Summer Escape to Japan’s 7 Best Beaches
Move over Southeast Asia, Japan’s beaches are stealing the spotlight this summer. Though it might not immediately come to mind as a beach destination, consider taking a break from its hectic cities and head for Japan’s coast of bright, dreamy under-the-radar beaches. Booking.com recently released a study on LGBTQ+ travel which found that the top elements considered when deciding where to travel amongst the Canadian LGBTQ+ communities include natural scenery (55%), tasty local cuisine (53%) and great beaches (46%). Given its reputation as one of the most progressive Asian countries with regards to LGBTQ+ laws and societal acceptance, Japan may be the perfect bucket list adventure for this Pride Month. Travel tip: you might notice how clean the beaches are, but struggle to find a garbage bin. Always bring a small bag to take your trash away with you.
Yonaha Maehama Beach, Miyako Island
This 7-km stretch of white sand is often considered to be one of Japan’s finest beaches. Thanks to its length, it rarely gets overcrowded, and its clear, shallow waters are perfect for a leisurely paddle.
Lifeguards and beach chairs make it a comfortable spot for families with kids. And fun-loving adults get to play, too – you can rent jet skis, go wakeboarding, or even kite-surfing when the wind picks up.
It’s easy to get to, with flights landing at Miyako Airport. If you’ve got kids in tow, Miyakojima Tokyu Hotel & Resorts – right on the beach – is a great option, while those seeking more intimacy will love the elegant Amore Miyakojima holiday home, just a 10-minute walk away.
Itoman, Okinawa Main Island
At Bibi beach in Itoman, shallow waters and low-tide pools ensure all-day entertainment for children, while the adults can lay back and relax. You can rent a barbecue at the beach, complete with a selection of delicious ingredients for the grill, or you can bring your own.
As the day comes to an end, cross the street and you’ll be at the Southern Beach Hotel & Resort. With its ocean views and convenient location just a 10-minute drive from the airport, it’s an easy place to get a dose of sun and family fun before continuing your Japanese adventure.
Amami, Oshima Island
When it comes to Insta-worthy tropical islands, Amami Oshima meets all the criteria. You’ll drive through a lush landscape of giant ferns and jungle-like flora, before getting to uncrowded beaches and turquoise waters.
Stand-up paddle boarding is popular, and if you want to catch some waves, Tebiro beach is a known surf spot. Or swap sunshine for shade for a day and explore the mangroves by kayak. And for a quirky getaway, stay at Holly Camp Airstream Villa Amami, where a large, private terrace overlooks the bay, and you sleep in an Airstream caravan.
Yomitan, Okinawa Main Island
If you prefer a local beach with fewer foreign tourists, Yomitan will hit the spot. The village itself lives mostly off its local crafts and agriculture, while Japanese tourists in the know head to some of the area’s sandy beaches.
Nirai Beach is reputed to be one of the most beautiful on Okinawa main island, sat between cliffs and towering rocks that have been creatively shaped by the sea. It’s open to the public, but you can have direct access from your accommodation when you stay at the highly rated Hotel Nikko Alivila.
Furuzamami Beach, Zamami Island
Ready for a selfie with Nemo and his colourful friends? Furuzamami Beach on Zamami Island is known as quite the snorkelling paradise. On the southwestern side of the island you’ll get breathtaking sunsets from Ama beach, just a 3-minute walk from the highly rated Minshuku Yadokari guest house.
A short hop over to Aka Island will have you swimming with the turtles in crystal clear waters. Just remember to look out for any signs that will advise you on how to behave in order to help preserve the coral reef and marine life.
Aharen Beach, Tokashiki Island
Tokashiki Island is just next to Zamami, with the advantage of being a little less frequented. Pop your goggles on to get up close and personal with clown fish, giant clams and other marine life at Aharen Beach, while a wander around Tokashiku might reward you with a turtle sighting if you’re lucky.
A fun, affordable option on Tokashiki Island is Kerama Backpackers, where guests appreciate the staff and the free shuttle. For a more secluded experience, travellers love the sunset from the wooden cabins at Tokashiki Guest House.
If you’ve planned a city-centric holiday but still want to take advantage of the summer sun, Fujisawa is less than an hour away from Tokyo by public transport. The beach is on the mainland, just next to the bridge that takes you to Enoshima Island.
Here you can wander through the Iwaya caves, immerse yourself in nature at the Samuel Cocking Botanical Garden, or admire the Enoshima Shrine. Stay at Sango Katase Guest Rooms for great-value accommodation and a final dip in the sea before heading back to Tokyo.