The massive megalopolis of Tokyo is located on an expansive bay. Here you can find beaches as close to central Tokyo as Odaiba beach, where you can take a fantastic panoramic photo of the sea against the backdrop of Rainbow Bridge and the city’s glittering landmarks. However, the water quality immediately near downtown isn’t ideal for swimming.
Fortunately, Tokyo is actually surprisingly close to some very nice beaches! These are just around an hour to two hours travel away from the city’s center in Kanagawa, Chiba and Shizuoka prefectures, making for a lovely day trip.
Summer Fun at Beaches in Japan!
In Japan, people tend visit beaches for two main reasons: one is for swimming and water sports, which tends to happen only in permitted areas. The other is to enjoy the relaxing seaside scenery and picturesque vistas.
Part of the reason that you can only swim at permitted beaches is partially because of the education system in Japan which imprints upon everyone that you should only swim at a beach if there is a lifeguard, and there is only a lifeguard at certain beaches during the official swimming season in July and August, which coincides with the summer holidays and some of the hottest weather of the year.
Here we will introduce some of the best beaches in greater Tokyo for swimming and for enjoying some refreshing downtime.
Tokyo: Kasai Rinkai Park
Built on reclaimed land, Kasai Rinkai Park is the second largest park in Tokyo and features a sea bird sanctuary on marshland, as well as its own hotel, viewing tower, beach and barbecue spots. With its expansive grounds and waterfront, it is a destination of choice for families in Tokyo. The two artificial beaches have somewhat coarse sand, but water depth is ideal for waders and children. Swimming is possible in July and August, but this also depends on water quality, and is mostly limited to weekends and public holidays.
The nearest station to the park, is Kasairinkaikoen Station on the JR Keiyo Line. It is a mere 14 minute journey from Tokyo Station and costs just 220 yen.
While home to a relatively compact wading area that's popular with families, Kasai Rinkai Park has a variety of other attractions located on the grounds.
Tokyo Sea Life Park (Kasai Rinkai Suizokukan)
An expansive aquarium located within the park, it’s well known for its Aqua Theater, which hosts an exhibition of a school of tuna swimming around in a large tank, and for its penguin exhibition. Certain exhibits allow children to handle and pet various sea creatures. Basic English information is available as well for many of the exhibits.
Entrance fee, 700 yen for adults; junior high school students, 250 yen; free for elementary school students and under.
Choruien Bird Watching Center
In this area you can check out another kind of sunbather, the feathery kind! It is dominated by two ponds and is a marshy area perfect for wildlife like ducks. You can see them, from a distance, at the center and at two additional watch houses.
Crystal View Observatory
This impressive glass structure was completed in 1995. The long structure has two floors with both sides finished with glass, allowing visitors to view the surrounding park, and most importantly provides a viewing spot for watching Japan’s spectacular sunsets.
Diamond and Flower Ferris Wheel
For short periods of time, including as recently as 2016, this was Japan’s tallest Ferris wheel and although it has now been relegated to second place it still stands mighty tall at 117 meters. It is well known for its light show, hence the wheel’s name, of diamonds and lights which can be seen for miles around. It takes 17 minutes to ride it, and if it is a clear day you might even see Mt. Fuji!
It is possible to enjoy fireworks in the evening from the nearby Tokyo Disneyland; the fireworks are a bit far but nonetheless enjoyable. The park also has a barbecue area, however prior reservation is required. For groups of at least 4 people, the cheapest plan starts at 2,980 per person, which includes food, cookware and equipment.
You can find public toilets, changing rooms and showers.
Price: Free entry to the park
Tokyo: Odaiba Beach
The pretty area of Odaiba offers unparalleled views of the city from a beachside perspective. The islands of Odaiba were originally fortresses constructed in response to a threat the shogunate felt from the arrival of foreign ships in the 1860s, however this part of Tokyo is now more popularly known for its statue of Gundam, which itself is just a 10 minute walk from Odaiba beach, and its shopping and hotel facilities.
