Think of Japan and what comes to mind might be megacities such as Tokyo and Osaka or the historic temples of Kyoto. But as a nation of islands, Japan is blessed with a huge number of fantastic beaches. Although a beach holiday in Japan might seem strange, the best beaches in Japan can rival those of any other country.
From Hokkaido in the far north, right through to the tropical islands of Okinawa, Japan’s coastline is filled with a wide variety of beautiful beaches. Whether they’re quiet secluded spots away from the crowds or popular summer sunshine resorts, many of the best beaches in Japan are amongst the country’s best-kept secrets. While plenty of Japan’s heavenly beaches are ideal for a spot of sunbathing and a dip in the sea, others are surrounded by rocky coastlines, thick forests and scenic temples.
If you’re planning a trip to Japan, then don’t overlook the country’s stunning coastline. Wherever you’re going in Japan you’re likely to be somewhere near the sea, so here are 20 of the best beaches in Japan.
- Beaches In Japan
- 20 Best Beaches in Japan
- 1- Yuigahama Beach – Kanagawa Prefecture
- 2- Zushi Beach, Kanagawa Prefecture
- 3- Shirahama Beach, Shizuoka Prefecture
- 4- Kujukuri Beach, Chiba Prefecture
- 5- Tottori Sand Dunes – Tottori Prefecture
- 6- Otaru Dream Beach, Hokkaido Prefecture
- 7- Takenohama Beach, Hyogo Prefecture
- 8- Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture
- 9- Kabira Bay – Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture
- 10- Shirahama Beach – Wakayama Prefecture
- 11- Furuzamami Beach – Okinawa Prefecture
- 12- Emerald Beach – Okinawa Prefecture
- 13- Jodogahama Beach – Iwate Prefecture
- 14- Hatsu beach – Fukuoka Prefecture
- 15- Kamagari Kenmin-No-Hama, Hiroshima Prefecture
- 16- Odaiba Beach, Tokyo
- 17- Katsurahama Beach, Kochi Prefecture
- 18- Kikugahama Beach, Yamaguchi Prefecture
- 19- Aoshima Beach, Miyazaki Prefecture
- 20- Angel Road, Kagawa Prefecture
- 20 Best Beaches in Japan
Beaches In Japan
20 Best Beaches in Japan
1- Yuigahama Beach – Kanagawa Prefecture
Yuigahama is a beautiful beach that is particularly popular thanks to its location.
Yuigahama is less than 10 minutes by train from Kamakura and can easily be fitted as part of a day trip to see the town’s famous Great Buddha statue.
Being a little more than an hour from Tokyo means that Yuigahama is very popular during the summer, especially with surfers.
If you’d prefer to find a beach with a view of Mount Fuji, take a train on the Enoden line a few stops around the bay to Shichirigahama beach.
From here, you can see Mount Fuji standing over Enoshima Island.
Yuigahama beach is at 4 Chome Yuigahama, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0014.
2- Zushi Beach, Kanagawa Prefecture
With the distinction of being the closest natural beach to Tokyo, Zushi beach is another popular day trip from the capital.
An hour from central Tokyo by train, Zushi beach is another beautiful stretch of sand in Kanagawa prefecture.
Being away from Kamakura means that Zushi beach is often a lot less crowded than Yuigahama beach, and it’s also a very popular spot for families.
Like Yuigahama, Zushi beach is also a popular spot for surfing.
Zushi beach is at 2-chōme-3 Shinjuku, Zushi, Kanagawa 249-0007.
3- Shirahama Beach, Shizuoka Prefecture
There’s plenty to explore along the beautiful Izu peninsula in Shizuoka, but Shirahama beach is easily one of the main attractions.
Shirahama literally translates as “white beach”, and the sands stretch for over 800 metres along this part of the coastline.
As the name suggests, the beach has pristine and soft white sand.
The beach faces the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean, which are ideal for swimming and surfing.
The single red torii gate that marks the entrance to the nearby Shirahama shrine that stands on the nearby rocks is a perfect photo spot.
Shirahama beach is at Shirahama, Shimoda, Shizuoka 415-0012.
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4- Kujukuri Beach, Chiba Prefecture
Kujukuri beach in Chiba prefecture is easily one of the best beaches in Japan. Stretching for 60 km along Chiba’s coastline, it’s also one of the most popular.
Kujukuri beach is a mecca for surfers and people from Tokyo and across the region who come here in their droves during the summer.
Kujukuri beach is one of the best surfing spots in Japan, thanks to the huge waves that crash onto Kujukuri beach from the Pacific Ocean.
Kujukuri Beach is at Otsu Hitotsumatsu, 299-4326.
5- Tottori Sand Dunes – Tottori Prefecture
Easily one of Japan’s most famous beaches, Tottori’s dunes are an incredible sight.
The huge sweeping hills of golden sand that take up 16 km of Tottori’s coastline create a perplexing natural landscape that faces the Sea of Japan.
A hugely popular tourist attraction, Tottori’s dunes offer incredible views of the shoreline from their peak.
Beware of the steep slopes on the far side of the dunes that drop suddenly down to the Sea of Japan.
