Best Beaches in Japan

Best Beaches in Japan

When you’re slurping ramen noodles in a busy bar or zipping between cities on the 'Shinkansen' (bullet train), it can be easy to forget that Japan isn’t just one island, but a whole archipelago with mile upon mile of coastline to explore. And the best beaches in Japan aren’t just the ones found on the southern islands of Okinawa. That tropical spot has its fair share of showstopping sand, but there are beaches a quick hop from the metropolis, too. With the sixth longest coastline in the world, there’s no shortage of seashore to choose from during a holiday in Japan, so we’ve rounded up six of the best to help you plan your trip.


  1. Zaimokuza Beach, Kanagawa
  2. Yonaha Maehama, Miyakojima
  3. Kominato Beach, Chichijima
  4. Jodogahama Beach, Miyako City
  5. Omi-Maiko Beach, Lake Biwa
  6. Hirizo Beach, Izu Peninsula


Zaimokuza Beach, Kanagawa

If the sensory overload of Tokyo has you seeking solace by the sea, hop on a train and head to the coastal city of Kanagawa, a one-hour ride away. Most day-trippers unfurl their towels at Yuigahama (the closest beach to the station), but we recommend strolling a little further to Zaimokuza, where a quieter stretch of sand awaits. Surfers, beach shacks, and sunrise yoga call California to mind – but with views of Mount Fuji on a clear day, this beach could only be in Japan. Busy at weekends and on holidays, and not the country’s most scenic shoreline, Zaimokuza is nonetheless a great place to take a deep breath of sea air before plunging back into the dizzying delights of Tokyo.


Yonaha Maehama, Miyakojima

It wouldn’t be a round-up of the best beaches in Japan without that inevitable entry from Okinawa – the string of 160 islands surrounded by the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean that enjoy warm weather (aka beach weather) all year round. Our tip is to take a 45-minute flight from Naha on Okinawa’s main island to Miyakojima, the fourth-largest island in Okinawa. Yonaha Maehama is among the longest of the island’s beaches; more than four miles of pure white sand lapped by a turquoise tide. During the summer season, lifeguards are stationed on the beach, making it good for family swimming, and shower and changing facilities are available from late March to October. Lounge on the sand, dip in the sea and repeat: the perfect recipe for a tropical beach break.


Kominato Beach, Chichijima

Sitting in solitude in the Pacific Ocean, 620 miles south of Tokyo, the Ogasawara Islands (or Bonin Islands) are a UNESCO Natural World Heritage site and a world away from the neon nights of the metropolis. A world away, or more accurately, 24 hours away – that’s how long it takes to reach Chichijima (one of the two inhabited Ogasawara Islands) via ferry. Once your feet find land again, head to Kominato beach. The calm, clear water is made for swimming; the stretch of white sand just asks to be lazed on; and if you have energy to burn after the long boat ride, there hiking trails to tackle (just make sure to prepare for the heat and humidity!). When darkness falls, the lack of light pollution means the night skies are spectacular; so spectacular you might thank your lucky stars that you added this tropical outpost to your itinerary. To recharge ahead of another day of island life, rest up at a local minshuku, a Japanese-style bed and breakfast.


Jodogahama Beach, Miyako City

Jodogahama means ‘Pure Land’, a Buddhist concept of paradise and a fitting name for such a picturesque beach. A 15-minute bus journey from Miyako Station, this peaceful, pine-backed bay has a pebbled shoreline overlooking rugged outcrops of white stone which jut from the waves. The beach is part of the Sanriku Fukkō National Park, with walking trails to explore; cruise boats to climb aboard; and tranquil summer dips to take in the sea (showers and changing facilities are available). Or you could simply sit back and savour your time in paradise.


Omi-Maiko Beach, Lake Biwa

Sitting north-east of Kyoto, ancient Lake Biwa is Japan’s largest freshwater lake. Omi-Maiko beach sits on the shores of this giant and is a short train journey from both Kyoto (30 minutes) and Osaka (one hour),making it one of the most accessible beaches in Japan for the traveller ticking off these must-see cities. When the summer heat takes hold, join the locals and depart for a dip in the lake, which is just a five-minute walk from Omi-Maiko station. There are shops selling beach essentials like snacks and inflatables, as well as barbecue pits which are free to use so make sure to bring your own food and fuel for a lakeside lunch. With sand and pebbles nestled beside fir trees, the majestic backdrop of the Hira mountains, and the vastness of the water, it’s easy to see why Lake Biwa has fascinated Japanese artists and poets for centuries.


Hirizo Beach, Izu Peninsula

If your kind of beach day is one spent gazing beneath the waves, then Hirizo could be a contender for your snorkelling shortlist. Located on the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula – home to onsen (hot spring) resorts, mountains and beaches – it takes around three hours of train and taxi travel to reach Hirizo from Tokyo. But if you have a serious urge to slip on your snorkel, it’s one of the best beaches in Japan. Once you reach this rocky enclave, crystal clear water awaits; with visibility to a depth of seven metres, you can marvel at colourful fish among the coral without swimming too far. The beach itself is only accessible during the summer by boat shuttle and there are no amenities, however boats depart every five minutes so you can use your all-day ticket to pop back to Nakagi port for a comfort break or bite to eat. Hirizo can be popular at peak times, so try to avoid weekends if you can.