From Kagoshima to Aomori, Japan's beaches are completely underrated.
These beaches are surprisingly unknown even among expert tourists. They’re as dazzling as any other top beachcomber spots in Asia, whether you’re looking to go surfing, kayaking or just sunbathing.
While Okinawa is generally considered Japan’s best island paradise getaway, the country has much more to be discovered. Take a journey with us to uncharted waters at these 10 destination beaches.
Located in eastern Ibaraki Prefecture, this beach is part of the Oarai Prefectural Seaside Park. The coastal resort is popular amongst surfers and beach volleyball enthusiasts who come from all over Japan to compete in summer contests. Beyond swimming and surfing, there’s an aquarium with dolphins and sea otters, a huge marine tower, and a beautiful seaside shrine nearby.
Quality waves and pristine waters have long made the beaches of the Izu Peninsula a getaway for Tokyoites who need a break from the city life. Habushiura Beach on Niijima Island is one of the most popular choices. Its pure white-sand beaches give off Hawaiin vibes with nearby dormant volcanoes, gourmet seafood, and hot springs. Surfs up!
Of all the beaches scattered along Lake Biwa, Japan’s biggest freshwater lake, Omi Maiko is the most accessible. Easily reached from Kyoto or Osaka, the pebble-covered beach feels like a postcard with the mountains towering from one side and Lake Biwa stretching into the distance on the other. The on-site barbecue pits are calling your name — just don’t forget to bring your own charcoal and fuel.
This beach bum paradise is located off the coast of southwestern Shimane Prefecture. Though only four out of 100 islands in the Oki Island cluster are inhabited, the opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking, and diving are endless!
This rugged, bedrock beach is the result of an earthquake over 200 years ago. Covered with moss, tide pools, and huge rock formations, it’s not what comes to mind when you think “beach,” but that’s the beauty of this natural wonder.
The swimming season is pretty short, lasting from July until mid-August but the beach is within the top 100 places to watch the sunset in Japan.
Although technically a part of Tokyo, it takes an almost 24-hour ferry ride to reach the Ogasawara Islands. The archipelago is considered a World Heritage Site for good reason — unspoiled beaches and unique wildlife abound.
Out of 30 subtropical islands, only two are actually inhabited. With favorable weather year-round, there’s no bad season to visit.
How does camping on the beach and watching fireworks under a starry night sky sound? Amazing, of course! You can do just that at Hakuto Beach in Tottori Prefecture, combining all of the best things about summer.
Tottori’s rocky coastline is dotted with beaches, but not all of them allow swimming — Hakuto does. Popular among surfers, and close to several hotel resorts, it’s perfect for a weekend getaway. Don’t forget to visit nearby Hakuto Shrine!
Kagoshima’s Yakushima is known for its misty forests and having one of the oldest trees in the world. However, the island is also home to many sparkling beaches. Isso Beach’s tiny size makes it great for sunbathing undisturbed. Relax here after making the strenuous trek through the island’s dense forests.
Let the turquoise waves of Takenohama Beach sweep you into pure bliss. Just a few hours’ train ride from hectic Kyoto, the beach offers a taste of the simple life.
Take your pick of seaside hotels or campsites to relax in after a day of canoeing surrounded by mountains. After you’ve finished soaking up the sun, soak in geothermal waters at Kinosaki Onsen, only a few steps away. Okay, maybe more than a few steps, but you catch our drift!
Now you see it, now you don’t. Yurigahama Beach, just off the coast of Yoron Island, is a mysterious sandbar with its own magic trick — it disappears. Take a fancy glass-bottom boat to the island during low tide for quality snorkeling and swimming.
Planning your trip may prove to be a bit tricky since the beach appears a bit randomly from April to September. You’ll have to check the official website (Japanese only) for a schedule of when it’s possible to visit. Despite the slight inconvenience, going to a disappearing beach is a unique experience to add to your bucket list.
Know of a great beach in Japan that’s not on this list? Let us know by tagging your beach photos on Instagram/Twitter with #GaijinPotTravel (your post may be featured on our site)!