The neighbouring Sand Museum, featuring phenomenal sand sculptures by artists from all over the world, is also well worth a visit.
Tottori Sand Dunes is at 2164-661 Fukubecho Yuyama, Tottori, 689-0105.
6- Otaru Dream Beach, Hokkaido Prefecture
More famous for snow and freezing cold winters, Hokkaido also has its fair share of fantastic beaches.
Arguably the best beach in Hokkaido is Otaru Dream Beach, which is a little over half an hour by public transport from the centre of Sapporo.
Known as a party beach, Otaru Dream Beach is popular with younger people, particularly university students during the long summer break.
There are a handful of bars dotted along the beach which add to the party atmosphere, though Otaru Dream Beach is also a great place to relax.
The beach is also famous as one of the best places in Hokkaido to see the sunset, with the sun disappearing into the Sea of Japan at the end of the day.
Otaru Dream Beach is at 3 Chome-7-0 Zenibako, Otaru, Hokkaido 047-0261.
7- Takenohama Beach, Hyogo Prefecture
Hyogo’s most famous landmark is Himeji Castle, but Takenohama Beach on the opposite side of the prefecture is a hidden gem.
40 miles east of Tottori’s dunes, the secluded Takenohama beach is blessed with gorgeous turquoise waters and framed by picturesque mountains topped with a lighthouse.
As well as swimming, kayaking in the calm sea waters is very popular here.
Although the area is off the beaten track, there are several onsen resorts nearby, making this the perfect spot for a relaxing break.
Takenohama Beach is at Takenocho Takeno, Toyooka, Hyogo 669-6201.
8- Ibusuki, Kagoshima Prefecture
Ibusuki beach is one of the more unique beaches in Japan. Located in the prefecture of Kagoshima right at the southern tip of Kyushu, Ibusuki is a famous onsen destination, with hundreds of hot springs around the town.
Around two million people visit Ibusuki each year, and the town’s geothermal beach is a major draw.
Ibusuki’s naturally heated beach is famous for its sand baths.
Here you can be buried up to the neck in Ibusuki’s hot sand, which is said to be good for blood circulation, muscle pain as well as detoxification.
Ibusuki beach is at 5 Chome-26-34 Yunohama, Ibusuki, Kagoshima 891-0406.
9- Kabira Bay – Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture
The islands of Okinawa are full of some of the most beautiful beaches in Japan.
Ishigaki is closer to Taiwan than mainland Japan, and it’s also home to Kabira Bay.
Kabira Bay is one of the most stunning spots in Japan, thanks to its white-sand beach.
Surrounded by dense trees and the dazzlingly clear turquoise blue water, Kabira Bay is a small slice of heaven.
Swimming in the sea is not allowed as the bay is one of the only places in Japan where black pearls are cultivated.
However, you can take trips out in glass-bottomed boats to get a close-up glimpse of the diverse range of sea life that lives in the bay.
Kabira Bay is at 911 Kabira, Ishigaki, Okinawa 907-0453.
10- Shirahama Beach – Wakayama Prefecture
Shirahama Beach in Wakayama prefecture is often called the best beach in Japan’s Kansai region.
It’s even been granted the title of sister beach to Waikiki beach in Hawaii.
At 500 metres long, Shirahama Beach is a hugely popular tourist spot, particularly with people from Osaka.
Shirahama’s popularity is helped by the town’s many hot springs.
With several hot spring baths and hotels nearby, this is one of Japan’s most famous onsen resorts.
There are two hot spring baths, Shirasuna and Sakinoyu, open to the public next to Shirahama Beach.
Shirahama Beach is at Shirahama, Nishimuro District, Wakayama 649-2211.
11- Furuzamami Beach – Okinawa Prefecture
Furuzamami beach is another of Okinawa’s stunning stretches of sand.
A curved kilometre-long coral sand beach, this is a fabulous spot for snorkelling as well as swimming.
The crystal-clear waters off Furuzamami beach are home to a diverse array of tropical sea life and sea turtles, which you can sometimes spot during a dive.
You can also explore the coral reefs that lie underwater and can hire diving and snorkelling gear from the small shops that dot the beach.
From here there are also boat trips that sail out to other parts of the coastline where you can see more of the area’s coral reefs.
Furuzamami Beach is at Zamami, Shimajiri District, Okinawa 901-3402.
12- Emerald Beach – Okinawa Prefecture
Located on the Motobu Peninsula on the west coast of the island of Okinawa, Emerald Beach is another stretch of coral sand.
Emerald Beach is a Y-shaped beach and the only beach located within a lagoon in Japan.
Here, the sea waters are known for their splendid bright blue colour, almost mirroring Okinawa’s stunning blue skies.
Though snorkelling is prohibited, swimming is allowed, with safety nets placed in the sea to keep out jellyfish.
At various times of the year, sea turtles gather on the beach to lay their eggs.
Emerald Beach is at Bise, Okinawa 905-0207.
13- Jodogahama Beach – Iwate Prefecture
Iwate’s Jodogahama Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Japan due to the diverse range of beautiful natural scenery that surrounds the beach.
