Japan is a long, thin island country with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sea of Japan and East China Sea on the other. The length of the country results in an extensive coastline with lots of beaches. It also means that the climate and swimming season differ quite a bit from south to north. The best beaches for sunbathing and swimming are found in Okinawa to the south, but nice beaches exist in other regions, too.

Beaches often provide basic facilities such as toilets, changing rooms and showers. During the warmer months, swimming, snorkeling, surfing and sunbathing are popular beach activities. At the more popular beaches, lifeguards are present, and rental shops and temporary beach huts open for business, providing more showers, changing rooms, rest areas, food and drinks.

Swimmers should be aware that strong currents and poisonous marine life, such as jellyfish, are hazards at some beaches and inform themselves with up-to-date information before entering the water. Beachgoers should also keep the beaches clean and take their trash away with them. Many beaches do not provide garbage cans. Certain beaches may have additional rules posted, such as noise restrictions after sunset or - in rare cases - prohibitions on alcohol. Nudity is generally not allowed in public, and nudist beaches are virtually inexistent.

Below is a selection of some areas where tourists can find beaches in Japan:

Okinawa and Amami

Subtropical Okinawa Prefecture is famous for its white sand beaches, turquoise waters and warm climate with temperatures barely falling below 15 degrees in winter and beaches that are open year round. The best time to go swimming is from around late May until October. Always beware of strong currents that can pull you out to sea and poisonous creatures such as Habu Jellyfish, a type of box jellyfish, that are most prevalent from June to October.

Kerama Islands

Kume Island

Ishigaki Island

Around Tokyo

Despite Tokyo's image as a bustling metropolis, there are beaches not far from the city. In the summer, beaches along the Shonan Coast and the Miura Peninsula in neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture are very popular. The somewhat more distant Izu Peninsula is often considered to have the best beaches and snorkeling near Tokyo, while the Boso Peninsula is particularly popular amongst surfers.

The Izu Island chain south of Tokyo, including Izu Oshima, offers more beaches. The official swimming season around Tokyo typically lasts from mid July through August, but air and water temperatures are often warm enough before July and into September.


Kamakura Beaches


Izu Peninsula Beaches

Boso Peninsula Beaches

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Ogasawara Islands

The Ogasawara Islands are a chain of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. The subtropical islands are about 1000 kilometers south of Tokyo, practically in the middle of nowhere, and are accessible only by a 24 hour ferry ride from Tokyo. But the isolation is a boon for those looking to get away, and the islands offer lots of secluded beaches with snorkeling and swimming opportunities. Similar to Okinawa, the best time to go swimming here is from around June to October when the temperatures consistently top 25 degrees.

Ogasawara Islands

Other beaches along the Pacific Ocean

Aside from the beaches around Tokyo, there are many other beaches along the Pacific Ocean coast. Temperatures vary widely from one end of Japan to the other; however, generally the swimming season takes place around the summer holidays in July and August.

Jodogahama Beach

Miho Beach

Katsurahama Beach

Seto Inland Sea

The Seto Inland Sea lies between the main islands of Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu. The islands in the Seto Inland Sea experience a mild climate and some offer beautiful resorts with beaches and other attractions. The swimming season lasts typically from July through September.

Megijima Island

Sea of Japan

The Sea of Japan is decidedly cooler than the Pacific Ocean, but tends to be less developed. Air and water temperatures vary quite a bit from south to north, but swimming can be enjoyed in most places at least from mid July through August.

Chirihama Beach

Tottori Sand Dunes

Momochihama Beach