From the northernmost part of Hokkaido to remote islands in Okinawa, Japan boasts fascinating natural spots that can be enjoyed all year round. Japan is known for its rugged landscape, active volcanoes and beautiful nature, but being an island country, Japan also offers some amazing beaches. What better way to escape the hot Japanese summers in the city and enjoy the ocean breeze at one of the many beaches! Some of these beaches are more remotely located than others, but all are great for a beach vacation in Japan. Some place also offer a range of water activities including diving and snorkeling. The marine life in in southern Japan is especially suitable for these activities, the warm, tropical climate ensures a breathtaking underwater world. Here you can find the Japan’s 12 most beautiful beaches!
- 1. Jodogahama (Iwate)
- 2. Kozushima (Tokyo)
- 3. Futatsugame Beach (Niigata, Sado Island)
- 4. Hirizo Beach (Shizuoka)
- 5. Shirahama Beach (Wakayama)
- 6. Uradome Beach (Tottori)
- 7. Tsunoshima (Yamaguchi)
- 8. Kashiwajima (Kochi)
- 9. Aoshima Beach (Miyazaki)
- 10. Tomori Beach (Kagoshima)
- 11. Miyako (Okinawa)
- 12. Ishigaki Island (Okinawa)
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1. Jodogahama (Iwate)
Jodogahama is a scenic beach located in north Japan, near Miyako in Iwate prefecture. It is part of Sanriku Fukko National Park, which stretches about 200 km along the pacific coastline. The park was completed in 2013, after the strong Tohoku Earthquake destroying the coastline of northern Japan. The park was created to show people the people, rich nature of the area. The peaceful beach is believed to be originally formed approximately about 52 million years ago by volcanic eruptions. The impressive coastline features sandy beaches and unique white rock formations and attracts numerous people from every corner of the country during summer season. Walk along the soft beach and enjoy the breathtaking view while feeling refreshing sea breeze and listening the lovely sound of calm waves!
2. Kozushima (Tokyo)
Kozushima is a scenic island, part of the the scenic Tokyo Islands, about 3.5 – 4 hrs south from Tokyo Takeshiba Pier by high-speed jet ferry. Head to Akasaki Boardwalk, the most popular swimming spot in Kozushima which features thrilling wooden structures built over rocky cliffs. Visitors can jump off from the safe boardwalk into the clear blue water home to a diverse marine life including beautiful coral reefs and colorful small fish. Maehama Beach is another popular swimming spot stretching about 800m in the southern part of the island. Life guard patrol in August, public bathroom and shower rooms are available in site and it is also conveniently close to some guest houses run by locals.
3. Futatsugame Beach (Niigata, Sado Island)
Travelling to the northernmost point of Sado island in Niigata, you will be surprised with the beauty of Futatsugame Beach, listed a two-star spot in the Michelin’s Green Guide. Futatsugame literally means “Two Turtles”, which refers to the unique shape of Sado Island resembling two giant turtles. When the tide is low, this remote island is connected with the main land of Saga by a narrow sandbar. It is a perfect spot to enjoy sea bathing in crystal clear water while avoiding crowds during summer season!
4. Hirizo Beach (Shizuoka)
Shizuoka prefecture, particularly the eastern area such as Izu and Atami, is home to a great number of beautiful beaches. Among them, Hirizo beach is perhaps one of the most famous beaches which is located in Minami-Izu town on the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula. This beach is surrounded by cliffs and only accessible by boat service from Nagaki port. Because of its remote location it is a special holiday destination where you can enjoy swimming in the emerald-green freely away from crowds. Make sure to bring comfortable water shoes or flip flops as the beach is quite rocky and can be uncomfortable to walk on with bare feet.
5. Shirahama Beach (Wakayama)
If you are looking for a perfect sea bathing spot in Kansai region (where Osaka and Kyoto are located), visit Shirahama Beach, the most famous beach in Wakayama prefecture! Not to be confused with Shirahama Beach on Izu Peninsula or the one in Chiba Prefecture. Shirahama can be translated as white beach” or “white bay”, hence multiple beaches in Japan carry this name. However, the one in Wakayama is by far the most beautiful beach. Take a relaxing stroll along the 620m long beach that has soft sand imported from Perth, Australia! After your swim, head to Shirahama Onsen resort to get a unforgettable Onsen experience.
6. Uradome Beach (Tottori)
Apart from Tottori Sand Dunes the famous desert area in Japan, Tottori boasts incredible natural spots. About 20 min drive from Tottori Sand Dunes is Uradome Beach, a lesser-known scenic spot covering the westernmost part of the Sanin Kaigan National Park. Officially designated as UNESCO Global Geopark, this stunning stretch of coastline offers a breathtaking views along with white sandy beaches and unique rock formations. Enjoy swimming in the incredibly beautiful water, or try adventurous marine activities such as kayaking, diving and snorkeling. Relaxing boat cruise is also popular which allows you to explore the scenic spots from the transparent Ocean!
