15 Best Beaches in Japan to Visit During Summer Season

15 Best Beaches in Japan You Should Definitely Visit

Admire the harmony between sandy beaches and torii gates, for instance.

If you are getting ready for a summer vacation in Japan, how about checking out some beaches to complete your experience? This island country has tons of beaches for you to explore, frolic in the water, and even have a barbeque party! Here’s our roundup of the best beaches in Japan for your ideal summer vacation, whether you are looking for a place just outside of Tokyo or if you are all the way south to Okinawa.

Also read: 10 Unique Airbnb Homes in Japan for the Trip of a Lifetime

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Beaches in Japan that are in or near Tokyo

1. Odaiba Beach

Odaiba beach, beaches near tokyo

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After a fruitful shopping excursion and strolling through museums in Tokyo, how about going out to Odaiba Beach to feel the sand beneath your feet? You’ll find this man-made beach on the reclaimed land of Tokyo Bay. Originally built for defence purposes back in the Edo Period, the area was later developed into a popular tourist attraction. 

It is also the only beach within Tokyo itself, making it one of the best beaches in Japan for city dwellers and tourists. Even though you are not allowed to swim here, it’s still ok to dip your feet in the water to cool off. Expect a magnificent view of the skyscrapers, the iconic Rainbow Bridge, as well as Tokyo Tower. 

There are also summer activities lined up here. Every third Monday of July is Marine Day and Odaiba commemorates it through a Lantern Festival. At night, the coastline is lit up by rows of multi-coloured lanterns, sometimes forming shapes or letters. It is a sight not to miss!

Also read: 10 Summer Festivals in Japan You Have to Experience At Least Once

2. Yuigahama Beach

Home to the second largest Buddha statue in Japan, Kamakura is a seaside city close to Tokyo that boasts a selection of beaches. Yuigahama Beach is one of the popular ones as it is a twenty-minute walk from JR Kamakura Station. The calm waves make it perfect for swimming in summer. 

Summer at Yuigahama is also when beach huts open for business, offering cold delicacies and meals. A must-try dessert is kakigori: shaved ice that comes in many fruit flavours. This will definitely help you cool down after a day out in the sun!

If that isn’t enough for your summer bucket list in Japan, there’s the Kamakura Fireworks Festival in mid-July. Yuigahama Beach gives you the best view of these unique fireworks that form semi-circular arches right above the water. 

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3. Oarai Sun Beach

In need of some good travel photos? Oarai Sun Beach in Ibaraki Prefecture will give you plenty. This is one of the beaches near Tokyo ideal for Instagram-worthy shots. At certain times of the day (usually early in the morning), the residual water on the shore forms a natural mirror along the coastline. 

Aside from this, you can try out different kinds of water sports here, from surfing the waves to jet-skiing. In summer, you can also catch the exciting volleyball competitions and end the day with a breathtaking fireworks display. 

Before travelling two hours back to Tokyo, take a stroll down the coast to admire the picturesque view of Oarai Isosaki Shrine’s Kamiiso-no-torii (Gate of the Seashore God). This gate stands proudly on the rocks out at sea and is quite a sight to behold. 

4. Shirahama Beach

shirahama beach, rocks, torii, sea

Image credit: Jordymeow via Canva Pro

How about a torii gate right at the beach’s doorstep? Shirahama Beach in Shizuoka Prefecture is about three hours from Tokyo and is ideal for both surfing and swimming. Its name translates to “white sands beach” in English, and it certainly lives up to that. 

Here, you can observe the harmony between culture and nature, with Shirahama Shrine’s red torii gate standing proudly on a rock on the shoreline. It was placed there to protect the place against evil.

Also read: 10 Must-See Temples and Shrines in Japan

Beaches in Okinawa to add to your itinerary

Revered as the “Japanese Hawaii,” Okinawa Prefecture has over 100 beaches with powdery white sands, crystal-clear waters. Not only is it a popular tourist destination, but it is also frequented by locals who enjoy island-hopping. Read on to find the best Okinawa beach for your island getaway.

