Japan is an archipelago made up of 6,852 islands. So it’s no surprise that there are plenty of beautiful beaches to discover here. From the well-known beaches of Okinawa to the lesser-known gems dotting the coastline, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to relax and soak up the sun. I spent a month traveling around the country, and I have to say I was impressed by the quality and variety of beaches on offer. So in this article, I’ll share my top 12 picks for The Best Beaches in Japan. Read on!
1. Tsunoshima Island
Tsunoshima is an island located in the Yamaguchi prefecture known for its beautiful beaches. In fact, the island has been ranked as one of the best islands in Japan for its beaches.
The island is best known for its Tsunoshima Bridge, Japan’s second longest bridge. The 1.8-kilometer–long bridge connects the island to the mainland and offers stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea. So make sure to stop at Amagase Park to take pictures of the iconic bridge.
But what really makes Tsunoshima worth visiting is its beaches. The island has some of the most beautiful beaches in Japan, with beautiful white sand and clear blue waters. The most popular beach on the island is Ohama Beach, which is known for its white sand and stunning views of the sunset over the sea. This is a great beach for families as the shallow waters make it perfect for swimming and playing in the waves.
Another great beach on the island is the Shiokaze Cobalt Blue Beach. This beach gets its name from the deep blue waters that make it perfect for swimming and snorkeling. And the beach is also great for beginner surfers as the waves are usually small.
Apart from its beautiful beaches, Tsunoshima is also home to a lighthouse that offers stunning views of the island and the surrounding sea. You can tour the inside of the lighthouse and even climb to the top for a breathtaking view.
In addition, the island is home to several hotels and restaurants. So you can easily spend a few days here exploring all that Tsunoshima has to offer.
2. Okinawa Beaches
Talk about the best beaches in Japan, and you can’t go past Okinawa. This prefecture is best known for its beautiful white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and lush tropical vegetation. In fact, the island of Okinawa is often referred to as the “Hawaii of Japan.”
And with over 160 islands in the prefecture, there’s no shortage of beaches to explore. Okinawa Island is the largest island in the prefecture and home to the capital, Naha. This is where you’ll find some of the best beaches in Okinawa, including the famous Manza Beach. This beautiful white sand beach is located in the northern part of Okinawa Island. It’s one of the most popular beaches on the island and is well-known for its clear turquoise waters.
This beach is popular for swimming, sunbathing, and kayaking. And remember, the beach is part of the ANA Intercontinental Manza Beach Resort, which is one of the most popular resorts in Okinawa.
Located nearby is the even more beautiful Cape Manzamo. The Cape is known for its stunning cliffs, which offer breathtaking views of the ocean. Cape Manzamo is also a popular spot for snorkeling and picnicking.
If you’re looking for more secluded beaches in Japan, you can head to the nearby Kouri Island. Kouri Island is connected to Okinawa Island by a bridge and is best known for its beautiful beaches. In fact, the island is often referred to as the “Island of Love” due to its beautiful natural setting.
And last but not least is Furuzamami beach. This small beach is located on the island of Zamami and is known for its beautiful coral reefs. Zamami beach is a great spot for snorkeling and diving.
With over 100 Japanese beaches to choose from, these are just some of my personal favorites. But whether you’re looking for a beautiful white sand beach or a secluded spot to relax, you’re sure to find it here in Okinawa.
3. Kamakura Beaches
Kamakura is a small city located in Kanagawa Prefecture, about an hour south of Tokyo. Its best known for its temples and shrines, but Kamakura also has some great beaches that are perfect for a summer day trip from the city.
The most popular beach in Kamakura is Yuigahama Beach, which is located just a short walk from the Kamakura station. This beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. There are also a few restaurants and cafes nearby, making it easy to grab a bite between swims.
Another great beach in Kamakura is Zaimokuza Beach, which is located a short distance from Yuigahama. This beach is also popular for swimming and sunbathing, but it’s also a great spot for surfing. If you’re not into surfing, you can also rent a SUP (stand-up paddle board) and go for a paddle.
If you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, I recommend visiting Enoshima Beach. This beach is located on an island just off the coast of Kamakura and can be reached by taking a short ferry ride from Yuigahama Beach.
