The Beach Guide

Top 11 Beaches in Okinawa

Tropical Okinawa and the southern islands are without doubt home to many of Japan's best beaches. Surrounded by warm clear water and often fringed with exotic coral reef, the white sand beaches of Okinawa seem to have been largely overlooked by the rest of the world.
Also known as the Ryukyu Islands, the Okinawa archipelago is made up of over 20 islands of varying sizes. All are located in the far south of Japan, but as you head southwards from the main island of Okinawa Honto things become increasingly tropical and much less developed.

Okinawa Island itself is home to a wealth of good beaches although many have been developed into resorts and others are in urban areas. The best of Okinawa's beaches are located on the smaller islands such as the Yaeyama, Miyako and Kerama Islands. Here the features which make Okinawa's beaches so appealing are magnified and many have a pristine, untouched feel with jungles and mangrove forest spilling down to the beach. The southern Okinawan beaches also offer world class diving with dolphins and sea turtles regularly seen along with bigger fish such as Manta rays and Whale sharks.

Whilst the beaches of the Ryukyu island chain are a tropical paradise, with this come a couple of things to be aware of. Firstly, time your visit; whilst it is never cold here October is Typhoon season and things can get a little hairy. The other thing to watch out for at Okinawa's beaches is the Habu Jellyfish - a small box jellyfish. These are more prevalent in the summer months and can deliver a dangerous sting.

  • Akajima Beach

    Akajima Beach
    ©JordyMeow / CC BY

    Akajima, pronounced Akashima, is an island forming part of the Kerama Islands group in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture. Nicknamed "Aka", this is a popular holiday destination from both Okinawa and the mainland. Situated roughly midway between the northern tip of Taiwan and mainland Japan's southern-most point, Aka enjoys a near tropical… read more »

  • Mibaru Beach

    Mibaru Beach
    ©inf_supTJ

    Mibaru is one of the finest beaches on the island of Okinawa itself. The long stretch of white sand leading into the crystal clear turquoise ocean will is a familiar them with the beaches in Japan's tropical south, but what makes Mibaru stand out are the various rock formations along its length.… read more »

  • Furuzamami Beach

    Furuzamami Beach
    ©Hashi photo / CC BY

    Furuzamami Beach is located on the island of Zamami which is located around an hour's high speed ferry ride from the main island of Okinawa. Most would agree it is well worth the journey and the beach is regularly rated as one of Japan's finest.

    This tropical beach is graced with… read more »

  • Nishihama Beach

    Nishihama Beach
    ©iloverjoa / CC BY

    Nishihama Beach is found on Hateruma, the most southerly inhabited island in all of Japan. This remote slice of tropical paradise lives up to expectations with Nishihama consistently topping out the polls on Japan's best beaches.

    Given the island is sometimes referred to as "Hateruma Blue" it is little surprise the waters are… read more »

  • Kondoi Beach

    Kondoi Beach
    ©kanegen / CC BY

    Set on Taketomi island, one of the most southerly in Japan, Kondoi beach is well within the tropics. The small island is much less built up than its neighbour Ishigaki, which is the de facto capital of the Yaeyama Islands. From here you can catch a ferry which takes less… read more »

  • Maehama Beach

    Maehama Beach
    ©eyeblink / 123RF

    Maehama is often cited as Japan's best beach and it is easy to see why. The fine white sand of this beach stretches seven kilometres around the south west coast of Miyakojima island. Here the water is warm, calm and crystal clear with a hint of brilliant green / blue.… read more »

  • Emerald Beach

    Emerald Beach
    ©shihina / 123RF

    Emerald beach is located on the tip of the Motobu Peninsula in the north of Okinawa's main island, Honto. The name comes from the beautiful greeny-turquoise colour of the clear waters here which are every bit as clean as they look. Emerald beach is actually part of the Ocean Expo… read more »

  • Tokashiku Beach

    Tokashiku Beach
    ©Snap55 / CC BY

    Tokashiku beach is a beautiful white sand beach on the island of Tokashiki, one of the Kerama Islands about 32 km (20 miles) west of Okinawa island. The crystal clear waters off the beach here are regarded as one of the best places to spot sea turtles, which along with many species of… read more »

  • Aharen Beach

    Aharen Beach
    ©Sean Pavone / 123RF

    Aharen Beach is situated on the west coast of Tokashiki Island, part of the Kerama group an hour's boat trip from Okinawa's main city, Naha. The curving white sand bay here is backed by high hills covered in lush vegetation leaving little doubt that you are in the tropics. Just… read more »

  • Aragusuku Beach

    Aragusuku Beach
    ©eyeblink

    Located just around the corner from Yoshino Beach is the lesser, but equally lovely, Aragusuku Beach. This beach is yet another Okinawan gem with white sands gently sloping into the shallow tropical sea before yielding to colorful coral reefs. This makes it a popular spot with tourists and locals alike… read more »

  • Sunayama Beach

    Sunayama Beach
    ©Tagstock Japan

    Sunayama is situated in the north of Miyako-jima Island which is part of Japan's tropical Okinawa Prefecture. This pleasant little white sand beach is immediately identifiable by the rock arch at the southern end of the beach. The arch was formed by the exposed coral reef being eroded by the… read more »