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Great Beaches In Japan And Tips For Swimming In Summer

2019.07.20 Bookmark

Summer marks beach season in Japan throughout the country. Learn beaches close to Tokyo, Osaka, and which spots to visit in Okinawa for swimming, surfing, and relaxation by the coast. This article also includes swimming seasons and what to expect at the beach in Japan.

Translated by Lester Somera

Written by Sawada Tomomi

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All About Beaches in Japan

Beaches in Japan

As an island country, Japan is surrounded by the ocean and blessed with stunning beaches and seascapes. When summer rolls around, families, groups of friends and couples flock to the beach to take a dip in the water and escape the heat.

For public beaches for swimming, sunbathing, surfing, and other outdoor activities, there are many places to play in the water throughout Japan. Beaches range from developed seaside equipped with barbecues and waterside amenities, to remote areas where you can enjoy a day with aquatic nature and solace.

This article recommends beaches in each part of Japan, such as those near Tokyo, Osaka, and Okinawa, and manners and tips to remember when enjoying the ocean. Continue reading to when and how to make the most out of the sunny, warm days of summer at the sea.

Recommended Beaches Near Tokyo

Tokyo

Tokyo is not far from gorgeous beaches where you can go for a swim or enjoy a day in the sand. Kanagawa Prefecture and Chiba Prefecture both contain stunning coast and beaches open to the public that can be accessed from the city center in an hour or less.

Yuigahama Beach, Kanagawa

Yuigahama Beach

Photo by pixta
Located in Kamakura, Yuigahama Beach is a great choice for beachgoers wanting to experience something different in one of Japan's ancient capitals. It is a close walk to train stations and is extremely convenient for those using public transportation. In addition to enjoying the water, numerous cafes and restaurants are set up in temporary stalls and buildings right by the beach for visitors to enjoy.

Address: Kanagawa, Kamakura, Yuigahama Kaigan
Google Map
Access: about a 5-minute walk from Enoshima Hase and Yuigahama stations
Official Website: https://yuigahama.sos.gr.jp/en/
Season: July 1 - August 31, 2019

Zushi Beach, Kanagawa

Zushi Beach

Photo by pixta
One of the most popular spots for swimming is Zushi Beach in Kanagawa Prefecture, close to Kamakura. At Zushi Beach, beachgoers can enjoy around 600 meters of beach and shallow water with minimal waves. It is ideal for light swimming with friends or family and a day of leisure on the beach. At the end of the day, be sure to catch the gorgeous sunset.

Address: Kanagawa, Zushi, Shinjuku 1
Google Map
Access: about a 10 to 15-minute walk from Keikyu Shin Zushi Station or JR Zushi Station
Season: June 28 - September 1, 2019

Okinoshima Swimming Area, Chiba Prefecture

Okinoshima Beach

Picture from Mini Resorts Just Outside Tokyo - 6 Beaches In Kanagawa And Chiba
Okinoshima in southern Chiba is a deserted island with a rustic coastal environment, allowing visitors to be surrounded by nature. Swimmers here can enjoy snorkeling in the clear waters, beachcombing, and exploring surrounding caves and even a Shinto shrine. The beach is slightly further from Tokyo than other areas, so visitors will want to spend at least a day here exploring. A car is recommended for getting to the beach.

Address: Chiba, Tateyama, Fujimi
Google Map
Access: about a 30-minute walk from the JMSDF Tateyama Air Base bus stop
Season: July to August

Kujukurihama Beach, Chiba Prefecture

Kujukurihama Beach

Picture from Mini Resorts Just Outside Tokyo - 6 Beaches In Kanagawa And Chiba
Kujukurihama Beach in central Chiba is a beach on the Pacific Ocean side of the prefecture. The beach is known for its beauty with its white sand and pine trees lining the area. Beachgoers can swim, surf, paddleboard, and make the most out of the day with a variety of different activities. It takes a little over an hour to get to this spot from central Tokyo via car.

Address: Chiba, Sanbu, Kujukurihama
Google Map
Access: a car is highly recommended
Season: Summer

Miho Beach, Shizuoka Prefecture

Miho Beach

Photo by pixta
Miho Beach in Shizuoka is perhaps best known for its stunning views of Mt. Fuji. The beach itself is also friendly to swimmers with its calm waters. Pine trees and other flora are close by this secluded, lesser-developed area. Close to Shizuoka City, the beach is about 2.5 hours away from Tokyo via car, so this is an ideal place to spend a night or weekend at.

