Jul 05. 2024Topics

Beach Culture in Japan

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Summer is finally here in Japan, and with it comes non-stop hot, humid weather that will last until the fall. So what is the best way to beat the Japanese heat?

Head to the beach of course!

There are beaches all over the country, best enjoyed from late June to early September. Tons of aquatic activities beyond just basking in the sun or swimming in the ocean are popular in Japan, from snorkeling at the beaches in Okinawa to surfing and bar hopping at the beaches in Shonan, near Tokyo. So let's take a look at what you need to know about going to the beach in Japan so that you and everyone else enjoying the beach can have the best time possible, and then take a look at popular beach activities and where to do them.

How to Have the Best Beach Experience Possible in Japan

If you're planning to head to the beach this summer, here are some things you should know.

・Weather can be Volatile

Before heading to the beach, make sure you check the weather forecast. Summer weather in Japan can be volatile, and sudden changes, such as typhoons or heavy rain, can ruin your beach trip or be outright dangerous. Many beaches have warning systems in place to alert beachgoers of dangerous conditions, so if you can understand Japanese pay attention to any announcements you hear. Otherwise, be sure to keep a weather app handy to keep yourself informed.

・Every Beach has Different Rules

Usually, every beach has its own set of rules regarding activities, cleanliness, and behavior. Common rules include no loud music (such as from wireless Bluetooth speakers), no open flames outside designated areas, and specific swimming zones. Knowing and following these rules will allow you and everyone around you to have the best time possible at the beach.

・Protecting Yourself from the Sun is a Must

The summer sun in Japan can be very strong, especially in the middle of the day. If you don't want to get a sunburn, make sure you wear sunscreen. Hats, sunglasses, and light clothes can help protect you from the sun. Many beaches have beach parasol or tent rental services as well. Also, be sure to drink lots of liquids to avoid heatstroke.

・Beware of Jellyfish

In the summer, jellyfish can be a problem, depending on the beach. You can often check online, or with staff at the beach itself, as to whether there have been jellyfish sightings or if you need to be careful. If you do get stung by a jellyfish, get out of the water right away and seek medical attention, as some jellyfish species can cause severe reactions.

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Popular Beach Activities in Japan

There is a wide range of activities popular at beaches in Japan, with swimming and sunbathing being the most popular. Many popular beaches will have lifeguards on duty, so you don't need to stress as much if you are heading to the beach with your family. Beyond swimming, here are some more of the popular beach activities in Japan, as well as some recommendations for beaches where you can take part in them.

・Barbecues and Picnics

Barbecuing and picnicking are beloved pastimes at many Japanese beaches. Beaches often have designated barbecue pits or provide grill rentals, so groups of friends or families can gather and grill fresh seafood, vegetables, and meats. Note that some beaches may have strict rules about where barbecuing is or isn't allowed, or may allow barbecues for only some months of the year.


Fishing is a popular activity along Japan's coastlines. Whether it's shore fishing, pier fishing, or fishing from a boat, there are ample opportunities to catch a variety of fish, such as mackerel, sea bream, and even squid. Some areas also offer night fishing experiences.

If you are particularly interested in trying out night fishing, there are many popular locations around Tokyo Bay, the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, and Kochi Prefecture in particular.

・Canoeing and Kayaking

Want to get out on the water? Canoeing and kayaking are both popular beach activities in Japan but are not limited to beaches. Taking a canoe or kayak is a great way to explore Japan's lakes, rivers, and coastlines. There are many locations across Japan where you can rent a canoe or kayak, but here are a couple of particularly popular locations. Both of these locations have guided tours available to take you through the best routes.

Izu Peninsula (Shizuoka Prefecture): This area is known for its rugged coastlines and clear waters, making it ideal for kayaking and canoeing. You can explore hidden coves, sea caves, and even small islands around the peninsula while taking in the truly scenic beauty of the area.

Kerama Islands (Okinawa Prefecture): The Kerama Islands are renowned for their crystal-clear waters, coral reefs, and white sandy beaches. If you are lucky, you may even see sea turtles while out on the water. Self-guided tours are available along with guided tours.

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・Snorkeling and Diving

Japan has many popular snorkeling and diving spots, particularly in Okinawa. Here are some recommendations for where you could go snorkeling or diving in Japan. These locations all have guided tours available as well as equipment rental, making snorkeling in particular a fun beach activity for families.

Snorkeling: Miyako Island in Okinawa Prefecture has some of the best snorkeling spots in Japan, like Yoshino Beach and Aragusuku Beach. The water is particularly clear, making it easy to see the coral reefs and tropical fish.

The Ogasawara Islands, also known as the Bonin Islands, are remote islands that are part of Tokyo Prefecture. These islands are a natural World Heritage site and since they are so remote offer snorkeling experiences you cannot find in other parts of Japan, such as swimming with dolphins.

Diving: Ishigaki Island in Okinawa Prefecture is renowned for its diving spots, including the famous Manta Scramble, where divers can see large groups of manta rays. There are multiple diving schools and guided tours available here, so if you want to learn to dive this is a great spot to do so.

Another unique option is the Shiroteko Peninsula in Hokkaido Prefecture. Here, you can take part in unique cold-water diving experiences. You may even get to see seals and sea lions on a guided tour here.

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Enjoy Your Summer in Japan!

With so many beaches and activities across the country, summertime is tons of fun in Japan. No matter where you go or what you choose to do, you're bound to have a great time by the sea in Japan.

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