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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?