11 Must Know Beaches In Japan For First Time Visitors

Do you yearn to work on your tan while resting on white sand beaches? Do you want to see coral reefs, sea turtles, and other beautiful creatures? We know a place for you to do it. Believe it or not, we’re not talking about a Caribbean island. We’re actually talking about Japan!

While most people think of Japan as a gorgeous island filled with cities and spas, the truth is that it has a beautiful beaches worthy of a visit. Let’s take a look at the most popular beaches in Japan.

Okinawa Main Islands’ Beaches

Generally speaking, almost any beach in Okinawa prefecture is going to be a great pick. This is doubly true when you’re on the main island. However, there are several here that deserve their own accolades:

  • Nishihama. Known for having a unique Japanese dialect called “Nishi,” the beaches around Nishihama features an ocean that has a one-of-a-kind hue known as Hateruma Blue. It’s a view you have to see to believe.
  • Yonaha. Picturesque white sand beaches are what this Japanese beach land is famous for. It’s considered to be one of the best places for people who really did the ‘sand’ part of “sand and surf.”
  • Sunayama. Sandy beaches aside, do you know what else tends to be a popular place to go in Okinawa prefecture? Sunayama. You can thank the Instagram-ready natural stone arches for that. Elegant beaches with great views of the Pacific Ocean make this a great pick.

In all honesty, you can’t go wrong with any beach in Okinawa.

Yakushima Island, Kyushu

Yakushima Island Beach

Oh, Kyushu! If you are looking for an island with many beaches that feature gorgeous views of unadulterated nature, this is it. Yakushima Island offers turquoise waters and some of the largest cypress trees in all of Japan.

This is one of the less popular destinations, but it’s absolutely worth a visit. During the summer months, you could swear that you’re in the Caribbean. The wildlife here is impeccable, and the smell of cypress trees is addictive.

The biggest draw, though, is the annual observation of sea turtles as they make their first foray out into the ocean. Baby turtles can be seen during the warmer months, and yes, they are as spectacular as you might think.

Zamami Beach, Kerama Islands

Zamami Beach

Are you a fan of natural reefs? Tokashiki, Zamami and Aka are the three Kerama Islands you’re going to want to check out. The beach life here is great for both summer and winter. During the winter, people travel to the islands to check out the humpback whales as they migrate.

During the summer season, you get to enjoy diving in coral reefs, a wide range of outdoor activities, and public facilities that let you change. Zamami Island is best for people who want to enjoy crystal clear waters and coral tours.

They also have tons of forests, hills, and observation decks. So, if you want to make a day trip of forest hikes, you can do that too.

Shirahama Beach, Shizuoka

Shirahama Beach

Without a doubt, one of the best beaches to go has to be this 800-kilometer long stretch known as Shirahama beach. A surfer’s paradise to the core, the waves here are great and so are the facilities. Since it’s become such a big tourist destination, it also has more amenities than most other beaches in this list.

You can get food by the beach, find paid showers, get swimming lessons, and also visit a Shinto shrine that overlooks the beach. It’s a perfect blend of culture and fun. It’s one of the more popular beaches on the Izu peninsula. Shizuoka prefecture never looked so good!

Yurigahama Beach, Kagoshima

Yurigahama Beach

Did you ever hear about the phenomenon known as “phantom beaches?” A phantom beach is a beach that is only visitable during low tide. Yurigahama beach has a beach within a beach. During the spring’s low tide, a sandbar appears in the ocean, creating an oasis that is only visitable on specific days and hours.

To get the full unique experience, you will have to schedule your visit at the right time. Then, you’re going to have to rent a glass bottom boat. Because the water here is so clear, you will get a full view of the ocean and snowy white sand beneath.

Hatenohama Beach, Kume Island

Hatenohama Beach

Kume Island, as a whole, is known for having tons of white sand beaches to choose from. However, there is one beach that we can truly say rules them all: Hatenohama Beach. Hatenohama is famous for being treeless, filled with white sand, and having an unusually shallow ocean entry.

