Endless blue sea and white sand beaches glitter in the sunlight. You may be surprised to learn that Japan has its own photogenic beaches where you can enjoy an exotic, tropical atmosphere. In these untouched natural surroundings, you can refresh your mind and body. If you fancy a dip in the sea, July to September is the ideal season. In places where you can dive and snorkel, you'll encounter a wealth of coral reefs and colourful fish. Japan's beach resorts are simply unmissable.

    1

    Nishihama, Okinawa

    Lose yourself in "Hateruma Blue" in the southernmost town of Japan

    It takes about an hour and a half by boat from Ishigaki Island to Hateruma Island, Okinawa, which is the southernmost inhabited island in Japan. In the northern part of the island, near Hateruma Port, Nishihama is a beautiful beach. Unlike standard Japanese, "Nishi" means north in the local dialect. The sea that you can view glittering in the distinctive "Hateruma Blue" colour is simply unforgettable. In addition to public facilities such as showers and toilets, there's also an observation deck.

    Location: Hateruma, Taketomi-cho, Yaeyama-gun, Okinawa 907-1751, Japan

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    2

    Yonaha Beach, Okinawa

    Miyakojima's endless white sandy beaches are among the finest in the Orient

    Miyakojima's Yonaha Maehama, commonly known as "Maipama Beach", is very popular not only with locals but also with tourists from Japan and abroad. The fine white sands of the 7-kilometre-long sandy beach create an outstanding contrast with the sparkling sea of cobalt blue. This is also a great place to visit if you're into marine sports.

    Location: 1199 Yonaha, Shimoji, Miyakojima City, Okinawa 906-0000, Japan

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    photo by 663highland (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    3

    Sunayama Beach, Okinawa

    Amazing views and natural rock arches at one of Miyakojima's best beaches

    If you want to enjoy the beautiful evening scenery on Miyakojima, head to Sunayama Beach. The views of the sky, the sea, and the light of the setting sun from the famous arched rock is breathtaking. Nature doesn't get much better than this. There are also shops renting gear and selling light meals and drinks. Located close to the city centre of Miyakojima, this site is also easily accessible. There are even showers and a car park.

    Location: Miyakojima City, Okinawa 906-0000, Japan

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    4

    Furuzamami Beach, Okinawa

    Snorkelling in the crystal-clear sea of Michelin-starred Zamami

    Furuzamami Beach is located in the southern part of Zamami Island, a remote island that you can easily visit on a day trip from the main island of Okinawa. Coral reefs inhabited with colourful tropical fish extend through the beautiful clear blue waters as far as the eye can see. This is heaven on earth for divers and snorkellers. This is the main beach on Zamami Island and has been awarded 2 stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan.

    Location: 1743 Zamami Village, Shimajiri District, Okinawa 901-3402, Japan

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    5

    Hate-no-hama, Okinawa

    The Okinawan dream: sail to an uninhabited island of sandy beaches

    This uninhabited island consists of three sandy beaches - Maine Beach, Nakano Beach and Hate Beach - and is accessible from Okinawa and Kumejima. The white sandy beaches are long and narrow, and the surrounding sea is blue and transparent. It's as if you were stepping into another world. Oh, and don't miss the sunsets here. The island is typically accessed by tour boat, and you can enjoy snorkeling, diving, marine sports, and other activities once you arrive. But the best thing is to enjoy the extraordinary space itself - a silent place with nothing but sea and sand.

    Location: Kumejima-cho, Shimajiri-gun, Okinawa 901-3100, Japan

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    6

    Okinawa Kondoi Beach

    A famous sunset spot on Taketomi Island with a "phantom beach"

    Okinawa's Taketomi Island is about 10 minutes by boat from Ishigaki Island. People of all ages love the shallow and calm waters of Kondoi Beach, which is the only beach on the island. From this beach, you can see Iriomote Island, Kohama Island and Kuro Island. Feel like a true castaway as you walk across the sandbar to the "phantom beach" that appears when the tide is low. This is an ideal spot to enjoy good times with your family.

    Location: Taketomi-cho, Yaeyama-gun, Okinawa 907-1101, Japan

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    photo by 松岡明芳 (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    7

    Hirizo Beach, Shizuoka

    The southernmost part of Izu is a certified Geopark with untouched beauty

    There is a beach at the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula that cannot be accessed by land. Ferry travel to the tents set up in Nakagi is available only during the summertime. With coral clusters in crystal-clear water and huge numbers of colourful fish, this is becoming an increasingly popular snorkelling spot. For a seaside adventure surrounded by a stunning natural environment, Nakagi is second to none.

    Location: Nakagi, Minamiizu Town, Kamo District, Shizuoka Prefecture 415-0311, Japan

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    8

    Wakayama Shirarahama

    Parasols sway in the sea breeze at this tropical Wakayama resort

    Shirarahama, located in Nanki Shirahama, Wakayama, is a sister beach to Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii. This shallow beach stretches on for about 620 metres. It's hugely popular with swimmers in summertime, when the colourful parasols that decorate the beach are a sight to behold. The incredibly smooth sand here is actually quartz sand containing 90% silicic acid. As well as lovely smooth sand underfoot, there's highly transparent sea water in which to play, making for a truly idyllic location. Oh, and don't forget to check out the local gourmet food.

    Location: 864 Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama 649-2211, Japan

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    9

    Kagoshima Tomori Beach

    A beach with blue sea locally acclaimed as the "Blue Angel"

    On the Tomori coast you'll find the "Galapagos of the Orient", a curved beach that's highly regarded as the finest in Kagoshima and Amami Oshima. It's often called the "Blue Angel" because the colour of the sea almost supernaturally changes to various tones of blue depending on the time of day. The surface of the sea here is calm and soothing to look at. The beach is easily accessible from Amami Airport and is ideal for sightseeing.

    Location: Oaza Ujuku, Kasari-cho, Amami City, Kagoshima Prefecture 894-0501, Japan

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    10

    Yurigahama, Kagoshima

    Take a trip to this white beach off the coast of Yoron Island to collect lucky star-shaped sand

    The largest beach on Yoron Island, Yurigahama is a white sandy beach that appears only during the low tide (from the half tide to the spring tide) off the coast of Oganeku. The charm of the place reaches its peak when the stunning clear water glitters in the sunshine. You can get here by boat or personal watercraft. Legend has it that happiness awaits those who collect as many grains of star sand as their years of age. Why not give it a try? The mysteries of nature abound in this magical setting.

    Location: Furusato Oaza, Yoron-cho, Oshima-gun, Kagoshima Prefecture 891-9307, Japan

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