5 stunning beaches on the outskirts of Tokyo perfect for summer

5 stunning beaches on the outskirts of Tokyo perfect for summer

by Miyuki Yajima
Live Japan

While many of Japan’s most famous beaches lie on the remote islands of Okinawa, metropolises like Tokyo are also surrounded by gorgeous beaches with clear waters, abundant nature, and super-convenient transport facilities. Many of these stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the world’s best, and you can reach them all in less than two hours from any of Tokyo’s major stations!

This article will present a selection of beaches that are not only beautiful, but have also been ranked the highest level of AA for water purity* by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. Each is also chock full of exciting spots worth checking out, so you can beat the heat, enjoy the views, and save time and money on transport at any of these Tokyo paradises!

*As per the “Sea Bathing Area (Before Opening) Water Quality Examination” released in July 2019.
*Due to COVID-19, a number of beaches have been closed, including some that were initially scheduled to open. Confirm details at the relevant municipality’s homepage.

1. Isshiki Beach: One of the World’s Top 100 Beaches! (Kanagawa)

Images: PIXTA

Being just one hour away from Tokyo, Isshiki Beach in Zushi, Kanagawa, is the closest beach to the big city on this list.

Alongside Nishibama Beach on Aka Island, Okinawa, Isshiki Beach was one of two Japanese beaches selected for CNN’s 100 Best Beaches Around the World (ranked 65). In addition, due to its exceptional water quality, scenery, safety, and convenience, it was also chosen as one of Japan’s Top 88 Swimming Beaches.

Despite being frequented by crowds of families and couples, Isshiki Beach remains spacious enough to enjoy a touch of privacy.

The water quality is the epitome of purity. Best of all, on clear days, you can even spot Mt. Fuji in the background!

In addition to the incredible mountainous scenery, the Hayama Imperial Villa, the vacation home of the Japanese Imperial Family, is also nearby. Witnessing the mountains and ocean surrounded by peace and history is undoubtedly a charm unique to Isshiki Beach.

Isshiki Beach 一色海岸
Address: Isshiki, Hayama, Miura District, Kanagawa 240-0111
Nearest Station: From Shinjuku Station, take the JR Yokosuka Line until Zushi Station (approx. 70 mins). From the front of the station, board the bus labeled “Kaigan Mawari” and get off at “Isshiki Kaigan” (approx. 16 mins).
Alternatively, take the Keikyu Line from Shinagawa Station and get off at Zushi・Hayama Station (approx. 60 mins). From in front of the station, take the bus heading to “Hayama” and disembark at “Isshiki Kaigan.”
*From March 2020, Shinzushi Station was renamed Zushi・Hayama Station

2. Sarushima: The Only Uninhabited Island in Tokyo Bay! (Kanagawa)

A part of Yokosuka City, Sarushima is the largest natural island in Tokyo Bay. Boasting an abundance of untouched nature, the island has its own unique ecosystem of rare plants and animals, making it a precious gem sheltered from the surrounding urbanization. It is also encompassed by magnificent transparent water, making it a swimmer’s paradise!

As Sarushima was formerly employed as a battle fort, the remnants of ammunition dumps, artillery batteries, and brick tunnels have become a significant historical landmark demonstrating the scars of war.

Because of this, there are plenty of sightseeing tours available, allowing one to appreciate the full extent of this convergence of nature and history (requires reservation).

With the entire island dotted by leisure facilities, including swimming beaches, fishing spots, BBQ sites, and more, you can easily fritter away the day here without getting bored!

While the swimming beach has been closed for 2022, visitors can enjoy BBQs on the beachfront all year round while relishing views of the stark contrast between the island’s lush nature and the cityscape of the opposing shoreline.

Despite being uninhabited, Sarushima can be reached by ferry in just 10 minutes from Mikasa Pier, which is within walking distance from Yokosuka-chuo Station.

Yokosuka is an interesting city within itself, characterized by a somewhat American feel due to the presence of the US Military Base. Because of this, English signage and authentic American-style restaurants are plentiful, making getting around easy for international tourists. After a day of exploring Sarushima, definitely don’t miss checking out Yokosuka too!

Sarushima 猿島
Address: 1 Sarushima, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 238-0019 (Sarushima Park)
Nearest Station: Take the Keikyu Line from Shinagawa Station to Yokosuka-chuo Station (approx. 56 mins). From there, walk roughly 15 mins to Mikasa Terminal/Sarushima Visitors Center. The boat ride is 10 mins one way.

3. Araihama Beach: The Clearest Waters of the Miura Peninsula! (Kanagawa)

Another of Japan’s Top 88 Swimming Beaches, Araihama Beach is renowned for its pristine waters said to be the clearest of the entire Miura Peninsula.

The beach’s waves are small and calm, allowing even young children to play freely without trouble. While the best way to appreciate the area’s abundant sea life is through snorkeling, even just playing on the rocks is enough to spot a multitude of fish and crustaceans inhabiting the exceptionally pure water.

