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8 Amazing Beaches In Japan That Actually Rival Ours

8 Amazing Beaches In Japan That Actually Rival Ours

Sunayama Beach in Japan

Return to Wonder – Japan Endless Discovery

When you think about Japan, you probably see the bright neon lights of Tokyo or the iconic cherry blossoms that bloom through spring. But there’s a whole other side of the country to explore. From volcanic ‘sand baths’ to idyllic island coastlines, Japan actually has some of the most beautiful and unique beaches in the world.

Of course, Australians are pretty spoiled for beaches at home. But Japan has one extra thing going for it: the country’s hottest months (June, July, August) are also our coldest. That makes Japan the ultimate destination for beach bums looking to get an early jump on summer.

Japan National Tourism Organization has all the details you need if you’re thinking of planning a cheeky coastal holiday, but here’s a bit of inspo to get you started:

#1 Sunayama Beach


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This cosy beach on Miyako Island is like something out of a fairytale. It’s found by tunnelling your way through a lush green thicket, and you’re welcomed to the shore by an iconic rock arch that’s been forged by the waves over many centuries. Sunayama is just one of many beloved beaches on Miyako-jima, making it an ideal pitstop on an epic island getaway around Okinawa Prefecture.

#2 Yonaha Maehama Beach


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This pristine tropical beach is on the southern end on Miyako Island, just a 30-minute drive from Sunayama Beach. Its crystal-clear water makes it ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving; and with the beach stretching out over a 7km coastline, you have plenty of space to explore. If you’re feeling a bit less active, the sand itself is ideal for lazing. It’s widely regarded as one of the best white-sand beaches in the country.

#3 Ibusuki Onsen


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For something completely different, but no less relaxing, check out the black sand beaches at Ibusuki Onsen. The southern tip of Kyushu is known for its onsen and sunamushi: locals and tourists alike flock to this area to bury themselves in sand up to the neck while gazing out at the ocean. The sand is naturally heated by volcanic steam and “bathing” in the warm sand is believed by many to have restorative properties. It’s recommended that you spend about 10 to 20 minutes in the sand for ultimate relaxation and then wash off and chill out in the hot springs.

#4 Yurigahama Beach


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Ever wanted to hang out on your own private island? This surreal beach, located on the small island of Yoron, is famous for an elusive sandbar that disappears and re-emerges with the tide. If you time it correctly (and have a bit of luck), you can find yourself surrounded by clear, emerald water on all sides. Good luck getting on and off the sandbar with a dry towel though.

#5 Aharen Beach


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If you’re keen on trying your hand at snorkelling, there are few places better than Aharen Beach on Tokashiki Island. This idyllic spot is stacked with sea turtles, colourful tropical fish and corals. It’s also great for beginners as the bay is sheltered from big waves and strong currents. While you’re in the water, you’ll feel totally cut off from the rest of the world, but Naha – the capital of the Okinawa Prefecture – is just a 35-minute ferry ride away.

#6 Kondoi Beach


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Located on the tiny Taketomi Island, a 10-minute ferry away from Ishigaki, Kondoi Beach is another perfect hideaway. The water is crystal clear and the bay is crescent shaped, so it feels like the island is folding around you. After a long swim you can then explore the traditional village on the island; some locals even offer short tours on a water buffalo-drawn cart.

#7 Nishihama Beach


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Make sure you bring your sunnies because the water at Nishihama Beach (not to be confused with Nishibama Beach on Aka Island) is so blue and the sand is so white it’s almost blinding. Located on Japan’s southernmost inhabited island, Hateruma, this beach is the perfect place to bliss out – but not before you snap a few perfect Instagram pics. Hateruma translates to ‘edge of the coral’ and, lying on this remote piece of paradise, you’ll feel like you’re at the edge of the world.

#8 Miyagi Prefecture


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Although not strictly a beach town, Miyagi is the gateway to several world-famous islands and so deserves its spot among these crystal clear, white sand beauties. From the Miyagi coastline, you can ride the ferry to Tashiro Island – otherwise known as Cat Island, where our feline friends outnumber humans three-to-one – or look out over the the 260 pine-covered islands in Matsushima Bay, considered one of the most beautiful sights in Japan. The Miyagi coastline also offers spectacular sea views to set the vibe for your coastal getaway.

Ready to see the other side of Japan? Check out more amazing destinations here.

(Lead image: 7maru / Shutterstock)

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