Ishihama Beach, Hitachi (Ibaraki)

Voted as one of the Top 100 beaches in Japan for its white sand and shady pine trees, Ishihama in Ibaraki Prefecture is a grand day out for all the family. Its 100-meter-long white-sand beach is open to swimming, surfing and bodyboarding. Relax under a pine tree and watch the kids play all day.

There are lifeguards on duty from mid-July to the end of August each year. The beach has ample facilities to enable you to while away the day, including showers, food stalls during peak season and beach rentals such as loungers and lilos. Ishihama Beach is close to the popular Hitachi Seaside Park, so make a trip to it and visit the flowers and the sea.

Yuigahama, Kamakura (Kanagawa)

Yuigahama is a 20-minute walk from Kamakura Station or a five-minute stroll from Yuigahama Station. The swimming and shopping options by the beach make it very popular come summer when the stores open. It’s also wheelchair accessible. The beach pulls out all the stops to make visitors’ days as enjoyable and carefree as possible. As well as surfing lessons, there are also spaces to rent for barbecues and even a locally brewed craft beer made exclusively for Yuigahama. It’s perfect for sunny days with friends.

Imaihama Beach, Izu (Shizuoka)

At nearly 1km long, Imaihama Beach in Izu, Shizuoka, is one of the longest beaches on this list. It also opens the earliest, with lifeguards starting at 8:30am during peak season. With its clear, shallow waters, it’s fun for all the family. It’s easy to access too as it’s just a 10-15-minute walk away from Imaihama-Kaigan Station. Compared to the other beaches in the area, Imaihama is generally less crowded, so it is a good bet for beachgoers who want some time away from the crowds.

The waters at Imaihama are rated ‘AA’ according to official Japanese environment guidelinesthe highest rating available. This means that the waters are some of the clearest and cleanest in Japan. Nearby is a local hot spring, so have a shower to rinse off, then stay over in style.

Toji Beach, Shimoda (Shizuoka)

For adventurers, we recommend Toji Beach in Shizuoka. Visiting Toji is a great way to explore the area and get active on the land, as it offers a giant sand ski slope and even a secret cave. The sea is relatively deep, so it is better for adults and older children. Most of its land area is taken up by the sand ski hill, which anyone can sled on, although be warned that there are typically no lifeguards on this beach. Next to Toji Beach is Ryugu Sea Cave, a hidden alcove to scramble about in.

Probably the quietest beach on the list, Toji is a good bet for those who want to explore in peace. There are many walking trails leading to different, larger beaches, too. Those who like to take things even slower should head to Irita Beach, which is a secluded spot close by, with space for sunbathing.

Southern Beach, Chigasaki (Kanagawa)

Just one hour away from Tokyo by train lies in Chigasaki’s Southern Beach. It was renamed in 1999, in homage to the Japanese band Southern All Stars, who hail from nearby and used the beach as a setting for an album cover. The beach is a popular photo spot, including for weddings, thanks to the Southern C sculpture on the seafront. It has good offshore wind conditions, making it great for surfers, swimmers and bodyboarders too.

The beach has ample changing facilities, lockers and rental equipment, so it’s possible to make a last-minute trip, empty-handed. Fireworks are permitted until 10pm.

Katakai Beach, Kujukuri (Chiba)

Savor the local delicacy of grilled clams at this ocean paradise in Chiba. Located on the Boso Peninsula, Katakai is a beach that’s popular with locals and visitors alike. Of course, it truly comes alive in the hotter months.

Locals set up stalls, selling seafood and barbecued items. Alcohol comes with a warning to not overdo it in the sea. There are places selling suncream just in case. So be careful as you celebrate the hot weather by diving into the water.

There are plenty of opportunities to venture further down the coast once you’ve arrived. A 30-minute walk away is the Kujukuri Beach Tower, where youngsters enjoy climbing to the top and admiring the expansive view.