7. Tsunoshima (Yamaguchi)
Tsunoshima is a scenic island resort which attracts numerous visitors as one of the most popular tourist destinations in Yamaguchi prefecture. It is connected to the mainland of Japan with Tsunoshima Ohashi Bridge, one of Japan’s longest bridges. Make sure to stop by Amagase Park to take some photos of the iconic bridge before travelling across it. Once you arrive at Tsunoshima, explore the several beautiful, sub-tropical beaches, like Ohama Beach and Shiokaze Cobalt Blue Beach, with emerald-green water and white sand. Head to Tsunoshima Lighthouse, the western-style iconic structure on the island which offers panoramic views of the entire island and the blue ocean!
8. Kashiwajima (Kochi)
If you are planning to visit Shikoku region during your stay in Japan, head to Kashiwajima, a scenic island nestled in the southwest, just off the coast of Otsuki peninsula in Kochi prefecture. This beautiful island is easily accessible by car as it is connected to the mainland by a bridge. The crystal-clear water is home to a variety of marine life including colorful tropical fish and beautiful coral reefs. It is a perfect spot to enjoy a range of activities such as diving, snorkeling, kayaking or SUP-ing away from busy streets or crowds in summer!
9. Aoshima Beach (Miyazaki)
The Kyushu Region is a must visit when in Japan. The second largest island of Japan and home to some of the most beautiful places in Japan, with numerous mountains and (active) volcanoes. About 30 min drive from Miyazaki Station takes you to Aoshima a small island located to the mainland by bridge and one of the highlights of Miyazaki. Around the island, at low tide, you can see the geological phenomenon known as Oni no Sentakuba or Devil’s washboards, a naturally formed perfectly straight rows of rock. You can easily walk around this small island, part of Nichinan Kaiga Quasi-National Park. The subtropical climate offers a perfect environment for plants to grow all year round and Kiyakoh Botanic Garden Aoshima on the mainland features a wide variety of subtropical plants and palm trees that can be enjoyed for free. Once you arrive at the island, pay a visit to Aoshima Shrine at the heart of the island before heading to Aoshima Beach. After spending memorable hours surfing or swimming in the crystal blue water, chill out at one of the many restaurants and cafes in the area.
10. Tomori Beach (Kagoshima)
Tomori Beach is a scenic beach perched on the east coast of Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima prefecture, also part of Kyushu. This island can be reached by domestic flights from major cities such as Tokyo and Osaka, or ferry service from Kagoshima. The remote location might seem a little bit inconvenient, but this also ensures a peaceful and calm holiday stay while avoiding crowds compared to other popular beaches. Surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and scenic rock formations, it is an ideal spot for diving, snorkeling and SUP with gentle waves. The water remains shallow for quite a while making it suitable also for families with children.
11. Miyako (Okinawa)
Our final two destinations are from Okinawa, the tropical island group in southern Japan renowned for the jaw-dropping beaches with crystal clear water and white sandy beaches! Located approximately 300 km of Okinawa’s main island, Miyakojima boasts a number of scenic beaches: Maehama Beach is often ranked among the best beaches in Japan. Toguchi no Hama Beach is a lesser-known beach which features white sandy beach stretching about 800 meters. Enjoy snorkeling at Aragusuku Beach and discover the wonder of the clear water which is home to diverse marine ecosystem including wild sea turtles and colorful fish! Miyakojima is one of the best places for scuba-diving in Japan.
12. Ishigaki Island (Okinawa)
After spending a couple of days in Miyako Island, fly to another popular tourist destination in Okinawa; Ishigaki Island! While these two islands share some similarities such as the warm climate and traditional Okinawan culture, visiting both of them will allow you to make the most of your time in Japan! Take a glass-boat tour at the UNESCO Kabira Bay and discover the underwater world through the glass-bottomed boat. Enjoy snorkeling at Yonehara beach, or take a relaxing stroll at Sukui Beach which is popular for the relatively gentle waves. Perched on the west coast of the island, Fusaki Beach also attracts numerous people as a perfect spot to enjoy the breathtaking sunset at dusk!
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If you are searching for somewhere to spend a holiday this summer, any of the beaches above are worth travelling to. Depending on your preferences, each beach offers some unique experiences that are perfect for you! Relax on white sandy beach, take a refreshing stroll, or swim in stunningly beautiful water under the bright sunshine away from crowds!
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Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with travelling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. Also love to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.
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