While this tiny 150m-long beach is seemingly a secret only known to locals, its open and relaxed atmosphere welcomes those who want to chill out and indulge in aimless wandering. If you like your beaches with privacy, this is where to go!

Once the sun begins setting into Sagami Bay, the atmosphere takes on a leisurely, local feel, allowing international travelers an authentic peek into life in coastal Japan. Mt. Fuji can also be spotted from the surrounding seashores, allowing plenty of gorgeous views for visitors!

Araihama Beach 荒井浜海水浴場
Address: Koajiro-1036 Misakimachi, Miura, Kanagawa 238-0225
Nearest Station: Take the Keikyu Line from Shinagawa Station and get off at Misakiguchi Station (approx. 75 mins). From the front of the station, take the bus heading to Aburatsubo and get off at Aburatsubo (approx. 15-30 mins). Walk 10 minutes to the beach.

4. Ubara Beach Resort: The White Sands and Gorgeous Waters of Chiba!

Known as the “Okinawa of Kanto,” the Ubara Beach Resort in Katsuura, Chiba Prefecture, is one of the region’s most celebrated beaches and a member of Japan’s Top 100 Shorelines.

The smooth sandy beach combined with the otherworldly cobalt blue of the water makes one really wonder if they’re still in the Kanto region!

The transparency of the water is undoubtedly the most beautiful in Chiba. It is also somewhat of a hidden gem, preventing it from becoming overcrowded.

Being just a 5-minute walk from Ubara Station, it is also incredibly easy to find! Using both express and local services, the journey takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo.

One of the beach’s most famous icons is the white torii gate of Ubara Yasaka Shrine, which stands triumphantly on the shoreline. Taking in this distinctly Japanese imagery makes a trip to Ubara all the more worthwhile!

In addition to the beach, the nearby Ubara Utopia is considered one of Japan’s most scenic spots. Boasting jaw-dropping views of the entire region, this majestic gem is worth a visit any time of year.

Ubara Beach Resort 鵜原海水浴場
Address: Ubara, Katsuura, Chiba 299-5243
Nearest Station, Access: Take the Limited Express Wakashio train from Tokyo Station. After it turns into the JR Sotobo Line and reaches Ubara Station (approx. 80 mins), disembark and walk 5 minutes.

5. Maehama Beach: Stunning Waters on a Tokyo Island?! (Tokyo)

Despite the incredible nature and pristine waters, the extraordinary Izu Islands are all technically part of Tokyo! Within this assortment of paradises, Kozushima Island and its beach of Maehama stand apart as one of the most exotic and easy to reach.

Continuing for roughly 800 meters south of the island’s port, this flawless stretch of white sand attracts a crowd of dedicated swimmers longing to spend their summers relaxing in its tranquil waters.

With water and sand this beautiful, it’s difficult to comprehend that you’re still technically in Tokyo! You’ll be able to freely snorkel, swim, relax, and enjoy a stellar range of unique watersports and activities!

Tokyo’s Izu Islands are made up of 9 individual landmasses. Of these, the central Kozushima Island is most renowned for its abundant nature and clear water.

The story behind the name of Kozushima comes from the legend of gods gathering to discuss creating the islands of Izu on Kozushima, leading to it becoming known as the “Island of Gathering Gods.” This is reflected in the original Japanese characters used to write Kozushima, which meant “god,” “gather,” and “island.”

Kozushima Island can be reached from Tokyo’s Takeshiba Pier via a 3 hour and 45-minute ride on a high-speed jet ferry or a 12-hour overnight ride on a large-sized passenger ferry.

For those who don’t have hours of time to spare in transit, there is also a propeller plane service from Chofu Airport in Chofu, Tokyo, that will get you to the island in a mere 45 minutes! Best of all, there are 2-3 flights a day! You can then reach Maehama Beach from Kozushima Airport via taxi in around 10 minutes.

Getting to and from the remote islands of Okinawa from Tokyo takes both time and money. Those who want a short, hassle-free vacation are best off staying in Tokyo and heading for Kozushima Island instead!

Maehama Beach 前浜海岸
Address: Maehama, Kozushima, Tokyo 100-0601
Nearest Station: From Shinjuku Station, take the Keio Line to Chofu Station (approx. 18 mins). From the north exit board the Odakyu Bus heading for “Chofu Hikojo Keito” and get off at “Chofu Hikojo” airport (approx. 15 mins). From the airport, take a propeller plane to Kozushima Airport (approx. 45 mins). Maehama Beach is a 10-minute drive from there.

Beautiful Beaches are Closer to Tokyo Than You Think!

While the impact of COVID-19 has forced many of these swimming beaches to close this summer, there’s far more to do here than simply swim!

From taking in ocean views, chilling out to the sounds of waves, and exploring the surrounding areas, escaping from city life for some time at the beach will wash away the stresses of the world while healing one’s soul.

If you’re longing for a beach getaway in Japan, you don’t have to spend all your time and money journeying to Okinawa - incredible natural beaches and landscapes are right on Tokyo’s doorstep!


Via Live Japan

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