Although the beach is relatively small, it’s surrounded by a collection of white, rocky islands that jut out into the nearby sea.
Many of the islands are covered in green trees, surrounded by the beautiful blue sea waters.
This beautiful scenery is how the beach gets its name; Jodogahama means “pure land beach” in Japanese.
In Buddhism, ‘pure land’ means paradise, and it’s easy to see why Jodogahama beach got its name.
Jodogahama Beach is at Hitachihamacho, Iwate 027-0001.
14- Hatsu beach – Fukuoka Prefecture
Hatsu beach is on the northern coastline of Fukuoka prefecture, almost halfway between the cities of Kitakyushu and Fukuoka.
The beach is in the Genkai Quasi-National Park, a protected area of natural beauty that stretches across the three neighbouring prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki.
Hatsu beach is popular in summer as a swimming beach thanks to the area’s relatively calm waters, though surfing is popular here too.
An area of incredible natural beauty, loggerhead turtles are known to lay their eggs on Hatsu beach during the breeding season.
Hatsu beach is at Hara, Fukuoka 811-4202.
15- Kamagari Kenmin-No-Hama, Hiroshima Prefecture
Kamagari Kenmin-no-hama beach sits at the southern tip of Kami-kamagari Island in Hiroshima prefecture.
The island is just one of hundreds found within the Seto Inland Sea that separates three of Japan’s main islands, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu.
Kamagari Kenmin-no-hama beach is a curved 400-metre white sand beach with glorious views towards the Seto Inland Sea.
The beach is another popular summertime spot, with a natural hot spring at the beach’s eastern end and Kure Kamagari Observatory on its western edge.
Kamagari Kenmin-No-Hama is at Kamagaricho Oura, Kure, Hiroshima 737-0402.
16- Odaiba Beach, Tokyo
Odaiba beach is an artificial beach on the island of Odaiba, the entertainment island located in Tokyo bay.
While it doesn’t share the natural scenery of the other beaches on our list, Odaiba beach is a wonderful place to relax on a sunny day in Tokyo.
Though swimming in the waters of Tokyo Bay is not allowed, at 800 metres long, Odaiba beach offers some of the best views of some of Tokyo’s most famous landmarks, including the Rainbow Bridge and the Fuji Television Headquarters building.
Odaiba beach is at 1 Chome-4 Daiba, Minato City, Tokyo 135-0091.
17- Katsurahama Beach, Kochi Prefecture
Katsurahama Beach is located almost exactly halfway along the southern coastline of Shikoku island in the prefecture of Kochi.
Sandwiched between a coastline of green pine trees and the beautiful deep-blue sea, Katsurahama beach is one of the most beautiful spots in Kochi.
The beach is also famous as a moon-viewing spot thanks to the clear skies above the sea at night.
Strong tides mean that swimming in the sea at Katsurahama is not allowed, though the beach is still a popular place to relax in fine weather. There are excellent views of the beach and surrounding coastline from the walkway up to the small, picturesque Ryuogu shrine nearby.
Katsurahama Beach is at Urado, 781-0262.
18- Kikugahama Beach, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Kikugahama beach is within walking distance of the centre of the historic city of Hagi in Yamaguchi prefecture.
Another curved bay beach, Kikugahama, is just over a kilometre long. Kikugahama’s white sands are surrounded by green pine trees, most notably the tree-covered Mount Shizukiyama that stands over the beaches’ western tip.
Between Kikugahama beach and Mount Shizukiyama are Hagi’s castle ruins and Shizukiyama shrine, both situated inside a lovely green park.
Kikugahama beach is also famous for its fabulous sunsets, where in the late evening the setting sun turns the sky a stunning shade of red.
Kikugahama Beach is at〒758-0057 Yamaguchi, Hagi, Horiuchi.
19- Aoshima Beach, Miyazaki Prefecture
Miyazaki prefecture’s Aoshima beach is a thin but long stretch of sand that is much loved by tourists and locals alike.
The beach faces the Pacific Ocean, and the strong waves mean that this is a great place to come for surfing.
With numerous facilities, including shops and cafes nearby, Aoshima beach is always popular during the year’s warmer months.
A bridge leads from the beach to Aoshima Island, crossing over a jagged basalt rock formation known as the Devil’s Washboard on the way.
On Aoshima Island is the beautiful Aoshima Shrine, set within a jungle in the heart of the island and believed to bring good fortune to couples in love.
Aoshima Beach is at 2 Chome-1 Aoshima, Miyazaki, 889-2162.
20- Angel Road, Kagawa Prefecture
Angel Road is the name of a short sandbar on Shodoshima in Kagawa prefecture that is only visible during low tide.
When not hidden underneath the seawater, the Angel Road sandbar connects the large island of Shodoshima to three smaller outer islands.
Angel Road is best seen during the summer when low tide occurs twice a day and lasts longer.
Angel Road is famous for being a romantic spot and is an incredibly popular destination for young couples. For the best view of the road, take the steep steps up to the observation platform on the southern tip of Shodoshima, where you can also ring a Love Bell.
Angel Road is at〒761-4661 Kagawa, Shozu District, Tonosho.
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