Since 2017 the local authorities have experimented with allowing swimming, but so far that has meant very few days out of the whole year saw the beach open for swimming. The rest of the year during warm days it is a good sunbathing location, and on cold days it is worth checking out for the views.
The closest station is Odaiba-Kaihinkoen on the Yurikamome Line, which is about 23 minutes from Tokyo Station and costs 460 yen.
There isn’t much in terms of facilities for the beach besides a beachside café and shop, but you can try out stand-up paddling (SUP) for two hours for 5,400 yen with Ek Kai Beach Odaiba or just enjoy some great food at the nearby dedicated picnic area.
This being Odaiba you are spoilt for choice with nearby shopping, restaurants, the Gundam statue, the Palette Town Ferris Wheel, a small Statue of Liberty, the Hachitama Spherical Observation Room and more. A spectacular fireworks display takes place against the backdrop of the Rainbow Bridge on the second Saturday of August each year.
Chiba: Onjuku Beach
A relaxing paradise about two hours from Tokyo, Onjuku is home to an expansive beach with soft sand. The town harbors some interesting local history: in 1609, the Spanish galleon San Francisco ran aground here, and the surviving crew and captain were taken care of by Onjuku locals before later being offered a ship to return on to Mexico.
Perhaps Onjuku is the only beach in Japan where you can spot a camel statue on the beach: depicting a prince and princess in Arabian garb riding camels, the statue was erected in memory of an old Japanese song, Tsuki no Sabaku (Desert of the Moon), which was inspired by the beach. Indeed, the soft sand looks like glittering diamonds in the moonlight! It is popular with surfers as well as the water quality is quite good and due to the beach’s shape and flatness small swells tend to break. It offers all the comforts of a normal beach with sunshine, swimming and a proper beachside holiday experience.
It is just over two hours from Tokyo Station to Onjuku Station by the Sotobo Line and costs 1,940 yen. It is a ten minute walk to the expansive beach.
There are toilets and outdoor showers, as well as rental shops for surfing, chairs, etc.
You can also find a children’s water park nearby, dining at nearby hotels and the town itself is interesting to explore. Seafood is quite famous in this area, as such you can find quite a few sushi restaurants and other seafood specialist restaurants nearby, as well as restaurants offering beachside BBQ. On the first Thursday of August every year you can experience a really beautiful fireworks display from the beach.
Onjukucho Central Beach御宿町 中央海水浴場
- Address Suka, Onjuku, Isumi District, Chiba Prefecture 299-5106
Chiba: Okitsu Beach
This beach is also located on the Boso Peninsula just down the coast from Onjuku. This pretty spot offers lovely views of green plant covered hills just by the sea against the backdrop of a small village. It is a family friendly location where swimming is allowed for about a month from the end of July to the end of August. There is a camping area for people who want to stay the night and it is popular for snorkeling and scuba diving as the water is really clear.
It is a two and half hour journey from Tokyo Station to Kazusa-Okitsu Station by the Wakashio Line for 3,800 yen, or by the Keiyo and Sotobo lines for 1,940 yen.
There is free parking, toilets and showers.
It is a cute area to explore, you can feel the more relaxed daily life out in the countryside.
- Address 〒299-5245 Chiba Prefecture, Katsuura
Kanagawa: Yuigahama Beach (Kamakura)
Yuigahama beach is a five minute walk from Yuigahama Station and is well prepared for beach-goers with beach huts and rental shops. It is just over an hour from Tokyo station and costs 920 yen if you take the Yokosuka Line to Kamakura Station and then walk for 15 minutes from there to Yuigahama Station (also accessible via the Enoden - Enoshima Electric Railway). The area is extremely popular with Tokyoites as it's a straight shot away from the city, making it perfect for a day trip. (Many people will opt to rent a bicycle at the rental shop near Kamakura station and then explore around the area before heading to the beach.)
In the beach huts you can find a variety of restaurants, shops and in the evening bars. These temporary huts which only pop up in the summer are really to be experienced!
