Once upon a time, Miyazaki Prefecture was the place for Japan’s honeymooners. During the Showa period (1926–1989), when Hawaii felt too far and too expensive for young couples, they headed down to sunny Miyazaki with its pristine shoreline, warm climate, and rich food and nature. Though some of the demographics have changed since then, Miyazaki still boasts a thriving beach culture — with a hint of nostalgia. Here are three destinations to suit (almost) any profile heading south.

The Seeker: Aoshima Island

This small island vibrates with spiritual and natural energy. Accessible via a mostly pedestrian-only footbridge — you can hail a ride on a tuk-tuk if you’re not keen on the walk across — it’s an ideal spot to visit after a nap inside one of the Aoshima Beach cabanas. The island is only 1.5 kilometers in circumference, but it hosts more than 200 types of subtropical plants, as well as Aoshima Shrine in its center. Make your way through a tunnel of ema votive plaques into the forest to discover the island’s original shrine, the moto-miya. To secure your future fortune, buy a set of ameno-hiraka clay plates or shells and toss them into the sacred space — if the clay plate shatters, you’ll be protected from bad luck. 

The Adventurer: Surfing Beaches

Together with Chiba, Miyazaki is a mecca for surfers in Japan. While both prefectures boast excellent swells, this southern jewel has several advantages: The waters are uncrowded and Miyazaki has over 300 kilometers of coastline with waves coming in from three of four cardinal points. The southern region also stays warmer for longer, making it comfortable for ocean exploits year-round. 

In Miyazaki city, Kisakihama Surfing Point is the most renowned spot, having hosted several domestic and international surfing competitions. Other prime surfing real estate includes Okuragahama Beach in Hyuga, as well as Akae Beach Surfing Point, which you’ll find right next to Miyazaki Airport. 


The Indulger: Calm Lanai Harbor

Dozing off to the sound of waves lapping against the shore is no far-off fantasy when you stay at Calm Lanai Harbor, one of Miyazaki Prefecture’s most luxurious glamping sites. Found inside Nichinan Kaigan Quasi-National Park, this cozy resort is a sumptuous getaway shoreline destination that has it all. Most of its tent-style accommodations face the facility’s private waterfront, while the cottages, found further inland, offer secluded spaces close to the shore. Take a Calm Lanai Harbor-provided cruise over to some nearby islands, or make your own way around the waters on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) or in a sea kayak — the latter two are available to borrow free of charge for overnight guests. 

Bonus: For the Beach Bums

If lying on the sand and soaking up the rays are more your thing, check out these sandtastic destinations.

Aoshima Beach Park, Miyazaki City

Located on the land side of the bridge to Aoshima Island, Aoshima Beach Park is fully equipped with beachside restaurants, swanky cabanas and hammocks. There is also decent surfing in the swells here.

Shimo Aso Beach, Nobeoka City

Considered locally to rival Miyagi Prefecture’s pine-crested coast of Matsushima in beauty, Shimo Aso Beach is sometimes nicknamed “Hyuga Matsushima.” Found inside Nippo Coast Quasi-National Park, this stretch of sand is Miyazaki Prefecture’s northernmost swimming beach and draws reasonable crowds due to its white sands and clear waters.

Sumie Beach, Nobeoka City

Found in a corner of the Eboshi Gulf, this protected bay with its minute swells is ideal for families with young children. Not only are the waters calm, there are several kid-friendly facilities nearby such as an aquarium, a mini golf course, a large playground and more.

Isegahama Beach, Hyuga City

This top-class beach has soft white sand and is encapsulated by two capes. Since the waters are quite shallow, the waves here hit high — but not too hard — making it ideal for jumping into swells, or even bodyboarding. Surfers can also find a home here, with several nearby spots catering to them.