This post was last updated on February 1st, 2020 at 06:27 pm
Shadowed by the unique culture, the ultramodern cities and the delicious food, the beaches of Japan are often forgotten. With 6,852 islands there are enough beaches to be discovered in Japan. With an abundance of beaches, you can have a great beach vacation. Most of the 6,852 islands are still unaffected by tourism. In addition to beautiful beaches, they also offer a unique culture.
The Most Beautiful Islands and Beaches in Japan
Japan offers an unprecedented number of beautiful, tropical beaches where you can scuba dive, kayak, surf, and lie down in peace. Or just drink sake in your hammock. You can find beaches in Japan in many places; it’s just a three-hour drive from Tokyo or in the most remote areas. Though it’s useful to keep in mind that you cannot go to every beach all year round.
Are you traveling to Japan? Then you will probably not expect to encounter tropical beaches. Once you have visited a beach you will feel like you are more in southern Thailand than in Japan, this is how beautiful the beaches are in Japan.
Islands and Beaches to Visit
Everyone knows the “other” highlights of Japan such as the temples in Kyoto or Nikko. And of course the beautiful nature around Kamikochi or Magome. But which beaches do you know? You’ve probably heard of some, but you usually have to travel quite a bit for it (read flying). Let me tell you about the 8 most beautiful islands and beaches in Japan.
1. Amami Oshima
Amami-Oshima has captured a special place in our hearts. In 2016 we spent a week here and we fell in love with the beaches, the super relaxed atmosphere, and the unprecedented friendly inhabitants. The biggest advantage of Amami is that it is still fairly quiet.
In addition, the island is not that large, making it easy to travel across. And you will come across everything here. The interior is beautiful with lush forests and on the coast, you will find deserted bays, pristine white sandy beaches, and beautiful hotels.
Most Beautiful Beaches on Amami Oshima
In our opinion Amami has the most beautiful beaches in Japan. The most beautiful beaches are Sakibaru-kaigan, 25 kilometers from Naze, the capital. If you are here, stay at Native Sea Amami Adan On The Beach. Another beautiful beach is Tebiro Beach, especially popular with surfers.
TIP – You can find more info about the islands on the Amami Oshima Islands page.
2. Kerama Islands
The Kerama Islands are a group of small islands in the East China Sea just about 40 kilometers west of Okinawa. These islands are a popular destination because of their unspoiled, white sandy beaches and clear blue water that are ideal for swimming and scuba diving. From January to March, the islands are a popular destination for whale watching.
Kerama consists of 36 islands of which only four are inhabited, including the two largest islands, Tokashiki and Zamami. First, we will discuss the most beautiful beaches on Tokashiki, followed by the most beautiful beaches on Zamami.
Tokashiku Beach is the smaller of the two most important beaches on the island of Tokashiki. Swimming and chilling are popular activities and there is a separate area for scuba diving. You can rent scuba gear and book other activities here. There is also plenty of accommodation on the beach.
Aharen Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Japan. It is the larger of the two most important beaches on the island. This beach is surrounded by green forests, a beautiful sandy beach and it is located in a particularly picturesque bay.
The white sandy beach attracts sun worshippers who want to dive into the crystal clear water. Next to the beach is the Kubandaki Observatory with a view of the surrounding coastline.
TIP – Ferries sail about 3 times a week from the Tomari port of Naha with Tokashiki Island. The one-way trip takes around 70 minutes and costs 1660 yen, while the High-Speed Ferry takes around 35 minutes and costs 2,490 yen.
3. Zamami Island
Zamami Island is the second largest island of the Kerama Islands. It is a popular beach destination, full of beautiful white sandy beaches that are known as the most beautiful beaches in Japan. The clear water is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Big advantage; the two most popular beaches are within walking distance of the town.
For those looking for more secluded beaches; off the Zamami coast, you will find two small uninhabited islands Gahi and Agenashiku. The two islands can only be reached by boat (5 minutes, 1500 yen for a return).
Most Beautiful Beaches on Zamami Island
Furuzamami Beach, the most famous beach, is a 20-minute walk east of Zamami Port. The clear water and many fish provide excellent snorkeling and swimming opportunities. Ama Beach is also a 20-minute walk.
