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You don't have to travel too far out of Tokyo to find a beach paradise.

If you don’t have the time or money to make it all the way to Okinawa this summer, put your flip flops on and instead head to Shimoda for white sand beaches. This coastal town, located on the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture, makes a fantastic weekend getaway trip from Tokyo. Here are nine of Shimoda’s best beaches.

Shirahama Beach

This is the most northern beach of the Shirahama Shore. Also known as Shirahamacho Beach, Shirahama Beach is wildly popular, especially for families thanks to its clear and safe breakwaters.

It’s a perfect getaway for families with children to swim, snorkel, and collect shellfish. Moreover, unlike other beaches in Shimoda, you are allowed to have barbecues.

  • Recommended for families with children.
  • From Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take a bus bound for Itadoichiki and get off at Shirahama Kaigan.

Shirahama Ohama Beach

This 700-meter strip of white sand is the largest and arguably the most popular beach in Shimoda. There’s also a vermilion torii gate on-site, which contrasts with the blue ocean, making it very picturesque.

In summer, Shirahama Ohama Beach is mostly frequented by young people and surfers for its big waves.

  • Recommended for surfers and shrine lovers
  • From Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take a bus to the Resupo Shirahama bus stop

Sotoura Beach

This is a calm beach with clear, aquamarine water. It’s perfect for swimming, snorkeling, sea kayaking, or sunbathing with your favorite summer read. If you want to avoid the crowds of Shirahama Ohama Beach, this is a good alternative.

  • Recommended for people who want quieter, less crowded beaches
  • From Izukyu-Shimoda, and take a bus for Itado Ichiki to the Sotoura bus stop

Kujuppama Beach

Despite having clean waters and pristine sandy beaches, Kujuppama Beach is still considered a hidden gem. This small beach also has a rocky coastline, which makes it a great place for rock fishing, hiking, and exploring rock pools. Facilities such as showers and toilets are available, and you can even rent a parasol to give you some much-needed shade.

  • Recommended for those who like rocky coasts and secluded beaches
  • From Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take the Tsumekizaki-Iki Tokai Bus from the No.10 bus stop to Tsumekizaki Green Area-Mae

Nabetahama Beach

Easily accessible from the center of Shimoda City, and very popular among locals! Although it’s a small beach, it is known for having especially calm water. You may need water shoes to explore because the shore can be a bit rocky in some parts. Watch your step.

  • Recommended for visitors who want to stay close to the city
  • From Izukyu-Shimoda Station, take a bus to Nabetaguchi

Tatadohama Beach

Calling all surfers and bodyboarders, this 450-meter long beach is for you. Tatadohama Beach is a great place to learn how to surf, as local shops offer surfboard rentals and lessons. No problem if you don’t speak Japanese, as some of the instructors are bilingual. Warm shower facilities are available too.

  • Recommended for surfing and bodyboarding
  • From Izukyu-Shimoda, take a bus to the Tatado bus stop

Iritahama Beach

Iritahama Beach is usually not too crowded, meaning you have more space to enjoy its beautiful blue water and great waves freely. Lined with palm trees and a couple of food stalls, this one is totally laid back. You may end up feeling like you’re on some tropical island rather than mainland Japan! This is another great beach for surfers, and there are a couple of surf schools too.

  • Recommended for surfers
  • From Izukyu-Shimoda, take a bus to the Nyuta bus stop

Kisami Ohama Beach

This 770-meter long beach is the second most popular in Shimoda, after Shirahama Ohama. If you want to take a break from swimming or surfing and reenergize, Kisami Ohama Beach also has a couple of cafes around. There are also lifeguards (hallelujah) during the busy season in summer.

  • Recommended for nature lovers and people more comfortable with lifeguards on duty
  • From Izukyu-Shimoda, take a bus to the Yoshisami bus stop

Toji Beach

Toji Beach has a weathered coastline that makes it incredibly scenic. It’s also family-friendly and less crowded than other Shimoda beaches, but that might be due to its rocky shores. Head over to the sand ski resort, where visitors can slide down 70-meter long sand dunes, for some added fun. You can rent a sled or bring your own.

Besides sand skiing, Toji Beach is also home to a mysterious heart-shaped sea cave called Ryugu Kutsu (Cave of the Dragon Palace). Sounds pretty cool, right?

  • Recommended for sand skiing and sea caves
  • From Izukyu-Shimoda, take a bus to the Ryugu Kutsu bus stop

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