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Think of Japan and you’d be forgiven for not instantly envisaging the beach. However, with 30,000km of coastline it sure isn’t a country that falls short on sand. And with summer temperatures that average around 25 degrees, who wouldn’t want to while away an hour or two dipping in and out of the water?
Come September, some of Japan’s most jaw-droppingly beautiful beaches are almost completely deserted. So why not add the below beach resorts to your next Japanese adventure?
1. Mainland: Shirahama Beach, Nishimuro
People are often surprised by the pristine whiteness of Japanese beaches and Shirahama is one of the nation’s finest. Located on the south coast of the Wakayama Perfecture in the Nishimuro District, the pure white sand is actually imported from Australia, so it’s smooth, fine and impeccably clean. Also home to one of the oldest hot springs in Japan, complete your beach trip with a stint at one of the six bath houses open to the public. Or, if you visit in summer, wait until the evening and revel in a nightly display of fireworks.
2. Island: Emerald Beach, Okinawa
Found in the northern section of Ocean Expo Park on the Motobu Peninsula, Emerald Beach is divided into three separate areas; one beach for playing, one for resting and one for landscape (IE, it’s so beautiful the main purpose is ‘for viewing’) Each section offers at least 150m of glorious sand and a water quality ranked ‘AA’ – the best possible standard, so it’s clean, clear and ideal for swimming. In summer a shuttle bus conveniently transports beach-goers to and from the other attractions located at Ocean Expo Park, including aquariums, museums and a native Okinawan Village.
3. Mainland: Omi Maiko Beach
Take a train from Kyoto Station and within 45 minutes you could be at the impossibly beautiful Omi Maiko Beach. Flanking the banks of Lake Biwa, Japan’s biggest lake and the world’s third oldest, the three-mile crescent shaped bank boasts sand as white as angel hair and a gentle freshwater lake. Perennially unpopulated you’ll share this moon-shaped piece of paradise with hardly anyone, while the blue pines sitting against a backdrop of Hira Mountains will make for ample photo opportunities. Swimming is a must-do, but you’ll also find windsurfing, tennis, fishing and hiking.
4. Island: Sunset Beach, Ishigaki Island
One guess why this beach is so idyllic! As part of the Yaeyama archipelago, Sunset Beach can be found on Ishigaki Island, the most populated island in the collection. Fly in from Tokyo and you can go from urban to Utopia in just over 3.5 hours.
A fair old way from the island’s bustling centre, embarking on a trip to Sunset Beach is well worth the effort, with a beautiful beach in a glorious carat of gold and a semi-tropical location in Japan’s deep south. Of course, it goes without saying that Sunset Beach also offers the optimum spot to watch the sun sink into the East China Sea.
5. Island: Nishihama Beach, Hateruma Island
Paradise found. And in Japan! Who’d have thought? For platinum white sand and a startling emerald sea, seek-out the one kilometres stretch of perfection that makes up Nishihama Beach. Nuzzling the fringes of Hateruma Island; Japan’s southernmost inhabited island and approximately 25km south of Iriomote Port, the water is as clear as glass and the sand’s impressively white. So much so, you may be reluctant to stand or swim amongst them – for fear of tarnishing their impossible purity.
Five glorious Japanese beaches you’d be wise to add into your Japanese agenda.
> Find out more about the stunning Japanese beaches and islands.
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