Top 5 Cool Summer Resorts in Japan (That’s Not Okinawa) | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Top 5 Cool Summer Resorts in Japan (That’s Not Okinawa)

By mofko Jul 5, 2017

Are you feeling sick of the heat in the city? Want to experience how Japanese people spend their summer? Why not go on a refreshing trip to a resort by the beach with your friends and family!


When you hear the word “beaches”, you may immediately think of other places in Asia, such as Guam, Philippines, or Thailand. However, Japan is made up of many tiny islands, so it actually has numerous beautiful beaches. One of the most obvious destinations is the Okinawa Islands, which has a reputation for being the Hawaii of Japan. But, did you know that Okinawa or Kyushu is not the only place to go in the summer? You don’t have to travel far for a fun day under the sun!


Let’s go through 5 of the best beach resorts that are accessible from the Kanto Area.


  1. The Izu Islands (Tokyo)

The Izu Islands is a group of volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean. It consists of over 100 separate islands; however, the most popular islands are Oshima, Toshima, Niijima, Kouzushima, Miyakejima, Mikurajima, and Hachijojima. They are famous for its clear blue oceans and marine life that you would not guess they are so close to the city!


Tourists can get there by speed boats, ferries, or planes. The island closest to Tokyo is Oshima, which is located 120km south of central Tokyo and only takes about 100 minutes by speed boat. By taking the plane, you can reduce your travel time to just half an hour! However, for islands that are further away such as Aogashima, there may not be direct flights / boats from the mainland.


Each island is famous for different activities; for example, Oshima is popular for fishing, while Niijima attracts surfers and campers. You can enjoy diving, trekking, and sightseeing on most islands, so there are bound to be things to do for everyone. Some even have natural hot springs! However, be careful as some islands are rocky and do not have beaches.


Some resorts in the Izu Islands




  1. Isshiki-kaigan and Zushi-kaigan (Kanagawa)

The 2 beaches in the popular Shonan bay region are famous for its clear waters, as well its accessibility. Isshiki-kaigan is located in Hayama Town of Kanagawa Prefecture. It is surrounded by mountains, and it is known for having a relaxed atmosphere. It even got featured as 65th place is CNN’s ranking of 100 best beaches in the world! Hayama is also famous for hosting the Imperial Villa. Therefore, Isshiki-kaigan has been visited by the imperial family since 1984. To get there, you need to transfer between trains and busses from central Tokyo for about 100 minutes.


Zushi-kaigan is more of a tourist spot than Isshiki beach, so it has a reputation for being busier beach than Isshiki-kaigan. However, the beach has strict rules for noise and drinking, so families with small children can also spend the day safely. Zushi area also features Zushi Marina which is a harbor with restaurants, hotels, swimming pools, and shopping malls. It takes about 90 minutes by train from central Tokyo so it is suitable for a day trip as well.

Some resorts near Isshiki-kaigan and Zushi-kaigan



  1. Onjuku-kaigan (Chiba)


Onjuku-kaigan is popular for its fine white sand that it is hard to believe it is in Kanto! It is known as the setting for the Japanese nursery song “A Desert Under the Moon”. Though the white beach is romantic, the sea itself has enough waves for surfers to enjoy. During the summer, many events such as fireworks shows take place as well. However, it is not very “touristy” and have a relaxed atmosphere. Onjuku-kaigan is fairly accessible from Tokyo, with about 2 hours’ train ride from central Tokyo. It may be better to take advantage of the resorts and hotels in the area for a luxurious trip.


Some resorts near Onjuku-kaigan

  1. Eno-shima (Kanagawa)


Eno-shima is an island off the Shonan coast, and is a popular tourist spot. Not only does it have beautiful beaches, but it has many tourist attractions that you can enjoy. Enoshima Aquarium, Enoshima shrine, Iwaya cave, and the Enoshima “Sea-candle” lighthouse are some of the most famous ones. It is also popular for couples, as there are a lot of ideal places for dates, such as the Ryuren Bell of Love. So, even if you are not the swimming type, there are lots of things to see and do. From central Tokyo, you can get to Eno-shima with an hour and a half’s train ride.


Some resorts in Eno-shima




  1. Shira-hama (Shizuoka)


Shira-hama is located in the Izu Peninsula of Shizuoka. Tourists from all over Japan flock to the area to enjoy the cool beach and clear waters comparable to those of Okinawa. The water quality is known to be rated highly by the Ministry of the Environment. One downside is that the beautiful sea attracts many people and the beaches tend to get crowded in the summer. However, this should not discourage you from visiting Shira-hama. The Izu Peninsula has lots of other activities to try, such as hotsprings, Mt. Omuro, retro-style museums, and amusement parks. It takes about 2 hours from central Tokyo, but that’s okay because you would not be satisfied by a day trip!


Some resorts near Shira-hama



Were you inspired by the cool resorts yet? Of course, there are many wonderful places which did not make the list. However, if you are in the Kanto area during summer, you should check out these popular destinations to escape from the city heat. It is bound to give you a refreshing and relaxing break. If you are planning to book hotels or resorts, remember to book as early as possible, as places sell out quickly especially during school holidays and the O-bon season (mid August). Have a fun trip!