If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the sun and the sea, Kamakura is definitely the place to be. With its many beaches and easy access from Tokyo, Kamakura is the perfect spot for a summer day trip.
4. Odaiba Beach
Located in Tokyo, Odaiba Beach is one of the best beaches in Japan for city dwellers. I say this because Odaiba may not be as beautiful as some other beaches on this list. But being the only Tokyo official beach, it’s definitely the best beach in the city.
The man-made beach was created as part of a large redevelopment project in the 1990s. And although the water here might not be great for swimming, it’s definitely perfect for taking a stroll along the shore or relaxing in the sun.
The best time to visit Odaiba Beach is during the summer months. This is when the city organizes sailing competitions and beach volleyball tournaments. And the best part is that you can watch the competitions for free.
But even if you’re not here during the summer, Odaiba Beach is still worth visiting. This is because although the beach is man-made, it still offers stunning views of Tokyo Bay and the city skyline. And with plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby, it’s the perfect place to spend a day in the sun.
Just be warned that the beach can get quite crowded on weekends and holidays. So if you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, I recommend heading to one of the other beaches on this list.
5. Shirahama Onsen
Nobody goes to Japan without taking a dip in an onsen, and one of the best onsens in the country is Shirahama Onsen. The hot spring town is located in the Wakayama prefecture and is best known for its milky white hot springs.
But what makes Shirahama Onsen even more special is its beach. In fact, the town gets its name from the white sand beaches (shirahama means white sand in Japanese) that line the coast. And the town’s Shirarahama Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Japan and is well-known for its beautiful white sand.
The beautiful sandy shorelines and clear blue waters make it a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. I spent most of my time on this beach walking along the shore and taking in the stunning scenery.
And being among the most developed beaches in Japan, Shirarahama Beach has all the amenities you need for a perfect day at the beach. There are plenty of restaurants, cafes, and shops lining the beach.
If you’re looking for a more secluded beach experience, I recommend heading to the nearby Sotoura beach. This beach is less developed and has a more remote feel to it. But whether you choose Shirarahama Beach or Sotoura Beach, you’re sure to have a great time as both offer beautiful white sand beaches and stunning views of the ocean.
6. Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, best known for its beautiful beaches. The island is located in the Okinawa prefecture and is part of the Yaeyama Islands.
Ishigaki Island has some of the best beaches in Japan and is best known for its powdery white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. The most famous beach on the island is Kabira Bay, which is best known for its turquoise waters, white sands, and dense vegetation. Take a glass-bottomed boat out to the bay to get a closer look at the beautiful coral reefs.
Another great beach on Ishigaki Island is Yonehara Beach. This beach is best known for its beautiful coral reefs and is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving. The best time to visit the beach is during the summer when the water is at its clearest.
The last beach I recommend is Fusaki Beach, which is best known for its beautiful white sand beaches and is a great spot for watching the sunset.
7. Jodogahama Beach
Talk about natural beauty, and Jodogahama beach will surely come to mind. This picturesque beach is located in the Iwate prefecture and is best known for its dramatic coastline and stunning rock formations. It is believed that the beach was created over 52 million years ago from volcanic activity.
The beautiful sandy beach is flanked by towering cliffs and unique rock formations, making it one of the most scenic beaches in Japan. And the best part is that it’s relatively untouched and unspoiled by tourism.
Jodogahama Beach is also one of the best beaches for swimming as the water is clean and clear. Most of the beach is shallow, making it perfect for families with small children. I enjoyed walking along the beach and taking in the stunning scenery. And from what I saw, I can confidently say that this is one of the most beautiful beaches in Japan that you need to visit.
Kozushima is a small island located in the Izu archipelago off the coast of Tokyo. The island is best known for its beautiful beaches, clear blue waters, and scenic views.
One of the best things about Kozushima is that it’s relatively untouched by tourism. So if you’re looking for a more authentic and local Japanese beach experience, then this is the place for you.
The island has many different beaches to choose from, but my favorite was the Akasaki boardwalk. This is one of the most popular swimming beaches on the island. And if you’re looking for adventure, this beach is home to beautiful coral reefs that are perfect for snorkeling.
