Konnichi wa! Welcome to Japan, land of the Rising Sun and of majestic beaches. This long, thin island stands between the Pacific Ocean and the East China Sea. Although it is a destination for food and cultural holidays, Japan is also an amazing destination for those wanting to enjoy a great seaside holiday. The difference in temperatures between south and north, allows visitors to swim in the water at any time of year on the beaches of Japan’s islands.

Despite the fact that Japan is not yet one of the most popular destinations for its wonderful beaches, you will be pleasantly surprised by the beauty of its coasts that you will find here. In fact, the country has so many beaches, each easy to reach from one of the big cities. From the splendid, wild beauty of the Okinawa beaches to the enjoyment and luxury of Kanagawa, you have come to a magical place.

When you visit the the best places in Japan, please observe the local unwritten rules. For example, it is strictly prohibited to leave litter on the beach or in unauthorised areas. Another piece of advice is not to leave tips, something that is considered rude here. While you explore Japan, make sure you stop at one of the local restaurants to try the wonders of a gastronomic tradition that has ancient roots: do a bit of research to find the real Japanese food just a few steps from the Pacific Ocean. A luxury not to be missed!

Come for the food and traditions, stay for the fantastic beaches. We have made a list of the 15 best beach destinations in Japan to help you choose a unique itinerary across this wonderful country. Pack your swimsuit and towel: we’ll think of the rest. 

Yonaha-Maehama Beach

Welcome to Miyako Island, an enchanting paradise just under 300 kilometres from Okinawa. You have come to one of the prettiest locations on the Japanese coastline: i it is here that you must come if looking for a white-sand, clear-water, tropical paradise. Yonaha-Maehama is one of the best beaches on the island: a great place, not just for relaxing on the soft, white sand, but also for enjoying the wonders of the calm sea bed, that is protected by an extraordinary coral reef - all to be explored.

Miyako is the fourth largest island in the Okinawa prefecture. It is a flat island with mainly sugar cane fields and a few villages, with Hirara being the largest, and a number of excellent bars and restaurants where you can try out the local cuisine. You must try soba noodles and goya chanpuru. The beaches are the most important attraction on the island and attract a multitude of tourists to the coast each year, all wanting to tray out Japanese beach life. 

The beaches are picturesque, perfect for dipping into the water for a swim. You can come here at any time of the year. Watch out for the jellyfish population in the water. In spite of the coral reef, please be mindful of the currents, which could make bathing unsuitable for children.

Yonaha-Maehama is a white-sand beach in the south west of Miyako, which continues for over 7 kilometres and offers facilities such as parasol hire, showers, public bathrooms and water sports equipment rental. If you come to Miyako, take a moment to visit the beaches in Yoshino and Sunayama.

Yurigahama Beach

If you have never heard of Yurigahama, you are about to add an essential stop to your journey around Japan. The ghost oasis of Yurigahama is one of the most fascinating and mysterious locations in the land of the Rising Sun: what is its particular feature? Sometimes it’s there, at other times it isn't. Also known as the last tropical sandbank in the world, Yurigahama is off the coast of Yoron Island, in the prefecture of Kagoshima. The locals know it as the “ghost beach”, and it appears in various forms and geographical positions quite close to each other. When the tide is low, between spring and summer, this amazing sandbank that constantly changes shape emerges from the waters and becomes a spectacular terrace looking in all directions onto the turquoise sea.

Yurigahama is only accessible in some specific moments of the year, tide permitting, by ferry. Located about one kilometres from the beach of Okaneku, the ’area is a perfect spot to leave your towel and go into the water for a swim or a snorkelling session.

Anyone coming to Yurigahama will be tied by ferry times, but you can take a look at a unique location. Remember to bring your camera: an opportunity to see the ghost oasis won’t happen again! The official Yurigahama website, with dates and times of when the bank emerges, is all in Japanese. As it is a secluded location, you need to arrange your visit in advance to be able to see it at the right moment.

Tomori Beach

Amami Oshima is the largest island in the Satsunan archipelago, located between Kyushu and Okinawa in the prefecture of Kagoshima. This spectacular area of Japan offers charming landscapes of soft, white sand that runs into a clear, blue sea. Amami Oshima is particularly famous for its quiet beaches that are distinctly Caribbean in appearance, where swimming and snorkelling are true pleasures. Watch out for the jellyfish.

