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Turning up the heat in Hayama

Morito Beach in Hayama

Summer in Japan brings to mind beaches and barbecues, ice cold drinks, and festivals and fireworks. If you are in Japan over the hottest months of the year, consider visiting a nearby beach to experience how the locals spend their summer. For those in or around Tokyo, the Shonan Coast is especially popular during the summer due to its relative proximity to the metropolis. A visit to the beach could be combined with nearby Kamakura or Enoshima to maximise your sightseeing day out.

This summer's Chotto Zeitaku visit brings me to Hayama, a beach town just an hour south of Tokyo. The closest train station into the district is Zushi on the JR Shonan-Shinjuku Line or the JR Yokosuka Line, and from there, regular buses provide access into Hayama. The two main beaches of Isshiki and Morito are popular with standup paddlers and sunbathers, and during the summer season, temporary beach huts provide beachgoers with cool drinks, food and rental beach paraphernalia.

Temporary beach huts line the beach. The one at the far end doubles as a livehouse
Practice good beach habits
A bit of marine sport in action
We had an short conversation with him on his board and me looking down from the bridge
Beachgoers hanging out by the breakwater
Morito Shrine is right on the beach
Hayama Lighthouse and the shrine's torii can be seen in combination with Mount Fuji when the sky is clear

Hayama is not as well-known on the tourist map compared to places like Kamakura and Enoshima, and consequently, less crowded compared to the other two places. Despite being close these historical and cultural tourist destinations, the district made me feel like I wasn't in Japan at all. Being there in the summer, the sleepy, quiet beach town with narrow coastal streets could easily pass off as being in the tropics.

I had my bicycle with me for this trip which was very convenient for exploring the district. However, many of the places are within walking distance from either one of the beaches and it is not uncommon to see beachgoers in their swimwear walking along the street.

Doesn't feel like we're in Japan at all
Just watching people pass by
Hayama Marina, access for boat owners only
The Hayama Isshiki Post Office has been around since 1902 and the building couldn't be any cuter

The smaller crowd at Hayama was a definite welcome, but what made me fall in love with the area was the relaxed and laid-back atmosphere of locals and out-of-towners going about their day. In addition to spending some time lying on the beach, I also went in search for places to take the heat off. I found tiny shops that offered warm conversation and coffee, others that curated domestic produce and products, and prime locations to while away the long summer days.

Bookshelf layout goals
Brunch time at Overeasy
Shopping and dining under one roof
Sunshine+Cloud
The tiniest coffee roasters I've ever seen.
A freshly brewed cup of coffee to have at The Five Beans which only has standing room
They don't charge for their warm and friendly conversations
Deliciousness in a cup and selected reading for the day
Cripsy baguette sandwich for the hungry stomach
Afternoon tea break at pastry shop, La Maree de Chaya not far from the Hayama marina

I started the day at a cute brunch joint and ended it watching the sunset, making it an almost perfect day at the beach. The icing on the cake for me was the fireworks display just after sun set. As it turned out, it was the annual Kamakura Fireworks Festival and I was in an excellent spot to view the performance. There were so many more things I wanted to do which would require spending the night. This only means I will have to go back another time to complete my Hayama wishlist.

Caban by Tomorrowland, was where I saw the sunset
An ice-cold drink to wind down before the color spectacular began
Great vibes and colors at Caban. Mount Fuji is the pointy thing on the left!
Couldn't have asked for a better close to the day
Until this totally unexpected fireworks display started
I call this the technicolor sea urchin
I call this the weeping cherry tree
It was a perfect day out in Hayama after all

The "Chotto Zeitaku Japan" series by japan-guide.com is a continuing project to seek out places that allow us to enjoy the better things in life. Not exactly a sightseeing guide, but one that transports the visitor into a different space to relax and get away from it all.