5. Manza Beach

Looking for a beach resort experience? Manza Beach on the main Okinawa Island is just the place for you. It is just in front of ANA Intercontinental Manza Beach Resort, which manages the wide range of water sports you can do there as a visitor. Fret not, however, since the beach is also open for public use.

Slide down inflatable slides at Manza Ocean Park, one of Japan’s largest water parks! Beyond the shores, you can also go scuba diving with the fishes. Otherwise, there’s kayaking; it’s a great way to get a glimpse into the marine world of fish and coral reels if you don’t want to be underwater. This is one of the best beaches in Japan to try out all kinds of water activities!

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6. Sunayama Beach

sunayama beach, arch, okinawa beach

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On Miyako Island lies Sunayama Beach: an Okinawa beach with a breathtaking arched rock formation. From the parking area, you’ll have to take a short hike in order to get here. But it is all worth it when you see this natural masterpiece. 

Stroll along the soft sand and take in the scent of the sea, or simply chill under a colourful umbrella and soak in some Vitamin D. You can even swim in the clear blue waters, but be careful of strong winds. 

Note: Going under the arch is no longer allowed as it is deemed unsafe.

7. Kaiji Beach

You may have heard of coloured sand, but what about star-shaped sand particles? Kaiji Beach on Taketomi Island is where you can hold these fallen stars in your palms. You probably can’t tell just from afar, but you can get a good look at the spiky gems with a magnifying glass — this gives you an idea of how small the grains are. 

These “sand” particles are actually the shells of tiny organisms called Baculogypsina sphaerulata. As these creatures live in the Pacific Ocean, it may explain why their shells get swept up onto the shores of some Okinawa beaches. Although, according to Okinawan folklore, these particles are actually the bones of star children who fell from the sky and were killed by a sea serpent. It’s fascinating to think of it as a piece of the galaxy that remains on the seabed for all to admire. 

kaiji beach, tree, star sand

Image credit (L-R): Taketomi Town Official Website; gyro via Canva Pro

Unfortunately, taking these stars home is prohibited in Kaiji Beach, in hopes to preserve these unique specimens. Perhaps you may want to look for other souvenirs to commemorate your visit. Other than counting stars, you can take a dip in the water and even go snorkelling. 

8. Tokashiku Beach

Ever wanted to be Nemo and race underwater with sea turtles? This Okinawa beach is where you can fulfil that childhood dream. Tokashiku Beach is on Tokashiki Island, 30 minutes away by ferry from Okinawa Island.

Relax on the warm sand at the shore before diving in for an aquatic adventure. Aside from befriending sea turtles while you snorkel, you can admire the colourful corals and fish of different sizes that exist in harmony.

Other beaches in Japan that you shouldn’t skip

9. Jodogahama Beach

Haven’t got enough of picturesque beaches surrounded by majestic rock formations? Jodogahama Beach in Iwate Prefecture is one of the best beaches in Japan with such scenery. With a name translating to “Pure Land Beach,” this wondrous place within Sanriku Recovery National Park offers a healing experience. Admire the walls of rocks decorated with pine trees while swimming around in the unpolluted waters. 

It’s like a Japanese garden, but everything is completely the work of nature! In fact, a Buddhist priest coined the name after comparing its immense beauty to Buddha’s Paradise. Interestingly, the coast is made up of pebbles instead of soft sand, which adds to the garden-like landscape of this place. It proves that apart from being hangout spots, Japan beaches can give you a sort of spiritual experience, too.

10. Otaru Dream Beach

Instead of just visiting Hokkaido to ski in winter, you can also visit its lovely beaches in summer. Otaru Dream Beach is a favourite amongst tourists and Japanese university students, as you can drink at beach bars and get together with barbeque parties on the shore. You can even pitch a tent and stay the night, letting the rhythmic waves lull you to sleep. 

Surrounding the coastal area are houses and charming mountains that make a vacation away from the city even more enjoyable. You should definitely check out beaches in Japan like this one if you want a lively experience. 

