Hanging out at a Japanese beach

Most people visiting Japan seem to have a bucket list of things to see and do. They park themselves right in the heart of Tokyo’s busiest district, or they race around the country, ticking off key attractions in an “If this is Tuesday, this must be Belgium” race to fit in everything in one mad marathon. They are missing out on one of the nicest aspects of this country though… the beaches.

Japan as a warm tropical climate, and the Pacific is generally warm and quite inviting.  Beaches here are often compared to the beaches of Hawaii, the Philippines and even Fiji – yes, they are that nice.

Okinawa

Some of the most beautiful beaches can be found in Okinawa on the south west coast of Japan. The ocean here is so clear, you can see the sand below the calm coastal waters.  There is a huge coral reef here protecting the shoreline, and providing some truly spectacular diving opportunities. There are several really affordable hotels within Okinawa, and the islands of Zamami and Tokashiki are only a short boat ride away.

Okinawa

Shimoda

If you would rather stick to somewhere closer to Tokyo, then you need to investigate Sotoura Beach just outside of Shimoda on the Izu Peninsula. The journey from Tokyo Station to Izukyushimoda Station will take you roughly 2 hours and 35 minutes. From there, take a 10 minute taxi ride to the beach. There are several very nice hotels in the region such as the Izu-Imaihama Tokyu Resort and the Hotel Sunmi Club Bekkan. This whole area is known as the Côte d’Azur of Japan because of it’s lovely tropical environment, clear waters and unique architecture. You can go for a swim, go hiking, laze about on the beach, or cycle around the nearby villages.

Shimoda

Kabira

If you have the time to go a bit further out, you really should try to check out Kabira on Ishigaki Island. This island is just east of Taiwan, and to say that it’s stunning is an understatement. The lagoon in Ishigakijima is shallow, clear and very warm. The sand on the beaches here is soft and clean. You will feel like you’ve arrived in a virtual tropical paradise. There are a couple of excellent hotels here including the Hotel Nikko Yaeyama and the InterContinental Ana Ishigaki Resort that will make your stay on this island most unforgettable.

Kabira

Okinawa©Ricymar Photography/flickr.com

Shimoda©Simon Cumming/flickr.com

Kabira©norio.nakayama/flickr.com

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