The most famous beach in Amami is Tomori, just ten minutes from the airport.  The beach is white and calm, and the transparent waters welcome you to a corner of paradise. The coral reef and vibrant ocean life make this place even more beautiful. Come here to find a corner of paradise far removed from organised bathing establishments, and do not forget your camera. The area has bathrooms.

If you are in Amami Oshima, take time to see the beaches of Ohama, Yadoribama, Sakibaru and Kurasaki.

Yoron Beach

Yoron Island offers tropical-style, pretty settings and gorgeous beaches that will make you think that you are inside a postcard picture. While walking in the clear water, you will have the opportunity to see clown fish amongst the coral, while the soft, white sand is waiting for your towel and you on the shore. Yoron Island is a part of the prefecture of Kagoshima, known for its very attractive traditional life. Surrounded by the coral reef, this area has a number of incredible beaches. One we have already mentioned, the ghost sandbank of Yurigahama. However, while remaining on the coast, there is ample choice.

If you have some time to spare between one dip and another, you may be lucky enough to come across one of the many local harvest festivals, or the occasional sumo wrestling competition. The island also has about 30 restaurants with local and international cuisine, to satisfy all palates. There are over 60 beaches here, and each of them is perfect for a swim, whether you prefer a busy place or not.  Yoron is worth every minute of your stay in Japan!

Kabira Bay, Ishigaki Island

Of all the islands close to Okinawa, Ishigaki is probably one of the prettiest. If you are near here for a quick visit, come to Kabira Bay, in the north west part of the island. Considered to be one of the 100 best beaches in Japan, Kabira Bay is often mentioned in the lists of Okinawa's best beaches and is a constant presence in tourist guides, thus becoming a place often frequented by tourists. The waters are crystal clear and you will love the ships arriving, as they pass lazily in the sunshine. Leave your towel on the golden sand and enjoy the view of the surrounding islands. The Michelin Guide has given this place three green starts for its breath-taking atmosphere. 

Warning: due to the strong deep currents, it is not possible to swim in Kabira Bay. Come here to go on one of the many glass-bottom boat tours, allowing you to see the amazing underwater fauna of fish and coral, and enjoy the view of this magical place.

Fun fact: Kabira Bay is one of the few places in the world where black pearls are grown.

Odaiba Beach

Known as the island of entertainment, the Odaiba polder is a tourist centre with great commercial attractions, reminiscent of more famous areas of the world, such as Dubai. Located in the Tokyo area, Odaiba is part of the “kaihin kôhen”, or rather the area's coastal park, and has many harbours and bays where you can lay down your own towel. While not a true tropical bathing area, like many of the islands we have already mentioned, Odaiba is just a stone's throw from some big shopping malls and is surrounded by pedestrian areas and gardens.  Equipped for children, with football pitches and Frisbee hire too, the area also offers public bathrooms and showers, to make stays comfortable for tourists.

The beach at Odaiba is about 800 metres long. It is artificial and located in a prominent town context. Bathing is forbidden here: the Japanese Ministry has decreed it does not meet the necessary standards. Yet Odaiba is much loved by the locals for its relaxed atmosphere. The town council organises many sports and cultural events. one of these is the classic matsuri, where a number of lanterns are lit along the coast, creating a charming, romantic atmosphere.

Enjoy the urban beauty of Odaiba, where walking is also a real pleasure. If you can, enjoy a sunset from the harbour and admire the city lights of Tokyo, as they turn on and light up the night sky.

Shirahama Beach

Welcome to the beaches of Shirahama, 800 spectacular metres of coastline just outside Shimoda, on the Izu peninsula. Famous mostly for its attractions and fun found in the bathing establishments, it is also loved by surfers due to the excellent water conditions here. There is also a shinto temple on the coast to make the setting even more beautiful.

There are shops and bars along the coast, where you can buy food and small souvenirs to take home. There are showers available here (at a cost) for you to cool down too, so you can enjoy the white sand beaches more.