11. Kamayahama Beach

You may have built a sandcastle or two when you were younger, but sandcastle-building is taken to a whole new level at Kamayahama Beach. This beach in Akita Prefecture is where the Mitane Sand Craft Festival is held every July. Professional sand sculptors from different parts of the country come here to work on massive sand sculptures. 

These artworks are then preserved on the coast for two weeks. Against the backdrop of huge wind turbines, the sand sculptures look absolutely gorgeous. Take a walk and admire these art museum-worthy sculptures. Apart from the spectacular sandcastle-building event, the beach has shimmering blue waters that invite you in for a swim, as well as snack stalls that open along the coast in summer. 

12. Hakuto Beach

Hakuto Beach, whose name translates to “White Rabbit Beach,” is located in Tottori Prefecture within the Chūgoku region. Its name originates from the tale of the White Rabbit of Inaba: one of the oldest Japanese love stories about a rabbit god who helped a kind man win over the heart of a princess. The spirit of the rabbit lives in the nearby Hakuto Shrine.

Interestingly, if you stand along the coast, you can spot a volcanic rock islet that is shaped like a rabbit lying down. The “white” in its name refers to the colour of the fine sand that you can lie on. You could also swim a little further out to get a better glimpse of this sleeping rabbit.

13. Shichiri Mihama Beach

shichiri mihama beach, longest beach, best beaches japan

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Take a trip down to see Shichiri Mihama Beach, the longest beach in Japan, which spans 22 kilometres from Kumano City to Kiho City. Fun fact: The beach is actually part of a pilgrimage trail, Kumano Kodo, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It is also different from most beaches in Japan for its rather straight coastline and smooth-edged pebbles filling the shore (instead of the usual sand). These pebbles are so beautiful that you can buy these as accessories from nearby shops! 

Although swimming is not allowed here as the currents are too strong, you can still look forward to the Kumano Fireworks Festival. This takes place in August, during which food and game stores line up along this immensely long coast. After exploring the bazaar, you can secure a spot by the coast to watch the two-hour firework display. A matsuri (festival) by the coast while admiring fireworks sounds like something straight out of a romance anime, except that you can live it out if you come here.

14. Keya Beach

When we are talking about an exciting beach party, Keya Beach in Itoshima is where you should be going. This Fukuoka beach is constantly bustling with activity, owing to its popular beach huts and cafes within the vicinity. As the waters are relatively shallow, it is a safe place for families and amateur swimmers. While sunbathing at the shore, you can also admire the mountainous scenery surrounding the beach. Activities don’t just stop after dark — this is also the place for camping enthusiasts! 

There’s never a dull moment at Keya Beach during summer as the Sunset Live Music Festival is held at the end of summer every year. Yes, a concert on the sandy beaches! It is Kyushu Island’s biggest outdoor concert that lasts for a few days and has some 15,000 attendees. You can expect to catch homegrown bands and artists performing songs of genres ranging from jazz to rock. That’s definitely a summer beach experience to try out!

15. Sakurai Futamigaura

Considered to be more of a hidden gem of Itoshima, Sakurai Futamigaura is a peaceful, scenic beach where you can spot rocks peppered around the coastline. This is one of the best beaches in Japan with scenic views of a white torii gate that leads out to sea, as well as two rocks connected by a rope. The Meoto Iwa (Wedded Rocks) represent the deities Izanagi and Izanami from the Japanese creation myth and symbolises a happy marriage. This Fukuoka beach also gives you the most romantic view at sunset, which you can enjoy by finding a spot close to the shore. 

Also read: 11 Underrated Destinations in Japan That Are Worth Discovering

There are certainly more beaches to discover all over the archipelago, but you can start by exploring the best beaches in Japan listed here. Don’t forget to stay cool and keep hydrated while you are there!

About Author

Jessie Lee

Jessie is a writer and an avid dreamer. She enjoys quiet time pondering over new ideas and stories. If she isn't dreaming about her next travel destination, she's probably engrossed in anime and K-dramas.