Beaches in Japan
The forgotten tourist attraction
Japan is an archipelago made up of thousands of islands and more than 33,000 km of coastline. Yet the sea is far from being the first tourist attraction of the country. With a very varied climate from North to South, you can find a beach to swim in the sea at any time of the year.
In Japanese culture, the sea is reserved for sea creatures and those who fish them. The phenomenon of going to the beach with friends, lying all day on a deckchair, playing volleyball or making sand castles remains fairly recent and is practiced only by a small part of the population, mostly students.
In the land of onsens, it is natural to walk naked in front of strangers to enjoy the hot springs; yet the Japanese remain modest on the beach and avoid the sun's rays. Usually quite pale, they tend to literally burn and will often keep their t-shirts on at the beach. White skin remains a symbol of beauty and purity well integrated in the Japanese spirit; tanning is not widespread.
Synonym of danger
With its exceptional seismic activity, Japan has been able to protect itself over the years by investing billions of euros in renovating infrastructure and improving security systems. However, following the 2011 tsunami that killed nearly 20,000 people on Japan's Northern coast, impotent authorities chose concrete to separate the deadly Pacific Ocean from the population. The construction of a 400 km dike on the coast of Fukushima prefecture separates the Japanese from the sea they love so much.
The inhabitants do not look favourably upon this concrete obstacle but can do nothing against it. Given the discretion of the government about this immense building site, it was during the 2018 Kyotographie exhibition that an artist revealed the extent of the works through poignant shots.
- Be prepared: What to do in case of earthquake
Have some rest
In Japan, you will never be more than 200 km from the sea. Although many coasts are rocky or have been overexploited for lack of space on Japanese land, you will find beautiful beaches scattered on the archipelago.
The seashore in Tokyo Bay is also full of holidaymakers or Japanese on weekends during the summer. You will be able to experience many forms of leisure at the most frequented beaches: kayak, towed buoy, surf and other nautical crafts! But in general, apart from the fishing boats, you will rarely be bothered by yachts and other jet-skis.
Travelling south, it is the underwater world that welcomes you with open arms. While in Okinawa, diving is a must! Being the Japanese Hawaii, it is better to avoid the Ryukyu archipelago during the summer holidays (in August) because the influx of tourists could spoil your stay.
The sea that borders Okinawa is always above 20 °C; you should thus go towards the end of spring or the beginning of autumn to enjoy the tranquillity of the tropical islands of Japan.
Beachfront hotels also offer seaside stays perfect for recharging your batteries in an ideal environment. Comfort and Japanese-style services are to be tried at least once to experience true luxury.
Central to both the opening of the country to the world and its isolation, it is thanks to the resources offered by the sea that Japan has been able to develop its economy. A holiday to celebrate the sea has even been established, it is named Umi no Hi.
Between the Tokyo megalopolis, the impressive mountains, the relaxing countryside, the onsens full of virtues, the historic temples and shrines, and all the other riches that Japan has to offer, the beaches do not appear as obvious during the preparation of one’s journey.
But to discover breath-taking landscapes, a unique flora and fauna and stretches of white sand that get lost in turquoise water, do not miss the beaches of Japan.
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