Soak in the last of summer at two laid-back Japanese beaches

Photo courtesy of Hakui City
Photo courtesy of Hakui City

Soak in the last of summer at two laid-back Japanese beaches

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

In the midst of hot summer, nothing but gets us quite as relaxed and cooled down like the beach does.

You might have already enjoyed several beaches this summer near your home or during a daytrip to seaside attractions. Many beaches in the Kanto Plain and other regions in Japan have unfortunately been closed due to COVID-19 prevention.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t social distance and enjoy a cool down nearby. Check these spots below and get in the last drops of summer sun and fun this season!

Love to drive – and the beach? – Chirihama Nagisa Driveway

Chirihama Nagisa Driveway is a unique beach in Ishikawa Prefecture offering the rare opportunity to drive its 5-mile shoreline. Cruising this beautiful Noto Peninsula beach in a quasi-national park amid the cool sea breeze is an unforgettable experience.

It’s not only four-wheel-drive and SUV vehicles that frequent this beach. Virtually anything on wheels, from bicycles, motorcycles and mini-cars to large sightseeing buses, can drive on this smooth sandy motorway 24 hours a day. The natural roadway is the result of hard-packed fine beach sand and seawater.

Stretching along the west coast of the peninsula, this beach has stunning sunsets that make four ideal romantic strolls and drives alike. On summer nights, the mysterious glow from squid-fishing boat lamps makes for an interesting view.

This beach road is toll-free and has no traffic regulations. So, you can drive anywhere on the beach, even along the shoreline. Since the tidal range is very low, you can even park near the shoreline, take a swim and have a barbeque.

Chirihama Nagisa is great daytrip from Tokyo. About a 30- to 40-minute drive from the famous castle town of Kanazawa, there are nearby camps and hotel facilities as well. So, you can plan an overnight campout or stay in town and take some of the local cultural attractions on your way back home.

Chirihama Nagisa Driveway

Location: Hakui City, Ishikawa Prefecture (about a 6-hour drive from Tokyo)

Website (Japanese)

Tel: 0767-22-1118 (Hakui City Hall)


A freshwater beach on the Japan’s biggest lake - Omi Maiko Beach

Omi Maiko Beach is a three-mile-long crescent-shaped sandbank ideal for an overnight trip. The crystal-clear waters and breathtaking natural beauty make it a must for the summer. This beach has been known since ancient ties as one of the scenic “Eight Views of Lake Biwa” due to its white sands and blue pine trees against the backdrop of the Hira Mountains.

Omi Maiko is the most popular of the lake’s 22 beaches, drawing about 64,000 people every summer. The merits of freshwater swimming include not needing to immediately shower off saltwater afterward, and increased safety for small children because there are no high ocean waves. However, as freshwater is less buoyant than seawater, young swimmers may want to bring floats and goggles.

The beach has lifeguards on duty during the summer season, as well as buoys delineating the swimming area. If you are planning a barbecue on this beach, be mindful of fire safety.

This beach is open for swimmers between July 1 and August 31 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Besides swimming, windsurfing and barbecuing, you can also enjoy tennis, fishing and hiking here.

Note that the parking lots near beach are currently restricted and camping is not permitted. The beach closes at 8 p.m.

Omi Maiko Beach

Location: Minami Komatsu, Otsu City, Shiga Prefecture (about a 5-hour drive from Tokyo)


Tel:077-592-0378 (Shiga Travelers Association)

Photo coutesy of Pixabay

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