Japan's Best Beaches not in Okinawa

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Chances are if you are looking for information on Japan's best beaches you will be presented with a list of tropical Okinawan beauties. And this is fair enough, with their often pristine white sand and clear turquoise waters you'd be hard pressed to find better beaches anywhere in the world. But this is not to say there aren't great beaches elsewhere in Japan.

With thousands of miles of coastline there are a myriad of beaches to choose from in Japan and many of these will surprise you with how beautiful they are. Golden sand, mountain views, great surf and even the odd coral reef give the main Japanese islands plenty of great summer travel options.

I was initially going to call this article the "Best beaches in mainland Japan", but realised this was going to cause confusion as Japan is a nation of Islands. If there is such thing as a Japanese mainland then it would refer to the biggest island, Honshu. However, this article will include beaches from Kyushu, Shikoku and maybe even Hokkaido.

  • Katsurahama Beach // Shikoku

    Katsurahama Beach
    ©äº¬æµœã«ã‘ / CC BY

    Katsurahama Beach is a popular destination, located around 30 minutes from the city of Kochi on the island of Shikoku. This pretty stretch of sand is backed by a promenade and the trees of Katsurahama Park. Towards the western end the beach curves round to a small headland which is home to a shrine.

    Whilst it is fine to sit on the beach soaking up the sun or take a stroll along the promenade and sit in a cafe you are not allowed to swim at Katsurahama. The reason for this… read more »

  • Shirahama Beach (Shimoda) // Honshu

    Shirahama Beach (Shimoda)

    Despite being only around 2 hours train ride from Tokyo this remains one of Japan's most beautiful beaches. The name Shirahama translates to "white sands" and this pretty well describes the 800 metre crescent of beach. Combine this with crystal clear blue water and it isn't difficult to see why this is one of mainland Japan's most popular beaches.

    Shirahama is situated on the Izu Peninsula, an area renowned for its tourist attractions and natural sights including mountains, rock formations and hot springs. The beach is just a few kilometers from… read more »

  • Odaiba Beach // Honshu

    Odaiba Beach
    ©Steven Johnson / CC BY

    Nestled among the concrete dockside of Tokyo Bay is the 800 metre (half mile) golden crescent of Odaiba Beach. There is no pretence that the beach here is anything but man made with the backdrop of high-rise buildings reinforcing this. Despite its urban setting there are trees lining the beachfront and an area of parkland runs along this section of coast.

    The view out from the beach is towards the famous Rainbow Bridge - a suspension bridge which is colorfully illuminated at night using solar power. If you stick around for… read more »

  • Kotohikihama // Honshu


    Set within a national park, the long pristine pale golden sands of Kotohikihama beach are both beautiful and quite unique. Described as "singing sand" the sand here is famous for emitting a squeaking sound when walked on. This is the result of the combination of the quartz sand and exceptionally clean water.

    Kotohikihama beach is designated a national natural monument and a great deal of effort is made to maintain this status including regular beach cleans and it.

    Also known as Kotohikihama Kakezu, the beach is home to a hot spring, which… read more »

  • Amanohashidate // Honshu


    A 3.5-kilometre sandbar stretching south across the Asoumi Sea from the town of Miyazu, Amanohashidate's beaches are located around 100 km northwest of Kyoto on Japan's main island of Honshu.

    Just a few metres wide in places, it comprises one of the Three Views of Japan, which have been celebrated since 1643. Part of the Tango-Amanohashidate-Ōeyama Quasi-National Park, its length is typified by a forest of pine trees to its western side, and white sands to its eastern one.

    Translating to "heavenly bridge", the sandbar's natural beauty can be enjoyed on foot… read more »

  • Suma Beach // Honshu

    Suma Beach
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  • Wakasa Wada Beach // Honshu

    Wakasa Wada Beach
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  • Zaimokuza Beach // Honshu

    Zaimokuza Beach
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  • Yuigahama Beach // Honshu

    Yuigahama Beach
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  • Oarai Beach // Honshu

    Oarai Beach
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  • Shichirigahama // Honshu

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  • Iritahama Beach // Honshu

    Iritahama Beach
    ©Izu navi
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  • Tatadohama Beach // Honshu

    Tatadohama Beach
    ©Izu navi
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