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Photo By: PIXTA/ Hajime
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Jade Beach

A perfect summer destination where the mountain meets the sea, and the beaches are dotted with colorful pebbles.

By Abhijit Sen

On the west coast of Japan between Niigata and Toyama Prefecture, nestled between the mountains on one side and the Sea of Japan on the other, there is a small town called Itoigawa. The place is known as one of the oldest jade production sites in the world. If you are lucky, you can find beautiful and precious jade stones on the pebbly beach of the town, aptly named Jade Beach.

Jade Tale

Jade beach

Photo by: Abhijit Sen Up for a little treasure hunt?

The geological location of the Itogawa city of Niigata Prefecture has been known for centuries for its high-quality jade. Jade in this area has been used since the prehistoric Jomon period, which long predates the Maya culture. Located in central Honshu, Itoigawa is one of Japan’s popular UNESCO Global Geoparks.

Jade is formed deep underground and comes to the surface due to tectonic movement around the Itoigawa-Shizuoka fault line. Carried by the Kotaki and Himekawa river currents, Jade is then spread out to the surrounding area, including the Sea of Japan.

This long stretch of beach is a natural treasure hunt destination that entices tourists to return again and again. It’s a great summer destination perfect for sunbathing, spending time with family and friends and relishing the joy of spotting jade among the colorful pebbles. Beach waves wash small pebbles of jade ashore, although the waves are calmer in the summer.

Museums and More

Photo by: PIXTA/UI_forever End your visit to Jade Beach with a museum visit.

Fossa Magna Museum is located just four kilometers from the beach. It opened in 1994, and many specimens from Itoigawa are displayed here, including jadeite pieces from the Jade Coast. All exhibits in the museum are explained in Japanese and English. The museum gives a free service of identification and authentication of minerals found on the Jade Coast and other areas of Itoigawa, so be sure to check if the stone you’ve collected is jadeite, nephrite or just a common stone.

Apart from visiting Jade Beach, this Etoigawa Geopark has many other places for adventure and is also known as Japan’s first global geopark. The mountainous area or the coastal part of the park can be explored by tour bus or by rented bicycle or car. You can visit the popular Itoigawa Onsen or Hisui-en Garden, where you can also find a jade art museum.

Things To Know

When to visit

Though the weather is much more relaxing during summer, this beach can be visited throughout the year.

However, if you want to go for a jade hunt, you must pay attention to when the sea is wild and the rough waves more often break to the shore, then the chances of finding jade relatively increase in the next few days!

How To Get There


By train

It is one of the notable beaches in Itoigawa. It is a six-minute walk from Echigo-Oshiage-Hisui-Kaigan Station and five minutes by taxi from Itoigawa Station. 

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