Address: Shizuoka, Shizuoka, Shimizu, Miho
Google Map
Access: a 10-15 minute walk from Miho Soko Mae Bus Stop
Season: mid-July to late August, 2019

Recommended Beaches Near Osaka

Osaka

Picture from 25 Fun Things To Do In Osaka - Museums, Food, Nightlife, And Shopping
Osaka, located in Japan's Kansai, close to Kyoto and Kobe, are also close to beaches where you can take in the sunshine and water at a beach. Similar to the beaches by Tokyo and throughout Japan, the swimming season is during the summer months and varies by the beach.

Tokimeki Beach, Osaka Prefecture

Tokimeki Beach

Photo by pixta
Just south of Osaka City is Tannowa Tokimeki Beach with white sand and clean water. The waters are part of Osaka Bay, and the beach is relatively close to Kansai International Airport; it takes a little over an hour to get to from Osaka's Namba area. Beachgoers here can enjoy swimming, canoeing, and sports like beach volleyball.

Address: Osaka, Senan, Misaki, Tanowa
Google Map
Access: around a 12-minute walk from Nankai Tannowa Station; a free shuttle from the station is sometimes available
Season: July 1 to August 31, 2019

Suma Beach, Hyogo Prefecture

Suma Beach

Photo by pixta
Suma Beach, west of Osaka, is a popular beach in Kobe. It is a great beach for those using public transportation, as the beachfront is just in front train and bus stops. Close to cafes, restaurants, and shopping, beachgoers can enjoy a full day by the sea while being conveniently close to amenities. Around twenty temporary cafes and facilities are set up by the beachfront for visitors.

Address: Hyogo, Kobe, Suma, Wakamiya 1
Google Map
Access: walking distance of JR Suma Station or Sanyo Suma Station
Season: July 11 to August 25, 2019

Shirarahama Beach, Wakayama Prefecture

Shirarahama Beach

Beachgoers wanting to explore Japan's rugged coast should dip into the waters at Shirarahama Beach in southern Wakayama. With nearly-transparent waters white sand ideal for swimming and lounging, this is a great resort area where visitors can truly relax and enjoy nature. The Shirahama area, where the beach is, is also known for its high-quality onsen (natural hot springs) right by the coast. Come here to cool down in the sea after dipping into the onsen for the weekend or on a short trip.

Address: Wakayama, Nishimuro, Shirahama 864
Google Map
Access: Accessible directly via highway bus from Osaka (around 4 hours)
Season: July 1 to around late August

Recommended Okinawa Beaches

Okinawa Beaches

Picture from How To Reach Okinawa's Outer Islands - Ishigaki, Yonaguni, And Others
Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture in Japan, is renowned for its breathtakingly beautiful beaches and coast. Accessible via airplane from the Tokyo and Osaka areas in a little over two hours, this tropical, resort-like area is great for those looking for a beach getaway. Okinawa contains over a hundred smaller islands, but major beach areas are on Ishigaki and Miyakojima islands.

Yonahamaehama Beach, Miyakojima

Yonahamaehama Beach

Picture from 13 Okinawa Island Beaches With White Sand And Sparkling Waters

Yonahamaehama Beach on Miyakojima Island is regarded as one of the beaches in the Pacific with the whitest sands. The sands spread out for around 7 kilometers long, and the water is warm and extremely transparent, making for a spectacular beach day or weekend. This is a must-visit destination when in Okinawa.

Address: Okinawa, Miyakojima, Shimojiyonaha 1199
Google Map
Access: 15 minutes from Miyako Airport by car
Season: open year-round

Ishigakijima Sunset Beach, Ishigaki Island

Ishigakijima Sunset Beach

Picture from 13 Okinawa Island Beaches With White Sand And Sparkling Waters

Ishigakijima Sunset Beach is a popular beach on Ishigaki Island with white sand and water that glistens in the sun. Visitors can also enjoy snorkeling in the transparent sea here and observing the vibrant marine life. Beachgoers seeking more activity can also enjoy wakeboarding, jet boats, and standup paddle boards here.

Address: Okinawa, Ishigaki, Hirakubo 234-323
Google Map
Access: 40 minutes from Shin-Ishigaki Airport by car
Season: May 1 to October 15, 2019
Official Website: https://www.i-sb.jp/?lang=en

Manza Beach, Okinawa Island

Manza Beach, Okinawa

Picture from 13 Okinawa Island Beaches With White Sand And Sparkling Waters

A well-known beach on Okinawa Island is Manza Beach. The beach is located on the ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort but is open to the general public for use. Manza Beach's sands are very white, and beachgoers can take part in diving, swimming, and a variety of water activities.

