japan to visit. If you’re one of those people, you’re in luck. I’ll be covering 12 best beaches to visit in Japan below.
Beaches in Japan are almost always packed with people trying to get out of the city for summer vacation. It’s one of the popular ways to cool down during the hot and very humid summer days. Japan is an island nation so there are beaches everywhere, but the most beautiful are down south in Okinawa or around the outlying islands of Japan.
12 Best Beaches in Japan
Beaches near Tokyo
If you don’t have time to go to Okinawa or you want to stay around the Tokyo area, there are places that you can go in a few hours. These beaches are also popular with the local Japanese people living in Tokyo, so you shouldn’t expect a quiet, serene beach. There will be lots of people playing in the waves, having barbecues, with tents and parasols covering the beach. It’s a lively scene especially on summer weekends. However, the water clarity is not very high. So if want to swim in beautiful clear blue waters, the further you get away from the cities the better.
Yuigahama is popular due to its vicinity to Kamakura. Kamakura is a small city surrounded on one side by mountains and the other by the sea. It’s a great place for a sightseeing day trip from Tokyo. You can see the many temples, shrines, and the Great Buddha statue as well as visit the beach. It’s about 1.5 hours from Tokyo, so it’s not that far away.
Access: Take the Enoden Line from Kamakura Station to Yuigahama Station or Wadakura Station. It’s a 5 minute walk to the beach from the station.
Atami is a popular hot springs town by the sea. You can visit Atami in about an hour from Tokyo by riding the Shinkansen or bullet train. It has a small beach where you can swim from 9 am to 5 pm. The area is also illuminated at night, so it’s perfect for an evening stroll after dinner. If you like hot springs, soaking in one after a day of swimming at the beach can be very relaxing.
Access: Take the Shinkansen from JR Tokyo Station to JR Atami Station. It’s 5 minutes by bus from JR Atami Station to the Sun Beach bus stop and a 3 minute walk from the bus stop to the beach.
Shirahama Beach is located in Shimoda, which is at the tip of the Izu Penninsula. It is a 800 meter long beach, popular for its white sands and blue waters. It’s a great area for surfing as well as swimming. It’s about 2.5 hours by train from Tokyo using both the Shinkansen and the Odoriko Express. Because of the time it takes to get there and back, spending a night or two there is recommended. However, it’s worth it for the bluest waters you’ll find around the Tokyo area.
Access: Take the Shinkansen from JR Tokyo Station to JR Atami Station. Then change trains to the Odoriko Express to Izukyu-Shimoda Station (you need to make reservations for this train). Then take the bus bound for Itado-isshiki for 10 minutes and get off at Shirahama Kaigan bus stop (only 1-2 buses per hour).
Website (Japanese only): https://www.izu-shirahama.jp/
Beaches near Osaka
If you’re visiting Osaka, there are also beaches you can visit in about an hour. The bay is closer than you might imagine from all the hustle and bustle of the city. So you can enjoy the beach as a day trip if you’ve already seen the main sightseeing spots in Osaka.
You can enjoy hunting for clams, swimming, marine sports, and barbecues here. It’s a 1km long white sand beach with a growth of pine trees creating a beautiful white and green contrast. On clear days, you can enjoy a view of the Kansai International Airport and the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in the distance.
Access: A 10 minute walk from Nishikinohama Station on the Nankai Main Line. It’s a little less than an hour from central Osaka.
Website (Japanese only): http://www.nishikinohama.osaka.jp/
This is a historic beach created in 1904. A free shuttle bus runs on weekends from mid July to mid August, from the nearest train station. So it’s a very convenient beach for the locals as well as tourists.
Access: Take the free shuttle bus (only on weekends from mid July to mid August) from Tannowa Station on the Nankai Main Line. It’s a little over an hour from central Osaka to Tannowa Station.
Tarui Southern Beach is a nickname for Rinku Minami Beach. You can enjoy swimming as well as other marine sports here. It’s an artificial beach with white sand and palm trees, making it look like a beach in a resort area.
Access: A 10 minute walk from Tarui Station on the Nankai Main Line. It’s about 1 hour from central Osaka to Tarui Station.
Beautiful Beaches in other areas
This is a "sister beach" to the famous Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. The beach curves in a beautiful white arc that is 640 meters long. And the white sand becomes dotted with colorful parasols in summer. This beach definitely makes you think you're at a beach resort on a southern island. You can also enjoy the nearby hotsprings after you take a dip in the sea.
