When we think of beautiful beaches in Japan, Okinawa may be the first place that comes to mind. However, several other breathtaking beaches with crystal clear water and pure white sand are located throughout the country. While some beaches are perfect for snorkelling, others are known for diving and observing colourful reefs and sea creatures. In addition to stunning beaches, these locations offer unique tourist attractions where visitors can have memorable experiences. Here's a list of five lesser-known beach destinations in Japan.
Shimoda, Shizuoka Prefecture
The Izu Peninsula in Shizuoka Prefecture is a popular choice if you're looking for a great getaway spot from Tokyo. It's known for its stunning Onsen spots along the coastline. One of the best beach towns on the peninsula is Shimoda, located on the southern tip. This town has several beautiful beaches with white sand and clear water. The biggest is Shirahama Beach, where you can find hotels, restaurants, and beach shacks. It can get quite crowded during the summer, though. For a more peaceful experience, head to the southwest of Shimoda, where several small hidden beaches can be found. You can reach Shimoda from Tokyo in just 2-3 hours by train, and local buses are available to help you get around the area.
Chirihama Beach, Ishikawa Prefecture
Chirihama Beach is situated along the Sea of Japan on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture. Although the beach may not appear visually stunning at first glance, it is renowned for its unique feature of allowing visitors to drive their private vehicles on the beach&ndashthis is the only spot in Japan where this is possible. The 8 km driveway runs along the coastline and has a width of 50 m. As such, it is considered one of the best driving roads in the country. The beach is also famous for children to swim, and visitors can enjoy clam digging there. It is located approximately 40 km north of the famous historic city of Kanazawa.
Shirahama, Wakayama Prefecture
Shirahama, known for its "White Beach", is indisputably one of the most popular beach resorts in Japan, situated on the southern coast of Wakayama prefecture. The stunning 500-meter-long sand beach is the focal point that draws an immense number of visitors. Moreover, Shirahama is widely recognized for its vast hot spring resource and boasts several Onsen spots. This destination is also home to numerous tourist attractions such as museums, amusement parks, seaside hotels, and restaurants, making it one of the largest resort destinations in western Japan.
Tsunoshima, Yamaguchi Prefecture
Tsunoshima, located in Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi prefecture, is an island connected to the mainland by the Tsunoshima Bridge. The bridge has gained popularity as a breathtaking sightseeing spot, drawing more tourists to Tsunoshima Island, which is now also a favoured beach destination. With a land area of 4.1 sq km, the island is surrounded by the Sea of Japan and boasts numerous beaches with crystal clear blue water and pristine white sand. The western part of Yamaguchi prefecture is also home to many stunning beaches, although they may be less well-known.
Amami Oshima Island, Kagoshima Prefecture
Amami Oshima Island is located between Kyushu Region and Okinawa in Kagoshima prefecture. Like Okinawa, the island boasts a delightful southern subtropical climate, offering unspoiled nature with stunning beaches and mangrove forests. Divers worldwide are drawn to the island's coral reefs and sea creatures. Despite its similarities to Okinawa, Amami Oshima Island is less touristy and has a more low-key vibe. Visitors can access the island via ferry from Kagoshima or Naha, Okinawa, which takes 11-13 hours. Alternatively, several domestic flights are available connecting Amami Oshima Island with major cities in Japan, including Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kagoshima, and Naha.
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