Another great beach on the island is Maehama beach. This is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer season, so you can feel safe swimming in the clear blue waters.
Other great beaches on the island include Sawajiri Beach and Nagahama Beach. Both beaches are perfect for a day of swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing.
9. Aoshima Beach
Aoshima Beach is another one of the best beaches in Japan, known for its dramatic rock formations. The rock formations, which are called the Devils washboards, are a popular spot for photographers and tourists alike. And while the best time to see the rocks is during low tide, the beach is still beautiful even when the tide is high.
The Devil’s washboards are not the only thing that makes this beach special. The clear blue waters and beautiful sandy shoreline make it a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. And with plenty of restaurants and shops located nearby the beach, Aoshima is the perfect place to spend a day at the beach.
Don’t forget to check out the nearby Aoshima Shrine, one of Japan’s most popular shrines. The shrine is located at the heart of the island and is best known for its beautiful torii gate.
10. Tomori Beach
If you’re looking for a calm holiday by the sea, Tomori beach is the perfect place for you. This beach is located on the east coast of Amami Oshima Island in Kagoshima prefecture. What makes Tomori beach so special is its remote location and tranquil atmosphere.
The beach is best known for its beautiful white sand and emerald green waters. This is a popular beach for families with small children as it is relatively calm and has shallower waters. In addition, this beach is also a great spot for diving and snorkeling as there are many coral reefs located nearby.
The beach is also surrounded by scenic rock formations and lush vegetation, which makes it a great place to go for a walk or hike. You can also find many small caves and coves to explore along the coastline.
All in all, Tomori is a great place to relax and enjoy the natural beauty of Japanese beaches. So if you’re looking for a more secluded and tranquil beach experience, then I definitely recommend visiting this beach.
11. The Izu Peninsula
The Izu Peninsula is located in the Shizuoka prefecture and is best known for its hot springs and beaches. And while the hot springs are definitely worth a visit, it’s the peninsula’s beaches that really stand out.
I devoted my first day on the peninsula exploring the beaches on the east coast. And the first beach I visited was Atami Sun Beach. This beautiful dark sand beach is located in the town of Atami and is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. While the beach itself is beautiful, what I really enjoyed about Atami Sun Beach was the people-watching. The beach was full of locals and tourists enjoying the sunny day.
After Atami Sun Beach, I visited Nagahama Beach and Ito Orange Beach. Both beaches are less crowded and offer beautiful sandy shorelines and stunning views of the ocean.
I spent the second day of my trip exploring the beaches on the south coast of the peninsula. I visited Hirizo Beach first. This beach is known for its abundance of colorful fish, making it a popular spot for snorkelers and scuba divers. Yagawa and Kukomi beaches are also popular diving spots. However, note that these beaches have no facilities except showers and toilets.
All in all, the Izu Peninsula is a great place to visit if you’re looking for beautiful beaches in Japan with stunning coastal views. And if you ask me which part of the peninsula has the best beaches, I would say the east coast. But no matter which part of the peninsula you visit, you’re sure to find plenty of beautiful beaches to enjoy.
12. Tokashiki Islands
The final stop on my list of the best beaches in Japan is the Tokashiki Islands. The small group of islands is located in Okinawa and is best known for its beautiful beaches and clear turquoise waters.
The islands are popular among snorkelers and scuba divers as there are many coral reefs located offshore. But even if you’re not into snorkeling or diving, the islands offer plenty of other activities such as swimming, sunbathing, and kayaking. And if you want to explore the island’s interiors, there are also plenty of hiking trails that offer stunning views of the coastline.
I only visited Aharen beach during my time on the Tokashiki Islands, but I was really impressed with what I saw. The beach has beautiful white sand and crystal clear water. Plus, it’s also the most developed beach on the island and has all the amenities you need.
If you’re looking for a more secluded and natural beach experience, I recommend checking out Tokashiki beach. This beach is less developed and offers a more remote feel.
While there are many great beaches to choose from, these 12 best beaches in Japan are definitely worth a visit. Pick a few that best suit your interests and add them to your Japan itinerary. And if you want to stick in one region, then I recommend checking out Okinawa, which has some of the best beaches in the country. They’re all incredibly beautiful and offer a great experience.