Since most visitors to Japan are keen to stay in the thriving metropolis of Tokyo in order to experience its many attractions, as well as travel to outlying areas to see any number of historical sites in this small but long-lived island nation, people often forget that Japan has a tropical climate and that it is surrounded by the beautiful and warm waters that are present all along the Pacific Ring of Fire. So there are tons of gorgeous beaches that travelers can enjoy, many of them just as nice as what you might find at more popular beach destinations in Hawaii, Fiji, and the Philippines, for example. And here are just a few that you won’t want to miss on your next trip to Japan.
Situated on the Izu Peninsula (in Shizouka), this penultimate beach is just a few hours away from Tokyo. The area has been dubbed the Côte d’Azur of Japan and it’s not hard to see why with the incredible tropical atmosphere, brilliant blue waters, and distinctive tiled rooftops. Frolic in the crystalline waters of this breathtaking beach or hike around nearby Hirizo to get an elevated view of the waters and landscape below.
You’ll find this relatively unknown island chain (there are 30 specs of land that make up the area) some distance from the rest of the country. In fact, it will take you more than a day of travel by boat (about 25 hours, actually) to get there (leaving Tokyo Bay). But it is well worth the trek to set foot on the “Galapagos of the Orient”, pieces of land that support native wildlife and not much else. To say that these beaches are remote is an understatement. But the upside for travelers a little wary to leave civilization behind is that they are virtually unspoiled by man, making their white-sand beaches and rocky inlets all the more exclusive and appealing.
Apparently some of the best beaches in Japan can be found in the Okinawa region, as this gorgeous sandscape proves (along Aharen Beach on nearby Tokashiki Island). This Okinawan island is located off the southwestern coast of Japan proper and its main draw is an extensive coral reef nestled amidst some of the clearest waters you’ve ever seen. If snorkeling through the coral cove with about 200 feet of visibility sounds appealing, then prepare to see enough tropical fish, sharks, and sea turtles to rival this reef’s Great Barrier counterpart. Or if you’re tired of playing below the waves, consider sunning under cerulean skies of participating in other fun water sports like kayaking.
Also located in Okinawa, this tropical lagoon in Ishigakijima has been cited by the country as one of their top 100 scenic locations. With the shallow waters of the lagoon beckoning even inexperienced waders to take a dip, and a lush, tropical landscape surrounding the inlet, visitors will quickly start to feel like they’ve landed in paradise.
Yet another of Okinawa’s many desirable locales, this one will appeal to those that are looking for a bit more than a beautiful view. Although the geometric rock formations that start on the beach and slip under the waves are an eye-goggling sight to behold, they also provide a natural shelf from which to fish, giving the sporting traveler a little something extra.
Sarah Danielson is a freelance writer and part time student. In her spare time she likes to go hiking and help with an animal rescue out of Los Angeles, California.
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