Shirahama has crystal-clear waters for you to swim in, which is a true pleasure from May to September. The area has three main beaches: Shirahama Chuo, Shirahama Ohama and Sotoura. Although it only has 800 metres of coastline, this area is often crowded with tourists who want to experience a little bit of paradise. When you come here, you will feel that you are a thousand miles from Japan, with reggae music in your ears and an almost irresistible Caribbean atmosphere.  Come here to relax under your parasol, to swim, go snorkelling or just enjoy sunbathing.  If you can, stay until sunset.

Shirahama is also one of the trendiest and least conservative beaches in Japan: if you are planning your day here, you can wear your bikini, no problem. There are also shops and restaurants in Shirahama, making it the perfect place for the whole family.

Kamakura Beach

Kamakura is a coastal town in the prefecture of Kanagawa, less than an hour from the centre of Tokyo. The motherland of wonderful beaches, over the years, it has become a popular meeting place for all those wanting to escape the routine of city life in the capital or in Yokohama for a few hours. Come here to enjoy a day of swimming, fun, relaxation and surfing.

The most famous beaches of Kamakura are Yuigahama and Zaimokuza. These beaches offer bathing establishments for hiring parasols and deckchairs, as well as several restaurants, and tend to be extremely crowded in the high season. Huts, shops for hiring water sports equipment and changing rooms are available along the coastal area, providing maximum comfort to the whole family. Ideal for children too.

Take a trip to Inamuragasaki Park to admire the natural beauty of the place. Here, you will find a great flat rock that looks out directly onto the ocean. You can take some amazing photos from here.  If it is a good day with clear skies, you can spot the amazing silhouette of the famous Mount Fuji.

Shikinejima Beach

Welcome to the Island of Shikinejima, one of the smallest in the Izu archipelago. Here, you will find incredible beaches and a seaside atmosphere, while feeling you are light years away from Tokyo. You must come here during your stay in Japan if you are a scuba diving enthusiast. This tiny island is dotted with rocky caves, pale-sand beaches and dirt tracks linking one beach to another. You can visit the island by bike. It is the perfect location for those wanting to combine fun with uncontaminated nature. Come here if you are looking for a place far removed from tourist crowds, and you want to enjoy diving, snorkelling or fishing.

Enjoy the culture of the place, the local onsen and a day of geographical beauty. Shikinejima is a three-hour ferry journey from Tokyo.

Emerald Beach

 

Here, you are in Okinawa, on the emerald beach, in the Ocean Expo Park. This incredible Y-shaped coast offers white coral sand and lush vegetation. The blue water of the ocean gives off a magical reflection well worth photographing. Water quality is excellent, and swimming here is a real pleasure. The area is divided into 3 different sections: the beach for play, full of attractions, the beach for resting, where you can sunbathe and enjoy the silence and the beach for viewing - where you can take some unforgettable photographs.

This location can host up to three thousand tourists and has well-organised bathing establishments where you can hire parasols and sunbeds for a comfortable stay. The beach is open from April 1st to October 31st, and is equipped with nets for playing volleyball, showers, bathrooms, changing rooms, shops and restaurants. This is why it is an excellent location for families with children! The waters are calm and protected from currents, so swimming is a pleasure.

Naha Beaches

If you are in Okinawa, in the prefecture of Naha, you may wish to take a dip. We know where to send you! Although this is an area with several spectacular beaches and inviting waters, there is only one area where you can take a dip: we are talking about Naminoue Beach. Its particular feature is not a usual one: a motorway passes right through the centre of it. While seemingly an unattractive feature, Naminoue is and remains one of Okinawa’s main attractions. This is the only beach in Naha where you can actually swim and although the road is very close, the water is exceptionally clean.  The water is clear, calm and shallow, so suitable for even the least experienced swimmers and children. Some people bring their snorkelling equipment here.

Naminoue is well-equipped and has bathrooms, changing rooms, and paid-for showers, as well as a number of bars where you can buy food while taking a rest from sunbathing and swimming. Access to the beach is free, and it is possible to rent parasols and sunbeds here, as well as using the barbecue grills on site. In the middle of the beach, there is a rock on which a wonderful shinto temple has been built, with its pagoda roof and unmistakeable red colour.