This long beachfront offers beautiful views of the sea, and swimming is possible during the beach season (July to August). While it is possible to get to this beach directly by train, many people choose to forego the train from Kamakura Station to Yuigahama Station and walk instead so that they can see a little bit of the local town.
Besides toilets, showers and changing rooms, there are also rental shops for water sports (especially windsurfing) and loungers. You can also enjoy some very cute cafes. On the second to last Tuesday of July every year there is a massive firework display, with the best place to see it being Yuigahama Beach!
Kamakura itself is a famous sightseeing spot with a large number of historic landmarks.
Kanagawa: Zushi Beach
Zushi beach is especially lively with bars in the beach houses in the evening, which also double up as restaurants during the day. On really clear days it is possible to admire the view of Mt. Fuji while catching some rays.
It is a one hour journey from Tokyo Station to Zushi Station on the Yokosuka Line, and costs 920 yen. It is a short walk from here to Zushi beach through a cute little neighborhood.
You will find beach houses and cafes, as well as paid for showers and lockers which are also located by the beach houses. It is also possible to rent chairs.
Zushi benefits from some absolutely adorable cafes as well as Hiroyama Park which also provides a great view of Mt. Fuji.
Kanagawa: Hayama Beach
The Hayama area offers a more relaxed setting from some of the busier beaches in Kamakura, and as it faces west you can catch some amazing sunset photos. The local area is also fairly quiet, but the beach houses can get fairly lively in the evening during the swimming season.
It is a one hour journey from Tokyo Station to Zushi Station on the Yokosuka Line, and costs 920 yen. For Hayama beaches it is a 15 minute bus journey towards Hayama-Isshiki from Zushi Station and get off at the Sangaoka bus stop and then it is a three minute walk.
While this beach is a lot quieter than those around Kamakura, there are some beach houses with paid for showers and rental gear for water sports.
The areas around Hayama and Zushi beaches are really nice to explore as they are similar to the region of Kamakura with old temples, but benefit from being a bit quieter. However, you can also certainly include a trip to Kamakura in your itinerary. On the last Thursday of July you can enjoy a lovely fireworks display in the evening.
- Address Isshiki, Hayama, Miura District, Kanagawa Prefecture 240-0111
Kanagawa: Enoshima Area
Enoshima is a gorgeous island connected to the mainland by a bridge, and as a small island it packs in a lot besides the beautiful beach nearby! There is a forested area and even a yacht harbor. As is typical with other beaches it is only possible to swim during the beach season, however it is a lovely island to visit just by itself.
The beach itself stretches from the bridge to Enoshima Island towards the area of Kugenuma Kaigan Station. It is very popular in the summer with Japanese people and even comes with lovely views of Mt Fuji. There are quite a few Hawaiian themed restaurants near the beach too where you can soak in a bit of American beach culture, but there is nothing quite like the temporary beach houses which pop up along the length of the beach. These temporary structures become restaurants, bars and even nightclubs!
From Tokyo Station it is easier to go to either Enoshima Station, or Shonan-Enoshima Station. From Tokyo Station it takes just over an hour and costs from 1,110 yen if you take the Tokaido Line to Ofuna Station and then the Shonan-Monorail to Shonan-Enoshima Station. It takes 10 minutes longer to get to Enoshima Station and costs 1,190 yen, again you would need to take the Tokaido Line, but to Fujisawa Station and then change here for the Enoshima Dentetsu Line to Enoshima Station. From both stations it is about a 15 minute stroll to get onto Enoshima Island.
There are toilets, showers, and rental shops for chairs, etc. as well as beach houses and cafes.
It is recommended that you visit Enoshima Shrine, which has free entry, and really adds some culture to your day out to the beach. From Enoshima Sea Candle, otherwise known as the lighthouse observation tower, you can check out the beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding area. It is quite inexpensive and costs just 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children. If you get tired of the heat and want to check out some beautiful marine animals then head over to Enoshima Aquarium. General admission for an adult is 2,400 yen, high school students 1,500 yen, elementary school students 1,000 yen and 600 yen for small children.
