Oarai Sun Beach
Come soak up the sun at Ibaraki’s favorite summer getaway.
Popular among surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers, the shallow waters at this top-notch summer spot, not to mention the lack of rocky outcroppings, make it an ideal swimming beach for all ages.
Located in the Oarai area in the east of Ibaraki prefecture, the Oarai Sun Beach is part of the Oarai Prefectural Seaside Park, an attractive coastal resort that draws summer crowds from all over Kanto to enjoy the sandy beaches, safe swimming and a range of events including beach volleyball and surfing contests.
Back in 1997, the beach underwent improvements to ensure that the holiday shoreline would be easily accessible to both elderly and handicapped visitors—in other words, Oarai Sun Beach is an all-inclusive, barrier-free facility. There are also plenty of public restrooms and changing stations (with showers included).
With the swimming season commencing in mid-July, the gigantic parking lot’s 7,000 spaces are packed and neighboring beach houses become bustling with business.
There are also a handful of nearby attractions that take the fun back from the sea to the land.
The Ibaraki Prefectural Oarai Aquarium – otherwise known as Aquaworld – features the largest shark exhibition in Japan. Aquarium-goers can also marvel at 68,000 sea creatures from about 580 various species, including crowd favorites; sea otters, sea lions, and yes, dolphins.
The Oarai Marine Tower, standing 60 meters tall, is not only a symbol of the town that bears its name. The observatory tower is also popular with anime fans of Girls und Panzer, a cartoon series in which high school girls compete in tank warfare, and many make weekend pilgrimages to pay homage to the show’s real-life holy sites.
No summer holiday is complete without a night of fireworks. The Oarai Sun Beach annual fireworks display is seriously spectacular as 3,000 star mines are set off above the sea, beautifully synchronized with a musical backdrop.