Does Japan have nice beaches?
Absolutely! You can find them from the northern reaches of Hokkaido to the southern islands of Okinawa and everywhere in between. In most parts, the swimming season is from July to mid-August because of the warm currents, sunny weather, and lack of jellyfish. If you’re ready for some fun in the sun this summer, here are the best beaches in Japan!
Subtropical Okinawa Prefecture has white beaches and turquoise water throughout its many islands. We list the remote destinations below, but first, let’s go over the best beaches on Okinawa’s main island. Near Naha, you can easily access the kid-friendly Azama San San and stunning Sun Marina Beaches. But if you’re looking for a local favorite, head to Nishihara Kira Kira Beach.
Enoshima is an island with several attractions, including Iwaya Caves, Enoshima Shrine, the Samuel Cocking Garden, and Sea Candle observation tower. There are beaches on the mainland across from the island that surfers love. Swimmers and sunbathers usually cross the bridge to Enoshima's beaches. It takes about an hour to reach Enoshima Island from Tokyo on the Odakyu Line.
Coral reefs surround this tiny island in southern Okinawa. You can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, and diving nearly anywhere on the coast. The most popular destinations on Ishigaki are Yonehara Beach, Sunset Beach, and Sukuji Beach. All stay open year-round, but the temperature stays consistently above 25℃ (77℉) from April to November.
The only way to get to the Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands is a 24-hour ferry ride from Tokyo. However, don’t let this deter you from making the journey. The mostly uninhabited islands have plant and animal species that you can’t find anywhere else in the world. The top destinations here are Chichijima and Hahajima Islands, which feature hospitable resorts, hilly jungles, and crystalline waters.
The Izu Peninsula’s waters tend to be more transparent than other beaches near Tokyo. You can reach the beloved Atami Sun Beach in about an hour via the Shinkansen. From here, you’ll have no trouble getting to other places like Nagahama and Ito Orange Beaches on public transportation. In most areas along the long coastline, you can spot small fish and coral when you go snorkeling.
The Sea of Japan’s coast in Tottori City looks very different from the rest of the mountainous and forested country. Towering dunes stretch across a 16-kilometer area that’s accessible by several bus lines from Tottori Station. During summer, beach huts pop up along the shoreline. On the dunes, you can also enjoy camel riding, the Sand Museum, sandboarding, and more.
Of all of Miyako Island’s beaches, Higashi Hennazaki and Sunayama Beaches are the best. Travelers from all over the world consider the visually arresting shorelines a must-go for any visit to Okinawa. North of Miyako, you can take a bridge to Ikema Island or head south to the nearby Kurima Island.
Along with Beppu Hells and Atami, Shirahama is one of the top three destinations in Japan for hot springs. In Japanese, Shirahama means “white beach,” and when you step onto the pristine sand, you’ll see why. Nightly fireworks displays celebrate the summer throughout the season. To get to Shirahama Beach from Tokyo, you can take the Shinkansen to Atami Station then board a local express train.
If you’re looking for a getaway that’s off the beaten path, head 90 kilometers west of Okinawa to Kume Island. Like other Okinawa resort destinations, snorkeling and diving are the most recommended activities for visitors. Hatenohama Beach has a picturesque one-kilometer long sandbar and the Uegusuku Castle Ruins, which offer a panoramic view of the surrounding area.