Although Japan is an island nation, most who visit this spectacular country don’t immediately think about its beaches – and the country’s coastline has some of the best stretches of sand in Asia.
Japan’s archipelago is made up of thousands of islands, and whether you’re looking for white sand beaches for sunbathing, big waves for surfing, or crystal clear water for snorkeling, you’ll find a whole host of options.
Keep scrolling for our guide to the best beaches in Japan, and plan your next trip!
Table of Contents
- 1. Miyako Island Beaches
- 2. Jodogahama
- 3. Okinawa Beaches
- 4. Yurigahama Beach
- 5. Izu Peninsula Beaches
- 6. Hakuto Beach
- 7. Kamakura Beaches
- 8. Hitotsuko Beach
- 9. Ogasawara Islands
- 10. Zushi Beach
- 11. Oki Island Beaches
- 12. Omi-Maiko Beach
- 13. Amami Oshima Island Beaches
- 14. Tsunoshima Island Beach
- 15. Tokashiki Island Beaches
- 16. Odaiba Beach
- 17. Senjojiki Beach
- 18. Kujukuri Beach
1. Miyako Island Beaches
Located to the southwest of Okinawa, the Miyako Islands are home to some of Japan’s best beaches. The main island of Miyakojima has some especially beautiful shorelines and great diving opportunities.
Sunayama Beach is one of the most picturesque on the island, complete with a stunning rock arch, soft white sand, and turquoise waters. The beach also has toilets and showers available.
Maehama is another popular beach, with long stretches of white sand and sweeping views of the Kurima Bridge and island. You’ll find boat and kayak rentals there, in addition to showers and bathrooms.
Divers and snorkelers should head to Yoshino Kaigan Beach, known for its world-class snorkeling thanks to its location near a massive coral reef and its colorful marine life.
Translated as “pure land beach”, Jodogahma is everything its name promises to be and more. Located on the Rikuchu Coast near Miyako City, the beach is situated on a secluded inlet surrounded by beautiful pine forests and jagged volcanic rocks.
The crystal clear water invites swimmers to take a dip, though the rocky beach area is not the best for those looking to lay in some soft sand or build sandcastles. There’s plenty of other activities to enjoy in the area, including renting a paddle boat, going for a hike along one of the nearby trails, or taking a guided tour of the nearby islands.
3. Okinawa Beaches
Okinawa is renowned for its beautiful beaches, and the tropical climate makes this island a popular vacation destination year-round. There are tons of small islands located off the shores of Okinawa, but some of Japan’s best beaches can be found on the prefecture’s main island.
Manza is one of the most popular stretches of sand on the island, and you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy. Swim, kayak, rent a banana boat, or simply soak up some sun on the shore. A hike up to the nearby Cape Manzamo is highly recommended for those looking for spectacular views over the China Sea, especially around sunset.
Emerald Beach is another beautiful spot and is aptly named for its turquoise and green waters. The beach is located in Ocean Expo Park, and there’s also an aquarium, museums, two arboretums, and miles of verdant walking paths nearby.
Although technically not on Okinawa’s main island, Kouri Beach can be accessed by a bridge (the longest open road bridge in Japan) and offers visitors shallow water that’s perfect for swimming and snorkeling.
4. Yurigahama Beach
For a unique beach experience, Yurigahama Beach fits the bill. Located just north of Okinawa on Yoron Island, Yurigahama is really more of a sandbar – so you’ll have to plan your trip carefully if you want to see this disappearing beach.
Your best chances are between April and September, though no one can say exactly when the beach will emerge from the shallow waters. If you do get lucky enough to be visiting when the island appears, you can take a glass-bottomed boat out to the beach and enjoy a day of swimming, snorkeling, or relaxing on this amazing, one-of-a-kind sand bar.
5. Izu Peninsula Beaches
Some of the best beaches in Japan can be found just outside of Tokyo on the Izu Peninsula.
- Shirahama Beach is one of the most popular in the area for surfers. On calmer days, you’ll also find visitors swimming and snorkeling.
- Atami Sun Beach is another hot spot; you can almost always expect a crowd in the summer months. It does have some great amenities that make it worth jockeying for a spot, including restaurants, shops, lifeguards, and a location near the train station.
- To skip the crowds, Ito Orange Beach is a good option – especially for those looking to swim and sunbathe.
- Hirizo Beach is perfect for snorkeling and has access to camping, rental shops, and nearby food and drink stalls.
