When you think of Japan, you’re probably more likely to think of bustling cities rather than tranquil beaches.
However, Japan is an island country, and, because of its long, thin shape, it has an extensive coastline. It’s surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea on the other.
Not only does it offer a host of beaches, but a variety of beaches too, as these can differ in climate and temperature between the North and South of the country.
We’ve made a list of the top must-see beaches in Japan…
Yonaha Maehama Beach (Okinawa)
On Miyako Island’s west coast you’ll find the 7-kilometer-long slice of paradise that is Yonaha Maehama Beach.
It’s ranked as one of the best beaches in Japan, thanks to its pristine turquoise waters that are perfect for diving and snorkeling, and its gorgeous white-sand beaches.
At Yonaha you can enjoy unrivaled sunsets and even rent a bike or scooter to see more of the tranquil island.
Tomari Beach (Tokyo prefecture)
Tomari beach is in Tokyo Prefecture but is situated on Shikine Island which is actually 100 miles south of the capital. It’s an ideal escape from crowded Tokyo and takes just 3 hours to get there from the capital, or ten hours by ferry.
The beach is a 5-minute walk from the port, and here you’ll find tranquil waters and white sand with plenty of greenery on the surrounding cliffs, too.
Hirizo Beach (Shizuoka prefecture)
If you’re looking for an isolated beach get-away, you’ll like the calm and isolated Hirizo beach in the south of the Izu Peninsula. The beach has a perfect detached feel to it as you can only get here by ferry between mid-July and mid-September.
It’s also famous for its clear blue waters, which allow you to see up to 7 meters deep - perfect for diving and snorkeling. The area is well maintained and the beach is kept pristine, however, locals are keen to keep things this way.
There are no amenities for tourists either, perfect if you’re looking for an unconventional beach escape.
Suishohama Beach (Fukui prefecture)
Suishohama offers the clearest water in Japan, which is how it earned its name, as ‘Suisho’ means crystal in Japanese.
Not only is the water out of this world, but the sand of Wakasa Bay is also unique, nicknamed “singing sand” due to the melodic sound it makes when you walk upon it.
There are plenty of tourist amenities and accommodation in this area, and water sports are also popular.
Takahama Beach (Nagasaki prefecture)
You’ll find Takahama beach at the tip of the Nagasaki Peninsula, just west of the main island.
The beach faces the former mining island of Gunkanjima, providing great views, and you’ll find an array of convenient features for tourists.
Shirahama Beach (Wakayama prefecture)
Shirahama is another popular spot for water sports, but it’s also a popular seaside resort and spa - so there’s something for everyone and it’s perfect for family holidays.
With a 650-meter stretch of bright white sand and plenty of palm trees, it’s perfect for strolling and relaxing, and during the summer, you can even enjoy picturesque firework displays by the waterside.
Yurigahama Beach (Kagoshima prefecture)
Yurigahama lies close to the island of Okinawa and is 1 mile from Yoron Island in the sea, meaning if you visit it you’ll be surrounded by the dazzling Emerland Sea.
It is actually a sandbar and is only accessible when the sea level is low during the spring and summer months. From June to September, you can rent glass-bottom boats to travel from Okaneku beach to Yurigahama.
Furuzamami Beach (Okinawa prefecture)
Furuzamami beach can be found on the island of Zamami, situated 25 miles from the capital of Okinawa - meaning it takes just one hour to get here via boat.
The beach is an arc-shape, offering a vast shoreline and turquoise water as well as views of the surrounding neighboring islands. The clear waters and tropical aquatic life makes this the perfect snorkeling destination.
Jodogahama Beach (Iwate prefecture)
Jodogahama lies in northern Japan, on the east coast of Iwate Prefecture. Located in the middle of Sanriku Fukko National Park, Jodogahama offers a deep blue ocean, rich, green pine trees, and historic white volcanic stones.
It was formed by magma 52 million years ago, and traces of lava flows are still visible. This beach attracts many tourists during the summer and is favored for its accessibility and calm waters.
Nishihama Beach (Okinawa prefecture)
Hateruma - part of the Yaeyama island group - is the southernmost inhabited island of Japan and has 600 inhabitants.
Here you’ll find the tranquil spot of Nishihama beach, which is just over half a mile long and offers warm temperatures and a myriad of tropical flora and fauna.