This beach is on the southwestern side of the island and is a lot quieter. The water is shallow here, ideal for snorkeling.
4. Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki Island is the most important island of the Yaeyama Islands. Ishigaki City, the southernmost city of Japan, is the only major city around Yaeyama and houses the region’s most important airport and boat terminal, as well as most hotels, shops, restaurants, and bars.
This makes Ishigaki Island an important point of interest for those who want to go to the southernmost islands.
Ishigaki Island has both sandy beaches and rocky beaches that are covered with small pieces of coral. You can swim, snorkel and scuba dive here, or just relax in the sun. The best time to visit the beaches is from April to November.
Most Beautiful Beaches on Ishigaki Island
You do not have to look very far to find the most beautiful beaches because all the beaches here are beautiful (and deserted!). However, it is best to go to Yonehara Beach, Sukuji Beach and Sunset Beach.
5. Yaeyama Islands
Ishigaki Island, part of the Yaeyama Islands, is found to be near the coast of Taiwan. But there are many more islands here where you can find some of the most beautiful beaches in Japan. To name all the islands is a lot of work so we made a list of the most beautiful beaches on the most beautiful islands.
This islet is around the corner from Ishigaki Island and is an unspoiled paradise. You will even find a traditional Ryukyu village there. The most beautiful beaches on this island are Kondoi Beach and Kaiji Beach. Both beaches are among the most beautiful in Japan.
If you want to visit one of the most beautiful islands of Japan you have to come here. It is the second largest island of Okinawa and largely undeveloped. Almost 90 percent of the island is covered with dense jungle and mangrove forests, all located in the Iriomote National Park. The most beautiful beach is Hoshizuna no Hama.
TIP – More information about the islands can be found on the Yaeyama Islands page.
6. Ogasawara Islands
If you want to visit secluded beaches in Japan you should come here, because the only way to get here is with a weekly, 24-hour ferry from Tokyo. Only the two largest islands, Chichijima (Father Island) and Hahajima (Mother Island) are inhabited.
Chichijima Island is the largest island of the Ogasawara Islands. This island is covered with subtropical forests, white sandy beaches, and steep rock faces. It is the perfect place to escape the bustle of modern life in Japan.
This island is popular for spotting whales and dolphins. The most beautiful beaches are Miyanohama Beach, Sakaiura Beach, Hatsuneura Beach (one of Japan’s most beautiful beaches), Kominato Beach, Kopepe Beach and John and Jinny Beach.
Hahajima Island is, together with Chichijima, the only inhabited island of the Ogasawara Islands. It is smaller, less developed and even more remote than Chichijima. The southern half of the island has beaches where visitors can enjoy the sun or go snorkeling.
The best beach, Minamizaki Beach, offers clear blue water and excellent snorkeling opportunities.
TIP – You can find more info about the islands on the page Ogasawara Islands.
7. Miyako Island
Miyako Island is located 300 kilometers south of Okinawa Island and 100 kilometers north of the Yaeyama Islands. This mini island is known for its beautiful beaches. Moreover; here you will find some of the most beautiful beaches in Japan.
It is a great destination for snorkeling and scuba diving in the coral reefs and the subtropical climate offers great weather all year round.
The beaches are the best-known attraction of Miyako. There are picturesque sandy beaches for swimming and relaxing and with your snorkel set, you can explore the colorful coral reefs.
While the beaches are accessible all year round, it is best to come here from April to November, when the temperature is always above 25 degrees.
8. Minnajima Island
Minna Island is close to Okinawa (Motobu) and is also called “Croissant Island” due to its special shape. The seawater of Minna Island is known for its clarity, but it is mainly the beaches that attract visitors.
The white sandy beaches and the flat landscape are reminiscent of the Caribbean islands. Coral reefs are just off the coast, so you can swim and snorkel here.
Because it is so close to Okinawa it is, especially in the peak months, quite busy with tourists. The best-known beach is Minna Beach and you will not find any supermarkets or eateries here, although there are vending machines with drinks on the island.
Minna Island is only four kilometers in circumference, and you can easily walk around it.