Sunayama Beach

There is a magical place among the beautiful islands in the Okinawa archipelago. We are talking about Miyako, 100 kilometres north of the Yaeyama islands. This is one of the most beautiful islands for snorkelling and diving close to the coral reef.  The subtropical climate allows for bathing almost throughout the year, making Miyako one of the most popular seaside destinations in Japan. One of the best beaches is Sunayama, a paradise of white sand and lush vegetation that grows on rock formations. The sand is golden and soft, proving to be a real caress underfoot. If you arrive before midday, the light will be perfect for some unforgettable photos.

The area can easily be reached on foot, walking along the sand dunes. Even though it is a relatively little-known place, Sunayama is well equipped with public bathrooms and showers to ensure maximum comfort for tourists. The water is crystal clear and idea for a dip. If you come to the area, take a moment to visit the beaches in Yoshino and Maehama.

Japanese culture fans also recommend going to Miyako for its local cuisine, especially appreciated by the rest of Japan.

Ama Beach, Zamami Island

Zamami Island is the second largest in the Kerama Archipelago. This location contains some of the best, prettiest beaches in the whole of Japan, with its immaculate coral beaches and clear waters where you can admire the sea bed in full clarity. Come here for its reputation, hire a parasol and sunbed in one of the establishments and relax into a day of dips, swims, snorkelling and diving, in touch with the amazing local fauna. The famous beaches are a few hundred metres from the centre of the main village, which is surrounded by gorgeous vegetation. We recommend a glass-bottom boat tour to truly appreciate the underwater beauty of the area.

Ama Beach is perhaps the quietest on Zamami Island, and is in the south west part of the island, opposite two uninhabited islands, Gahi and Agenashiku. Take a swim here and if you are lucky enough, you may manage to see sea turtles. The waters are relatively shallow, allowing you to go snorkelling close to the coral reef, where you will see amazing fish. The ideal period for a dip is between January and March.

The area is well organised and equipped with bathrooms, paid-for showers, and a few restaurants with limited menus. If you want to be sure, bring a packed lunch with you when you come to Ama. If you are already in Zamami, pay a visit to Furuzamami Beach.

If you grow tired of beach life, you can always go on one of the excursions that the island offers.

Aharen Beach, Tokashiki Island

Tokashiki Island is the largest in the Kerama Archipelago. Although slightly less famous than Zamami, this wonderful location offers a number of great beaches to explore, one after the other. Its hilly interior is covered by thick vegetation. Come and swim in Tokashiki between May and October, but if you are lucky, you may enjoy warm temperatures out of season too. The two most famous beaches are located on the west coast and have well-organised bathing establishments with bathrooms, public showers, water sports equipment hire services and souvenir shops.

The best beach is Aharen, about 5 kilometres from the port of Tokashiki. Clean sand, crystal-clear waters, and sunshine that attracts tourists looking for relaxation and comfort. The waters are split up as follows: on one side, access if only for swimmers, on the other side for snorkellers. The Kubandaki Observatory is also close to the beach.

If you come to Tokashiki, you must also go to Tokashiku, the island's smallest and most characteristic beach.

Enoshima Beach

A small tourist island connected to Kamakura by a bridge. Welcome to Enoshima, a small tourist island where you can enjoy the best of Japanese hospitality in terms of seaside holidays. The island offers a temple, parks, observation centres, caves, beaches and a fantastic view of Mount Fuji when the weather is particularly clear.

Enoshima is divided into a port for yachts, that can be accessed from the hillside above. From here, you can also reach a temple and sanctuary complex dedicated to Benten, the goddess of fortune, well-being, music and knowledge. It is said that it was Benten that created Enoshima before sacrificing herself to the five-headed dragon that terrorised the area. The area also has a wonderful aquarium. Many beaches in Enoshima offer well-organised bathing establishments where it is possible to hire parasols and beds to enjoy the sea and the music that comes through the loud-speakers. If you go to a restaurant, make sure you try the local dish: shirasudon, a dish made with newborn white fish.

Depart for Japan with Costa Cruises

Depart for Japan with Costa Cruises The land of the Rising Sun is home to wonderful beaches that have nothing to envy of tropical, Caribbean islands, like the enchanting Yonaha-Maehama Beach. What are you waiting for? Board a Costa Cruise and come and explore Japan like you never thought you could.

Set Sail with Costa Cruises