Photo By: (C) Tottori Pref.

Soak up the sun.

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. 

10
Oarai Sun Beach

Ibaraki Prefecture

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.

  • Why go: The sunset over nearby Oarai Isosaki Shrine is breathtaking.
  • Take the Kashima Rinkai Railway’s Oarai-Kashima Line to Oarai Station. From there, Oarai Sun Beach is approximately 15 minutes on foot.
  • Minatochuo, Oarai, Higashiibaraki District, Ibaraki 311-1305 - Map

9
Habushiura Beach

Tokyo

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!

  • Why go: Why go to Hawaii when Habushiura Beach is so much closer!
  • Take the Tokai-kisen express ship, or 10-hour cruise from the Takeshiba Terminal in Tokyo.
  • A direct flight from Tokyo's Chofu Airport will get you to Niijima Airport in about 40 minutes!
  • Honson, Niijima, Tokyo 100-0402 - Map

8
Omi Maiko Beach

Shiga Prefecture

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.

  • Why go: Who doesn't love a beach barbecue?
  • From Osaka or Kyoto, take the Tokaido Sanyo line to Omi Maiko Station. The beach is about a 10-minute walk from there.
  • 1095 Minamikomatsu, Otsu, Shiga 520-0502 - Map

7
Oki Island Beaches

Shimane Prefecture

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!

  • Why go: Three words: peace and quiet.
  • 1889-12 Misakimachi, Okinoshima, Oki District, Shimane 685-0021 - Map
  • You can acess the islands through Oki Airport, or Yonago Airport in Tottori Prefecture from which you'll have to take a ferry.

6
Senjojiki Beach

Aomori Prefecture

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.

  • Why go: Time your trip to coincide with the Nebuta Festival, the most iconic festival in Japan!
  • Sakakibara Kitakanegasawa, Fukaura, Nishitsugaru District, Aomori 038-2504 - Map
  • Take an overnight bus from Tokyo Station Yaesu Exit Bus stop No. 3 to Aomori Station Bus stop No. 8.
  • From Aomori Station take the Ou line to Kawabe Station and then the Gono line to Senjojiki Station. The beach is a few minutes from there on foot.

5
Ogasawara Islands

Tokyo

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.

  • Why go: Swim with dolphins Little Mermaid-style. No singing required.
  • Chichijima, Ogasawara, Tokyo 100-2101 - Map
  • Take a liner ship from Tokyo Bay Takeshiba Pier to Chichijima Island.

4
Hakuto Beach

Tottori Prefecture

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!

  • Why go: Beach. Camping. Fireworks.
  • Hakuto, Tottori, 689-0206 - Map
  • From JR Tottori Station take the Hinomaru Bus bound for Aoya and Shika-no-onsen for about 35 minutes. Get off at the Hakuto Shrine stop. The beach is a few minutes away.

3
Isso Beach

Kagoshima

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.

  • Why go: Yakushima was the inspiration for the hit film Princess Mononoke. Need we say more?
  • 2291-225 Isso, Yakushima, Kumage Bezirk, Kagoshima 891-4203 - Map
  • Take a ferry or high-speed boat from Kagoshima to Miyanoura Port. The beach is 15 minutes from there by taxi.

2
Takenohama Beach

Hyogo Prefecture

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!

  • Why go: It's one of the best places for canoeing in the country!
  • 130 Takenocho Takeno, Toyooka, Hyogo 669-6201 - Map
  • The closest station is Takeno Station. It's easily reachable from Kyoto Station (4 hours), Kobe (3 hours) or Tottori Station (about 2 hours).

1
Yurigahama Beach

Kagoshima

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.

  • Why go: Did you miss the part about it being a disappearing beach?
  • Yoron Airport is about a 40-minute flight from Okinawa Airport or a 70-minute flight from Kagoshima Airport.
  • Mugiya, Yoron, Oshima District, Kagoshima 891-9300 - Map

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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)!