Summer is just around the corner, so we have decided to make a list of the best and most beautiful beaches in Japan to cool off and relax. Even though the Asian country isn’t as beach-oriented as most Western societies—thus not often associated with a strong seaside culture—it’s still a collection of islands with thousands of miles of coastline. These are our picks:
1. Shirahama Beach [Wakayama Prefecture]
Credit: Wikimedia CommonsShirahama is the most popular vacation resort in Wakayama. Its artificial beach, made with white sand imported from Australia, attracts thousands of tourists from other parts of the country. Shirahama is a perfect destination for families with children, who will find a huge amusement park and zoo close to the seashore.
Address: Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama PrefectureAccess:By train: it’s connected to Osaka via the JR Kisei Line (2 hours).By bus: take an express bus from Osaka Station to Shirahama (4 hours).By air: there are local flights from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to Nanki-Shirahama Airport.Recommended period: Summer.Contact:Wakayama Tourism FederationWithin Japan: 73-422-4631
2. Tanabe Ogigahama Beach [Wakayama Prefecture]
Credit: Virginia GonzálezRight across the bay from Shirahama lays Tanabe’s Ogigahama beach. In fact, both locations can be visited on the same day. Ogigahama is one of the best equipped beaches in Japan—showers, restrooms, changing rooms, lockers, restaurants and parasol rental offices are some of the facilities found here. A skateboarding park and a basketball court complete the California-style recreational area, very popular among the Japanese youth.
Address: Tanabe-shi, Nishimuro District, Wakayama PrefectureAccess:By train: from Osaka, take the Kuroshio express train to Tanabe (2 hours). The beach is an 8-minute straight walk from Kii Tanabe Station.By bus: take an express bus from Osaka Station to Tanabe (4 hours).Recommended period: July 24-25th, during the Tanabe Festival.Contact:Kumano TravelWithin Japan: 0739-26-9025
3. Maehama Beach [Okinawa Prefecture]
Credit: Wikimedia CommonsOkinawa has some of the best and most popular beaches in Japan due to their crystal-clear water, white sand and surrounding subtropical rainforests. Maehama, located on Miyakojima Island, is often cited as the most beautiful in the Eastern hemisphere. This heavenly beach stretches seven kilometers and offers the perfect landscape for scuba-divers and snorkelers. Camping is allowed near the coastline.
Address: 1199-1 Shimojiazayonaha, Miyakojima-shi, Okinawa PrefectureAccess:By air: the beach is a 20-minute taxi ride from Miyako Airport. There are daily direct flights from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (3 hours).Recommended period: Summer.Contact:Miyako Tourist AssociationWithin Japan: 0980-73-1881
4. Miho Beach [Shizuoka Prefecture]
Credit: www.flickr.comMiho, unlike the previously mentioned beaches, does not have beautiful white sand and turquoise waters. In fact, it doesn’t have any sand at all; it’s all rocks on this shore. However, the dramatic view from this place is unlike anything else you can find in Japan, simply because you can see Mount Fuji across the shoreline. This is the perfect spot for instagrammers looking for the million-likes picture.
Address: Miho, Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka, Shizuoka Prefecture 424-0901Access:By train and bus: the Tokaido Main Line connects Tokyo and Shimizu. Once in Shimizu Station, it is possible to take a bus to the Hagoromo-no-matsu Iriguchi bus stop.Recommended period: Winter (to see a snow-capped Mount Fuji).Contact:Shizuoka City TourismWithin Japan: 054-254-2212
5. Emerald Beach [Okinawa Prefecture]
Credit: www.flickr.comEmerald beach owes its name to the water’s striking resemblance to that of an emerald—green, turquoise and shiny. The beach is part of Okinawa’s Ocean Expo Park, which holds one of the largest aquariums in the world, as well as a tropical botanical garden. The beach is divided into three different areas for different activities: relaxing, sightseeing and sports.
Address: Bise, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture 905-0207Access:By bus: from Naha, take the Yanbaru Express Bus, which will drop you off directly at the beach (2 hours).Recommended period: Summer.Contact:Okinawa Convention Visitors Bureau Multilingual Contact CenterFrom overseas: 0570-077201Skype: call-center-en01
6. Tatadohama Beach [Shizuoka Prefecture]
Credit: www.flickr.comTatadohama is a beach and resort in Shimoda City, on the southernmost tip of the Izu Peninsula. Shimoda’s beaches (Tatadohama, Ohama and Iritahama) are some of the most popular among Asian surfers. Tatadohama’s proximity to Tokyo (about 2 and a half hours away) and its Hawaiian vibe make it one of the most famous and celebrated in the country. And it can get pretty crowded, too!
Address: 47 Kisami, Shimoda-shi, Shizuoka-ken 415-0028Access:By train: from Tokyo, get on a limited express train on the Tokaido line and get off at Izukyu-Shimoda Station.Recommended period: Summer.Contact:Shimoda Tourist AssociationE-mail: email@example.com
7. Momochihama Beach [Fukuoka Prefecture]
Credit: Wikimedia CommonsMomochihama is the most conveniently located beach on this list, right inside the urban jungle of Fukuoka—the seventh largest and most populated city in Japan. The Fukuoka Tower, Library and Museum are all a few steps from the beach, directly on the waterfront. Malls, restaurants, pubs, shops, showers, changing rooms and toilets are some of the facilities located in the area.
Address: 2 Chome-1-22 Momochihama, Sawara Ward, Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture 814-0001Access:By subway: take the Kuko Line from Hakata station to Nishijin station (15 minutes).Recommended period: Anytime.Contact:Fukuoka Convention & Visitors BureauWithin Japan: 92-733-5050by Virginia Gonzalez