©Photo by James Justin

5 Non-Busy Beaches Near Tokyo

Beat the Crowds at These Secret Spots

By The Savvy Team
August 12, 2016
Lifestyle

Schools are out and Tokyo temperatures are so hot you could literally fry an egg on your own forehead, meaning everybody’s only got one destination in mind: the beach.

While there’s no shortage of sand to sink your toes in within easy reach of the city, the most popular places can often get very crowded.

These family-friendly, clean and non-busy beaches are locally known but less advertised — you’ll be sunbathing with neighborhood families instead of herds of pale, fun-starved office workers (ahem, not us at all… ).

Onjuku (Chiba)

A wide-shot photo of Onjuku beach, Chiba.© Photo by Izu Navi

Acapulco’s sister city, Onjuku’s long and wide stretch of white sand has enough room for all of the long-haired surfers that come for the waves and stay for the evening barbecues on the beach. There aren’t so many facilities, just a short row of food and drink stands set up during the summer. Pick up supplies in the main town — which has a relaxed, surfer-chic vibe — and watch the pros catching the waves. You can even have a go yourself, several shops and guesthouses offer board rental and lessons.

Savvy tip: It’s better to shop when you arrive before heading to the coast as the closest supermarket (スーパーおおた) is about a 20 – 25 minute walk from the beaches’ main entrance.

Access: The closest station is Onjuku station on the JR Sotobo line from where the beach is about a 15-minute walk. Fast Wakashio limited express trains run from Tokyo station and take 80 minutes for ¥4,000. Local trains are half the price (¥1,940) but can take more than two hours with transfers. Buses also depart from Tokyo station, reaching Onjuku in about two hours.

Moriya (Chiba)

Moriya beach, Chiba© Photo by Fabian Reus

Just down the coast from Onjuku, this gem tucked away in a horseshoe-shaped bay of a sleepy coastal town ranks in the top 100 best beaches of Japan. The calm waters are some of the most transparent in the area — great for swimming and snorkeling. During high season, the beach can get busy with families but the atmosphere is very kid-friendly and it’s easy enough to find a spot to lay your tarp.

Savvy tip: Moriya is primarily reserved for swimmers so stand up paddle boarding and surfing are only allowed in the early morning (before 8 a.m.) and evening (after 5 p.m.).

Access: About 10 minutes on foot from Kazusa Okitsu station on the JR Sotobo line. From Tokyo station, you can use a Wakashio train (¥3,590), changing at Mobara, or you can take the JR Keiyo Rapid for Soga and transfer to the JR Sotobo line. The journey takes just over two hours and costs ¥1,940.

Inamuragasaki (Kanagawa)

Inamuragasaki beach© Photo by Clement Chan

Sandwiched between the more famous beaches of Kamakura and Enoshima, this small and secluded spot is a lovely place to watch the sunset — especially when Mount Fuji reveals itself between Enoshima and the mainland in the distance. Previously, there wasn’t anything but sand (albeit volcanic) and sea to enjoy, but the newly opened Inamura Blue looks to change that. A stylish pop-up beach terrace with live music, bars and restaurants, it’s open for the season until the end of October.

Savvy tip: Head to Inamuragasaki Park right next to the beach if you need a shaded break from the heat.

Access: From Tokyo station, take the JR Yokosuka line to Kamakura station and switch to the charmingly old-fashioned Enoden monorail to Inamuragasaki station (approx. 80 minutes for ¥1,140).

Hayama Isshiki (Kanagawa)

The Blue Moon bar at Isshiki Beach© Photo by Caleb Prichard

Instead of heading to Zushi, take a short bus ride from the station to reach this scenic beach, which even has the Emperor’s stamp of approval (his Imperial Villa sits just behind Hayama Isshiki facing out to sea). Apparently, Isshiki is so picturesque it’s often used as a setting for amateur film, and in the evenings the temporary beach shacks are filled with artsy types chatting late into the night.

Savvy tip: Grab a drink at Blue Moon (pictured), Isshiki’s beach bar hotspot offering everything from cocktails with tiny umbrellas to spa treatments.

Access: From Shinjuku station, take the JR Shonan-Shinjuku line to Zushi station and get on a Keikyu bus bound for Hayama. The stop is Isiki Kaigan. The trip takes around 90 minutes and costs about ¥1,500.

Ishihama (Ibaraki)

A group playing volleyball at Ishihama Beach in Ibaraki© Photo by Patrick Dep

Another of the 100 best beaches in Japan, this beautiful strip of white sand is edged with emerald pine trees and clear blue water like something out of a travel brochure. Because of this, it can get busier than the other beaches on this list but there are plenty of other things to do in the surrounding Isihama Vacation Area, like hiking and hot springs. Lifeguards and seasonal facilities only operate until mid-August but you can access the beach year round.

Savvy tip: The Isihama coastline is famous for cormorant birds that are used in traditional Japanese fishing. Spot them scoping out unsuspecting beachgoers’ food at the southern end of the beach.

Access: From Tokyo station, you can take the two-hour JR Hitachi limited express train to Hitachi station, then switch at Mito to the JR Joban line to Juo station (¥4,570). From Juo, it’s about a 20-minute walk.

If you really want to avoid the crowds, just head to the beach outside of the “official” season which typically ends around the last weekend of August. The beach shacks will be closed and the lifeguards back to university, but the weather is still good until the end of September.