Top 10 beaches in Japan

Many people would not immediately think of Japan as a nation of great beaches. However, comprising a chain of nearly 7,000 islands stretching down to the tropics Japan has more than a few world class beaches. If fine white sand beaches with clear blue water are what you are looking for then Japan may be just your cup of tea.

There is a great variety from the northern to the southern tip of this Pacific island chain. In the south there are coral reefs and warm turquoise seas year round; in the remote north the sea borders Russia and can freeze over in the winter. Whilst it seems obvious that the tropical beaches of Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands are going to have the widest appeal, there are fantastic beaches throughout this island nation.

  • Yonaha Maehama beach, Okinawa eyeblink / 123RF

    Maehama Beach // Okinawa

    Maehama is often cited as Japan's best beach and it is easy to see why. The fine white sand of this beach stretches seven kilometres around the south west coast of Miyakojima island. Here the water is warm, calm and crystal clear with a hint of brilliant green / blue. Despite its tropical appearance this is not a desert island beach and there are... read more »

  • Akajima beach - Okinawa JordyMeow / <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0">CC BY</a>

    Akajima Beach // Okinawa

    Akajima, pronounced Akashima, is an island forming part of the Kerama Islands group in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture. Nicknamed "Aka", this is a popular holiday destination from both Okinawa and the mainland. Situated roughly midway between the northern tip of Taiwan and mainland Japan's southern-most point, Aka enjoys a near tropical climate. It has... read more »

  • Emerald beach, Okinawa shihina / 123RF

    Emerald Beach // Okinawa

    Emerald beach is located on the tip of the Motobu Peninsula in the north of Okinawa's main island, Honto. The name comes from the beautiful greeny-turquoise colour of the clear waters here which are every bit as clean as they look. Emerald beach is actually part of the Ocean Expo Park which extends for 3km along the coast containing such things as... read more »

  • Aharen beach, Okinawa, Japan Sean Pavone / 123RF

    Aharen Beach // Okinawa

    Aharen Beach is situated on the west coast of Tokashiki Island, part of the Kerama group an hour's boat trip from Okinawa's main city, Naha. The curving white sand bay here is backed by high hills covered in lush vegetation leaving little doubt that you are in the tropics. Just off the shore, under the clear, aquamarine water is coral reef making... read more »

  • Sunayama Beach rock arch, Miyako, Japan Tagstock Japan

    Sunayama Beach // Okinawa

    Sunayama is situated in the north of Miyako-jima Island which is part of Japan's tropical Okinawa Prefecture. This pleasant little white sand beach is immediately identifiable by the rock arch at the southern end of the beach. The arch was formed by the exposed coral reef being eroded by the sea over the centuries.
    Besides the arch, Sunayama... read more »

  • Aragasuku beach, Miyako, Okinawa eyeblink

    Aragusuku Beach // Okinawa

    Located just around the corner from Yoshino Beach is the lesser, but equally lovely, Aragusuku Beach. This beach is yet another Okinawan gem with white sands gently sloping into the shallow tropical sea before yielding to colorful coral reefs. This makes it a popular spot with tourists and locals alike who come here to take advantage of the... read more »