- Kumomi Beach is located on the peninsula’s west coast, and while it has little in the way of amenities, you can enjoy beautiful views from Mount Fuji on a clear day. Once you’ve had enough fun in the sun, you can hike up to the Kumomi Sengen Shrine for some panoramic views across the bay.
6. Hakuto Beach
Although most would associate beaches with sunny weather, Hakuto Beach offers visitors a different kind of experience. Located in the Tottori Prefecture on Japan’s mainland, this beach is a popular weekend getaway for locals and tourists alike.
Most famous for its beach camping and firework shows, you’ll get the best experience at Hakuto Beach if you stay the night. Of course, regular beach activities like surfing, are also available during the day. Hakuto is one of the only beaches on this coast that allows swimming.
A visit to the nearby Hakuto Shrine is a must, when you’re in this area.
7. Kamakura Beaches
Kamakura is a seaside city near Tokyo that is home to some of Japan’s most amazing beaches. Although less than an hour away from the hustle and bustle of the country’s capital, you’ll feel a world away once you sink your toes into the soft sand of Kamkura’s shores.
Yuigahama and Zaimokuza are the two main beaches here, and because of the area’s short summer season, both shorelines are packed between July and August. There’s quite a long shoreline, however, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a spot to soak up some sun. You could spend your beach day swimming, surfing, or wakeboarding, and you can stop by one of the many seaside cafes in the area once you work up an appetite.
Zaimokuza Beach is a bit further away, but those who make the trek will be rewarded with fewer people and a quieter beach experience – albeit with fewer amenities as well. Popular activities include water biking, sea kayaking, and paddle boarding.
8. Hitotsuko Beach
The island of Hirado is relatively unknown, making the tranquil Hitotsuko Beach one of the best beaches in Japan for those looking to escape the crowds.
The beach is incredibly beautiful, with dazzling white sand, clear, turquoise blue waters, and verdant hills surrounding the bay. Once you’ve had enough sun, you can visit some museums, take a tour of the Hirado Castle, or enjoy some of the seafood that this island is famous for.
9. Ogasawara Islands
Although technically part of Tokyo, the Ogasawara Islands (also known as the Bonin Islands) are the place to go to reconnect with nature in an unspoiled setting. The journey out to the islands is a long one, and the ferry ride takes a full 24-hours.
The archipelago is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its long list of endemic and endangered species, and the island of Chichijima in particular is home to some of Japan’s most beautiful beaches.
- Sakaiura Beach is one of the most accessible, at just a ten-minute walk from town. Its stunning turquoise blue waters and sandy shores make it a great spot for beach goers looking to swim and work on their tan. Snorkelers can swim out to discover a sunken ship and the marine life that have made it their home.
- Kominata Beach boasts wide sandy shores and blue, shallow waters that are perfect for swimming, while Miyanohara Beach is another a great spot for snorkeling.
- For true seclusion, make your way to the locals’ favorite hideaway, Hatsuneura Beach. Access to the beach is by taking an hour-long hike through a protected nature area, but once you make it down the steep hill to the shore, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views, pure white sand, and a lovely mountainous backdrop. The best part is that you’ll likely have this place all to yourself!
10. Zushi Beach
Zushi Beach is a relatively quiet stretch of sand that is much less frequented than some of the others in the area. Once famous for being a night-time hangout for those at the nearby U.S. army base, it is now a clean sandy shoreline with impeccable views of Mount Fuji.
The sand and mild waves are great for swimming and sunbathing, and the coast is dotted with paddle boarders and windsurfers during the windier periods of July and August. The area is also full of trails through the nearby cliffs, and once you get hungry, there are tons of seaside cafes and restaurants near the beach.
11. Oki Island Beaches
The Oki Islands are comprised of 100 islets off of the coast of southwestern Shimane Prefecture, and only four of these are inhabited – making the islands the perfect place for beach bums hoping to get some peace and quiet while they soak up the sun.
- Dogo Island, also called Okinoshima, is the largest of the four inhabited islands and offers a broad range of activities for beach lovers of all types.
- Shiohama Beach is the largest sandy stretch on the island and is great for swimming and relaxing.
- Nishinoshima Island is famous for its breathtaking coast, but is also home to some beautiful beaches.
- Sotohama is the place to go for a gorgeous sandy beach, and is also a great spot for swimming and snorkeling.