Kanagawa: Kugenuma and Chigasaki Beaches
It is quite hard to see where the beach near Enoshima Island becomes Kugenuma beach, but just like the beach near Enoshima Island these are also famous for having a Hawaiian influence, especially when it comes to surfing. It is believed that the first ever surfing shop opened here, but besides surfing you can try out volleyball or tennis. The local beach huts offer a lot of opportunities in terms of eating and drinking, while the dark sand of the beach will invite you to lie down and soak up some sun.
It is a one hour journey from Tokyo Station to Kugenuma Kaigan Station by taking the Tokaido Line to Fujisawa Station and then the Odakyu-Enoshima Line. It is then a 10 minute walk to Kugenuma beach, or for Chigasaki beach it is a 20 minute walk from Kugenuma Kaigan Station.
There are toilets, showers, beach houses and rental shops.
These beaches are located in Fujisawa where you can also find Enoshima Island, and although normally fireworks displays take place in the summer in Japan the Fujisawa Enoshima Fireworks Festival occurs on the third Saturday of October. There are events going on all year round in this beautiful area. If you visit during the beach season then be sure to check out the Tenno-sai Festival on the second Sunday of July.
- Address 4 Chome-5 Kugenumakaigan, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa-ken 251-0037
Southern Beach Chigasakiサザンビーチちがさき海水浴場
- Address 4 Chome-4-12986 Nakakaigan, Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa-ken 253-0055
Shizuoka: Atami Sun Beach
Atami is a bit of a more old-fashioned spa town which gives off a beach resort atmosphere, from the station it is a downhill walk to the beach, but along the way you can enjoy the sights of cafes and restaurants. The beach itself can get very busy in the summer and is popular with families. It is a beautiful spot with Hatsushima Island located just off the coast, and many onsen hot springs nearby.
From Tokyo Station you can get to Atami Station in about 45 minutes by the Shinkansen for 4,190 yen or 95 minutes using the Tokaido Line for 1,940 yen.
Unfortunately it is a bit lacking in facilities besides showers, so visitors have to make use of local restaurants and cafés.
It is a very popular town for dressing in a yukata and going for a stroll in the evening. Hatsushima Island makes for a lovely little day visit via the nearby ferry. From the last Friday of July fireworks displays take place near Atami Bay around 6-7 times over the course of August from 8:20pm.
General tips for enjoying the beach and for your own safety
・Lifeguards are only present during the official beach season, and may not be immediately present in all areas, so take appropriate caution. You should only go swimming during the swimming season and when a lifeguard is present.
・There is a bit of a taboo associated with tattoos in Japan, so where possible try to cover up any tattoos but don’t be overly worried about ones that are impossible to hide.
・It isn’t necessarily a given that you can take your own alcohol onto a beach as such try to check beforehand if you can. In addition, bear in mind that many beaches will forbid glass bottles, so be mindful of what you pack.
・At popular beaches you will find beach houses which open up for the beach season. These offer food and drink, but as they are very much seasonal in nature don’t expect that you can just find one on any warm day of the year.
・In the summer temperatures can reach up to 40 degrees and more, and can be over 35 degrees on a daily basis. As such make sure you bring food and plenty of drinks, as well as sunscreen, hats, light clothing to cover up when you have had enough sun and try to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.
・Popular beaches will be crowded during the beach season, so keep that in mind when travelling to a particular beach. At very crowded beaches there can be queues for the toilets so it is also important to keep this in mind.
・You can check train times online so you can plan your journey in advance and make sure that you set your alarm for the right time!
・Sunscreen - Can be bought at nearby shops, but for smaller destinations it is best to bring yourself.
・Sandals – But keep in mind not all beaches have showers for washing off sand.
・Hydration - Water or sports drink
・Fun - Alcohol (if allowed) or have a drink from a beach house or café.
・Waterproof pouch is useful if you are going swimming.
・Food – For long journeys or quieter beaches it is better to bring a bento. At popular beaches you will be spoilt for choice with local cuisine.
・Trash bags – Bring a bag to collect your rubbish, as bins are not necessarily available at every beach.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.
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