Okinawa aside, Japan isn’t exactly known for its beaches. Look around, though, and you will find a few gems. Near Tokyo, Zushi is a good option. It’s a great location to feel the ocean breeze, take a walk along the glistening marina or indulge in as much fresh seafood as your stomach will allow.
How to get to Zushi from Tokyo?
From Tokyo Station, you can catch the JR Yokosuka Line bound for Zushi and be there within the hour. Alternatively, hop on the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line which passes through major stations such Ikebukuro, Shinjuku and Shibuya. This will also have you there in under 60 minutes. Driving will probably take around the same time (depending on traffic), but parking costs can be expensive. Driving is recommended, however, if you want to expand your trip and explore the entirety of the Miura Peninsula.
What to do?
For sweeping views of the coast, check out Hiroyama Park. Located on a low hill, the park itself houses gardens, an observatory deck, a playground and even a mini zoo. In the springtime, the park’s vista-framing kawazu cherry blossoms are a beautiful bonus.
Stepping into the Riviera will have you wondering if you’ve been whisked away to Miami or some other nautical destination overseas. This multi-functioning area boasts a famous harbor, hotel, restaurants, high-rise living spaces, a tennis court and a chapel. Even if you’re not staying at the luxurious Malibu Hotel or planning to dine at Ristorante Ao, the area is great for a wander beneath the swaying palm trees.
A trip to Zushi cannot be done without spending some time at its beach. The soft sand, calming waves and views of Mt. Fuji (on a clear day) make it an ideal destination for some time outdoors. It’s worth mentioning that amenities at the moment are highly restricted to prevent crowding. We’d, therefore, currently suggest going for a stroll on the beach rather than staying too long. Depending on the time of day, you will find people from all walks of life. From pop dance troupes rehearsing their routines to windsurfers keen to catch the next wave, you never know who you’ll stumble across when you’re there.
What to eat when in Zushi?
This over-the-counter yakitori shop exudes old-school vibes with its classic signage and no-fuss display of grilled chicken skewers. Tare-style yakitori seems to be the name of their game, with a window front showcasing skewers of liver, skin and thigh covered in a dark, rich umami sauce. For something heartier, a selection of katsu and croquettes with various fillings are available.
Lovers of baked goods will rejoice at Beach Muffin, a local bakery and cafe housed within an old, retro building. With a mostly vegan menu comprising of dishes like waffles, locomoco and apple cake, you can rest assured that these are healthy options that don’t compromise on taste. We enjoyed a moist vegan carrot cake and a gluten-free banana coconut cake, both of which were healthy yet still satisfied a sugar craving.
Do as the locals do and feast upon the abundance of seafood. For lunch, we ventured to Meshiyacchan, a local spot specializing in seafood donburi and teishoku sets. There are lots of options to suit a variety of fish preferences, but we particularly enjoyed the maguro yukke bowl, buri sashimi and kakiage set. Course menus start from as low as ¥880, making this a sumptuous lunch that isn’t too hard on the wallet.
Where to stay?
Zushi is definitely day-trip achievable but do consider an overnight stay to make the most of everything the area has to offer. There are several hotels in the area but keep an eye out for quirky hostels or Airbnbs that provide something a little more local and different. For our trip, we made a booking at Flags Zushi.
Conveniently located just minutes from Zushi Station and a 10-minute walk from the beach, Flags Zushi has just three units with varying sizes to accommodate couples and small groups traveling together. Aside from the free wi-fi and great location, all units had functioning kitchens while some even came with laundry machines, allowing guests to really feel at home.
Our chosen lodgings, C-Room, was the smallest of the three but a lack of space was not something we felt in the slightest. The bathroom, which is shower-only, is equipped with a high-powered hairdryer, thoughtful amenities and more fluffy towels than we needed in a one-night stay. The lounge space held a comfy couch, a small fridge and a minimal workstation. Hanging from the high ceiling was a projector, perfect for a movie night in. The bedroom is accessed via a ladder to a loft area. The space holds two comfortable futons and charging ports so your devices don’t have to be far away when you’re in bed. A word of caution, do mind your head when getting up. We learned this one from experience. Rates at Flags Zushi start at ¥8,000 per night.
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