- The pebbly shoreline of Mimiura is a popular place to camp, snorkel, and kayak.
- Nakanoshima Island, sometimes referred to as Ama, is home to the sandy Rainbow Beach located near the port.
- Furoya Beach is especially popular with the locals.
- For a more remote beach day head to Akiya Beach for swimming, fishing, and camping.
The smallest of the four inhabited islands is Chiburijima, also known as Chibu. This little island has two noteworthy beaches: Watatsu Beach and Nagao Beach, both of which are popular with families.
12. Omi-Maiko Beach
The beautiful Lake Biwa is home to some great freshwater beaches, and Omi-Maiko is one of the best. Its location on the outskirts of Kyoto makes it a popular place during the summer.
Its pale pebbly shores and towering mountains make this an incredibly scenic spot. You could easily spend the whole day swimming, soaking up some sun, or kayaking along the picturesque shoreline.
Barbecuing is also extremely popular here thanks to the on-site pits, so don’t hesitate to bring a picnic along with your own charcoal and fuel if you’d like to enjoy a beachside cookout!
13. Amami Oshima Island Beaches
To the north of Okinawa you’ll find Amami Oshima Island, a beautiful oasis bursting with some of the country’s best beaches. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and verdant volcanic mountains, making you feel as though you’ve stepped into a postcard.
Although the temperataures remain beach-friendly from May through October, the beaches on Amami never get too crowded. Tomori Beach is perfect for swimming and snorkeling, though it is the most famous on the islands so you could expect to see some crowds.
Those looking for a chance to scuba dive will love Kurasaki Beach, while those searching for complete seclusion should head to Yadoribama Beach (not accessible via public transportation).
14. Tsunoshima Island Beach
Connected to Japan’s mainland by a massive 1,780-meters-long bridge, Tsunoshima Island is home to one of the best beaches in Japan.
The beach is admittedly small, especially in comparison to the road you have to take to get there, and it’s also less popular than the larger beach on the other end of the bridge (making it less crowded). The path to the beach is a bit narrow and steep, further deterring large groups of visitors, but those who make it down to the shore will find white sand beaches and beautiful blue water awaiting them.
The water is shallow and tranquil, and popular activities on this little stretch of sand include swimming, barbecuing, and watching the sun go down over the bridge.
15. Tokashiki Island Beaches
The mountainous Tokashiki Islands are located just off the coast of Okinawa and are home to some of best beaches in Japan. Just two of these ten beautiful islands are inhabited, and only one has beaches, so Tokashiki Island is the place to go if you’re looking for gorgeous swaths of sand.
Those looking to see some wildlife during their time at the beach should head to Tokashiku Beach. This bay is fairly small and extremely tranquil, which might be why so many sea turtles call this area home. The snorkeling is fabulous here, as is the swimming and sunbathing.
Aharen Beach is located at the opposite end of the island and offers less in the way of marine life – but more in terms of amenities for beachgoers. Here you’ll find kayak rentals, shops, and restaurants lining the beautiful white sand beach, making it easy to spend hours on end taking in the breathtaking views.
16. Odaiba Beach
Located in Tokyo’s city center, Odaiba Beach is a welcome reprieve from the hubbub of the busier areas of the capital.
Although swimming is not recommended, beachgoers can work on their tan, enjoy a game of beach volley ball, or watch the sunset from the sandy shores.
The area is also full of walking paths, and the metropolitan backdrop is something unique only to Odaiba Beach. Once you’ve had enough beach time, the city’s bars, restaurants, and shops are just minutes away.
17. Senjojiki Beach
Senjojiki Beach is not the place to go if you’re looking to sprawl out on soft sand or build sandcastles with the kiddos. It is, however, one of the best beaches in Japan to watch the sun go down.
Located in the Aomori Prefecture, this craggy beach is a result of an earthquake that occurred hundreds of years ago. Today it’s a fun place to explore tide pools, go for a swim, or simply take in the unique rock faces.
18. Kujukuri Beach
Kujukuri Beach is located is located in the Chiba Prefecture just outside of Tokyo and is often considered to be the best beach in Japan by surfers. It’s also one of the longest at 60 km, with a flat, sandy coastline stretching straight out into the ocean.
The waves here are epic, which is part of the reason why this area is more popular with surfers than swimmers. That’s not to say you can’t take a dip – the weather here stays warm well into October.