July 18 in Japan is known as Umi no Hi, or Marine Day. This holiday is celebrated every third Monday in July, and honors the prosperity of Japan’s oceanic surroundings. As the midsummer temperatures soar, Marine Day is a great chance to take to the water and get refreshed. Japan’s coastlines and islands are filled with beaches, with attractions for swimmers and surfers. Here are some of the most beautiful beaches that aren’t too far from Tokyo.
Chiba’s location on the eastern coast means plenty of sandy beaches and water activities during the summertime. With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to narrow down the best options for your excursion. Instead of simply heading to the most popular (and crowded) beach, you can check out these spots, which offer plenty of soft sand and gentle waves close to home.
If you’re hoping to sunbathe and swim with the locals, check out Onjuku Beach, one of Chiba’s more popular sandy spots. Kujukuri Beach takes the cake for the longest stretch of shoreline, and it’s perfect for long walks with the ocean on the horizon.
IIf you’re after the turquoise color of the tropics, Moriya Beach has stunningly clear waters that will save you a trip to Okinawa. Okitsu Beach has a similar feel, with bright sand and calm waters.
If you’re looking to go deeper, the city of Tateyama offers the opportunity to go scuba diving at Nishikawana Ocean Park. This experience will allow you to appreciate the full beauty of the ocean from under the water, with plenty of fish and various species of plant life to see. Weather conditions can affect the status of diving availability, so if you select scuba as your Umi no Hi activity of choice, be sure to check the forecast first.
If you’ve visited Kamakura and witnessed the Great Buddha, you may have noticed the city’s seaside offerings and stunning view of Mt. Fuji. This seaside city is a popular beach spot for Tokyo locals, so its most popular beachfronts can become overcrowded at times, and sometimes the conditions are not the most pristine. Despite this, you’re sure to have a good time with everything the destination has to offer.
Zaimokuza and Yuigahama are Kamakura’s most popular beaches, well-loved for their soft sand and great atmosphere. Enjoy a cocktail from one of the huts along the shoreline at Yuigahama, or windsurf off the bank of Zaimokuza. Stand-up paddleboarding has become a notable water attraction in Japan, so you’ll definitely find company at these beaches if you’re looking to try it.
Also close to Kamakura is Isshiki Beach, which is farther off the beaten path. This beach is popular with surfers, and offers an ocean experience in Kanagawa without all the crowds. Make no mistake—this beach is still a notable favorite for locals, and it may become yours too.
Even more peaceful, Oura Beach sits along the eastern coast of Kanagawa. Its remarkable rock formations give way to a beach that rivals its neighbors in all but congestion. This spot seems to be favored by those who like to bring their furry friends on oceanside adventures.
The Izu Peninsula is a popular vacation destination for those looking to travel, and offers plenty of places where you can stay and experience the local culture.
The Shimoda area is one of the top spots for visitors to Izu, and you can find some of the most beautiful beaches in Japan along its coast. The most popular of these beaches is Shirahama Beach, a long expanse of white sand and blue waters. The nearby Sotoura Beach is similarly beautiful, attracting tourists and residents alike to its cove.
Further south is Irita Beach, a long stretch of shoreline that is cherished for its sophisticated feel. This beach is said to be a favorite of couples, and the tropical atmosphere is sure to accentuate any romantic getaway. Not far away is Tatadohama Beach, which appeals to the surfing crowd and to swimmers of all levels. Tatadohama also has potential for exploration: its surrounding rocks give way to arches and tunnels, through which the clear waters can be accessed.
Off the coast of Shizuoka are the “Tokyo Islands,” close to the capital and accessible by ferry. While these islands don’t have as many amenities as the beaches on Honshu, their gorgeous waters are perfect for snorkeling and swimming in a reserved paradise.
Close to the coast is the island Niijima, just two hours by ferry from Tokyo. This island and its beaches are popular among seasoned surfers, especially Hashabiura Beach. Niijima’s neighboring island, Shikinejima, is better suited to swimmers of all ages. Tomari Beach is a long-standing favorite, often the choice for families.
The island Kozushima is easily accessible and home to natural hot springs that attract tourists. Near its central town is Maehama Beach, which is loved by visitors for its convenience and beauty. The azure waves are a surfer’s dream on some days, and perfect for a relaxing swim on others.
If you’re looking to celebrate the ocean on the upcoming Umi no Hi, these spots are a great place to start. See you on the beach!