Home to Akita’s premier sand sculpture festival.
Tucked along the coastline of a town called Mitane in Akita Prefecture is Kamayahama Beach. One of the few swimming spots in the area, and considered one of Japan’s 100 excellent beaches, Kamayahama is arguably Mitane’s best-kept secret.
The beach is framed by the Oga Peninsula to the south and the faint outline of the beautiful nature reserve, Shirakami Sanchi. In addition, impressive wind turbines stretch for miles along its shores.
The warm, gentle waves of Kamayahama Beach feel great during Akita’s humid summers, and its picturesque shores make it a popular place for watching the sunset. It was also one of the set locations for the 2019 Japanese crime film, “Day and Night.”
Kamayahama Beach’s beach season starts on Marine Day, a national holiday at the end of July. Though swimming is permitted throughout the year, swimming off-season should be done with discretion since Jellyfish migration occurs in early September.
From mid-July through August, Waikiki, a small food shack on the beach opens up for business serving dishes like curry, yakisoba (Japanese stir-fried noodles), and kakigori (flavored shaved ice).
Sand Craft Festival
The Mitane Sand Craft Festival takes place at Kamayahama Beach every year on the last weekend of July. Professional sculptors from all across Japan come to create large, detailed sand sculptures along the shore. They can be seen working on their creations up to two weeks before the festival. Afterward, the sculptures are left for display for up to two weeks following the event.
The festival consists of live music, taiko performances, swimsuit contests, and fireworks. Various vendors sell typical festival food including Mitane’s specialty, Mitane maki, an incredible combination of awabitake (mushroom that’s flavor is similar to abalone) wrapped in bacon.