The best beaches in Japan

Chiba Beach, photo by Hirotomo on Flickr

Japan is completely surrounded by water, and it also has a huge  number of islands, so it’s no surprise that it has more than enough beaches for even the most passionate beach fanatic. Although most people who travel to Japan are interested in the cultural experience, those who just want to lay on a beach and enjoy the sun will be more than happy to know that Japan has over a thousand beaches. From bustling urban beaches to remote strips of sand where no one ever comes, there are a lot of places to choose from if you want to get your beach fix. Surfing, swimming, sunbathing and sports – there’s a beach for everyone! Here are our picks for the best beaches in Japan.

Yuigahama Beach, Kamakura

If you are spending some exciting weeks in Tokyo and you need to take a breather from city life, you can travel to Kamakura, a nearby port town, and enjoy one of its fine beaches. There are several beaches around Kamakura, all pretty close to Kamakura Station, but one of the best for swimmers if Yuigahama beach, which tends to be really crowded and fun in the summer months.

Panari Beach, Okinawa

Beach in Okinawa, photo by Kumon

Okinawa has some of the best beaches in Japan, and many Japanese who are chasing the sun take a trip to the sandy strips on the shores of Okinawa. Panari Beach, a 20 minutes drive from Sarahama Port, is pretty quiet and it is surrounded by a coral reef, so the waves are never too strong. In addition to swimming, you can also snorkel and scuba dive, as the warm water of Panari beach are home to lots of colorful tropical fish.

Shirahama Beach, Izu

Shirahama Beach is one of the busiest beaches in Japan in summer, and there’s almost always some kind of event and concert that draws people like a magnet. The sand at Shirahama is soft and white, and the water is great for swimming. Although there are usually many people frolicking on the beach, it’s also possible to relax and read a book in a quieter spot.

Chiba Beach

Shirahama beach, photo by Jennifer Murawski

Surfers who are visiting Tokyo and are missing the feel of riding a wave can head to Chiba beach, close to the Japanese capital. The beach looks very pleasant, but it is mostly a destination for surfing. If you’d rather avoid the crowds of Kamakura, you will find that Chiba is much more quiet and relaxing, even if all you want is to lay in the sand.

Nishi Himi, Hateruma Island

Located at the southernmost tip of Japan, Hateruma Island is a lush paradise made completely of coral. Needless to say, there are plenty of snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities on the island, but the main draw is Nishi Himi, an incredible beach with bright white sand and blue, shallow water.

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