Address: Okinawa, Kunigami, Onna-son, Serakaki 2260
Google Map
Access: 80 minutes by car from Naha Airport. 100 minutes via airport limousine bus.
Season: open year-round
Official Website: https://www.anaintercontinental-manza.jp/en/facility/beach.html

Manners and What to Expect at Japanese Beaches

1. Swim During Beach Season

Visiting The Beach In Japan: Manners, What To Bring And More

Umi-biraki (“beach opening”) is the Japanese term for the start of the beach season in summer. Please note that swimming is prohibited at most beaches before this day for safety reasons. Umi-biraki is decided after taking water quality, temperature and other factors into consideration.

Safety measures, such as putting lifeguards on duty, are put into place during the swimming season so visitors can enjoy the ocean. These measures include roping off deeper areas or waters with strong tides, so the swimming area itself may be small. Those measures are not in place before umi-biraki--swimming can be hazardous. Areas like Okinawa tend to have longer swimming seasons that the rest of Japan.

2. Bring A Towel, Refreshments, and a Beach Coverup

Visiting The Beach In Japan: Manners, What To Bring And More

Bring all the items you would normally to a beach when you visit the coast in Japan. Come prepared with towels, refreshments, and any other desired swim accessories. Wear your swimsuit underneath your clothing or bring it with you to a changing room at the beach. Please note that tattoos are prohibited at many beaches. If your swimsuit exposes your tattoo, please bring a wetsuit or rash guard to cover up your ink just in case.

For a full day at the beach, be sure to bring beverages or snacks. If you forget, you can pick up necessary items from convenience stores or grocery stores nearby the beach. Drinking alcoholic drinks on the beach is prohibited depending on the location.

Beachfront cafes and stores will sell or have items for rent that you can use should you forget something, but they will be more expensive.

3. Rent a Beach Umbrella

Visiting The Beach In Japan: Manners, What To Bring And More

We recommend a parasol to protect yourself against the strong sunrays and heat. Japan is very hot in the summer, and full-day exposure to the sun can result in sunstroke or heatstroke

Many beaches will rent out umbrellas, which is an easy and smart option.

4. Visit Beachfront Stores and Eateries

Visiting The Beach In Japan: Manners, What To Bring And More

Umi no ie (literally "beach house") are beachfront facilities that charge admission for the use of their shower rooms and changing rooms, and also offer food and drinks, and often equipment for rent. These facilities are very common at beaches in Japan.

These places are open during the swim season only. Up to twenty beach houses can be set up at popular beaches.

Japanese curry rice

You can eat Japanese curry rice at some beach establishments. Picture from Japanese Curry And Rice - What's It Like, And Where Can I Try It?
For eateries, some will have staple Japanese fare and comfort food on their menu, and others have more casual, fast food offerings. They will also serve a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, from juice to beer. Make use of these sites to relax and enjoy the most of the beach.

Many beach houses sell or rent out essential beach items like swimsuits, umbrellas, beach beds, and inner tubes. You may also be able to rent marine sports equipment like boogie boards or bodyboards.

5. Rinse Off at the Showers

Visiting The Beach In Japan: Manners, What To Bring And More

Some beaches have free showers available for public use, but at beaches without them, you should use the showers at beach houses. Most of these places will have shampoo and body soap set up in the stalls, so you can rinse off all the sand and go home feeling fresh.

Keep in mind that not all beaches will have showers.

6. There Are Public Restrooms

Visiting The Beach In Japan: Manners, What To Bring And More

Most beaches have public restrooms, but they can get crowded. When that happens, make use of the restrooms at beach houses. However, many beach houses restrict the use of their restrooms to people who have used the other facilities or ordered something from the beach house. Check with the staff before using the restroom.

7. Bring Home Your Trash

Visiting The Beach In Japan: Manners, What To Bring And More

Either take home your trash or throw it away in the designated areas. Beaches with designated trash areas are uncommon, so we recommend not bringing anything large that is hard to dispose of. Also, throwing away a lot of garbage at a convenience store or supermarket on your way home is a nuisance to others.

Keep the beach areas and ocean clean. Be considerate, so that the people around you can enjoy the waters, too.

Head to a Beach in Japan!

With so many beaches throughout Japan, there is no shortage of aquatic activity in the summer. From beaches near major cities to more remote, nature-filled destinations in Okinawa and elsewhere, make the most of the season and refresh yourself in the cool ocean!

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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