Access: You can get to Shirahama from Nanki Shirahama Airport by bus if you're travelling by airplane from Tokyo. It takes only 15 minutes from the airport. From Kyoto Station or Shin-Osaka Station, take the Express train on the JR Kinokuni Line. It's 2.5 hours from Shin-Osaka and 3 hours from Kyoto Station.
This is a popular beach on Fukue Island, one of the Goto Islands of Nagasaki Prefecture. You’ll find the emerald green waters clear as the waters in Okinawa. Since it’s out of the way, you won’t find the beach over crowded with tourists either. However, you’ll need to rent a car to easily get around this island.
Access: From Nagasaki port to Fukue port, it’s a ferry ride of a little over 3 hours or the more expensive jetfoil which takes a little over 2 hours. By airplane, it’s 30 minutes from Nagasaki airport and 45 minutes from Fukuoka airport.
Now this is one of the most off the beaten path beaches you’ll find. First, it’s on Chichijima Island of the Ogasawara Islands. It’s part of Tokyo only in name, as it takes 25 hours by ferry to get there and there’s only 1 ferry a week. However, it’s worth the hassle of getting there. The Ogasawara Islands are a beautiful natural World Heritage Site with flora and fauna that you can only find there. Secondly, this beach is only accessible by boat or kayak, and there’s no way to get there over land. This is the place to go if you want to see a natural beach tucked away like a secret.
Access:Get on the “Ogasawara-Maru” from Takeshiba Passenger Terminal in Tokyo. It takes 25.5 hours to Futami port on Chichijima Island.
Beaches in Okinawa
The beaches in Okinawa are beautiful anywhere you go. The emerald green waters shine in the bright sunlight and the clarity cannot be compared to anything you’d find on most of the beaches on the Japanese mainland. However, there are beaches that can be described as more amazing than normal.
This beach is actually an uninhabited island made out of just white sand. The whole island is pure sand. It lies 5 km off of Kumejima Island. And Kumejima Island is a 30 minute plane ride from Naha Airport on the main island of Okinawa. There are half day and full day tours that take you there by boat. It’s an amazing place to take pictures and enjoy marine sports.
Access: half day or full day tours from “Tomari Fisherina”. you can make reservations for tours through the hotels on Kumejima island.
This beach is unbelievably beautiful. It looks like something that you’d see maybe on an island in Fiji, not something you’d be able to see in Japan. It’s a beach on the southernmost island of Japan, Hateruma Island. It’s difficult but not impossible to walk there from the accommodations on the island, but usually people rent a bicycle to get around. If you want to see a breathtaking scene, visit this beach on a sunny day. You need to take the ferry for 1 hour to get to Hateruma island, and the waves tend to get rough so beware if you get sea sick.
Access: 1 hour by ferry from Euglena-Ishigaki Ferry Terminal on Ishigaki island to Hateruma Island.
Website (Japanese only): http://www.haterumajima.net/s/
This beach is said to be the most beautiful in East Asia. It is located on Miyakojima island. The annual Miyakojima Triathlon starts here on this beach. The 7 km long natural beach is made out of white powdery sand and the water is a “Miyako blue”. The beautiful waters around Miyakojima island are so beautiful that they have a color of their own.
Access: About 3 hours by airplane from Tokyo to Miyakojima airport. Rental car is the easiest way to get around the island.
Website (Japanese only): https://www.city.miyakojima.lg.jp/kanko/annai/beach.html
Luxury Beach Resorts
When spending a vacation on a southern island to enjoy the sun and the beach, it would be nice to be able to spend it luxuriously at a beach resort. You’d be able to relax without worrying about a thing. Luxury beach resorts come in two price ranges. One is an amount that the average person can afford if they save up. The other is really expensive so it’s really for the more wealthy. Below are some beach resorts in Okinawa that are divided into the two categories.
More than 40,000 yen per person per night
Under 40,000 yen per person per night
Beaches are fun to visit, but they are also usually near areas with many sightseeing spots. So why not make the most of your trip and take a tour to see the sights too.
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Most of the tours sold are walking tours where you can use the public transportation system while sightseeing and get a feel for getting around the city. It’s also an experience that will give you real insight into how the local people move around during their daily lives. However, you also have the option of hiring a private car and driver for your tour or just to get around. This is an option, though expensive, that people with disabilities or elderly people who aren’t able to walk for several hours find to be helpful. Catching a taxi is also a good way to get around, but having a car just for you is also pretty convenient.
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