You can swim with manta rays, sea turtles, and tropical fish here. When you’re off the beach, you can observe ancient castle ruins through a self-guided tour. This remote island has its own ferry port, so you don’t have to worry about too much of a hassle getting there.

Jodogahama Beach, Sanriku

Jodogahama Beach

This is considered to be the best of the best beaches in Japan by the majority of travel sites, and rightfully so. Jodogahama has a unique white pebble beach featuring gorgeous and surreal rocky outcroppings. While you can always enjoy beachside fun like tanning and swimming, this beach is popular for other reasons.

Cruises will help you discover the Blue Cave, a cave that became famous for its cobalt-blue water. You can also try fishing o going to the local fishing museum to learn about Japanese fishing methods. Isolated as it is, you can get amazing views of the night sky, complete with constellations.

Yugihama Beach, Kamakura

Yugihama Beach

Kamakura is a favorite hotspot of urbanites from Tokyo, primarily because it’s only 40 minutes away by train. While we picked Yugihama beach, the truth is that visiting here gives you more beaches worth a shot. Right next to Yugihama are Zaimokuza and Koshigoe beaches.

In a nutshell, you can take your pick. All of the beaches have basic facilities that make it easy to enjoy the sun and sand. This beach is popular because of its easy access to shade huts, active beach volleyball scene, water biking, water sports, and wakeboarding.

Once you’ve had your fun at one beach, going to a sister beach is just a quick walk away.

Katsurahama Beach, Kochi

Katsurahama Beach

Kochi prefecture is famous for Katsurahama Beach, and rightfully so. Featuring a classic statue of samurai Sakamoto Ryoma, the Kasturahama beach is just as much about soaking in Japanese culture as it is taking a swim.

Great swimming and water sports opportunities are available, as are quaint shops and restaurants. When you’re done shopping around, you can also check out the Katsurahama Aquarium.

Odaiba Beach, Tokyo

Odaiba Beach

Are you interested in staying close to the city center of Tokyo? Well, Odaiba might be for you. This is the only beach in Tokyo’s city limits. It also happens to be a man-made beach nicknamed “Entertainment Island” for its access to amazing entertainment venues, events, and restaurants.

This beach is accessible via the Rainbow Bridge in Tokyo, and is close to the Decks Shopping Mall, a life-sized Unicorn Gundam, and is also the site of a lantern festival. The only catch? Well you can’t swim here. The water quality is not good enough for it.

Even so, it’s hard to hate on the great pop culture collections they have here. It’s just a good time, all around.

Sakurai Futamigaura, Itoshima

Itoshima Beach

Finally, let’s talk about one of the most jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches in Japan. This beach isn’t just a typical white sand beach. It’s a beach made for couples. This beach features a pair of rocks known as “the married couple” that are joined by a Shimenawa rope.

Close by, visitors also get to enjoy the view of a wood torii gate. You don’t have to be Shinto to recognize why Japanese people adore this beach. The romantic sunset views are exceptional, making it a popular beach for couples who want to add a little romance to their lives.

Sakiura Beach, Ogasawara Island

Ogasawara Beach

Technically, this beach is found in Tokyo-to, but this is not the city by any means of the word. Sakiura beach is one of the more remote locations on this list. Located in Futami Bay, Sakiura Beach is great for swimming, but that’s not the only reason it made our list of top beaches.

You see, Sakiura is a unique beach because you can see the top of a partially-submerged shipwreck right off the coast. Yes, you can swim there, too.

It’s amazing to think about what kind of adventures that ship was hoping to have when it first went out to sea. Sadly, it seems like the ship has become part of the sea.

Which Of These Japan Beaches do You Want To Visit?

Let’s be real. Japanese beaches are amazing, and they also happen to be one of the most overlooked aspects of traveling in Japan. If you want to see amazing beaches on tropical islands, keep some of these names in mind when you book your next trip.

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