Whether you’re looking to surf, scuba dive, camp shoreside, or simply lounge by the water with a good book, Kansai has some fabulous beaches to escape to this summer
Wakayama’s best beach option, Shirahama offers various hotels and beachside hot springs as well as popular cafes, restaurants and bars. This broad, white sandy beach (with sand shipped in from Australia!) claims to be the “sister beach” of Waikiki in Hawaii. The resort-style town provides for a wonderful summer getaway. Adventure World, which is a large zoo and adventure park, is close by and popular with children. Wakayama’s second worthwhile beach option is Kushimoto, a well-known as a hotspot for scuba diving. The unique Hashiguiwa rock formations make for stunning coastal views.
Access from Osaka: From Tennoji Station, take the LTD. EXP KUROSHIO 1 to Shirahama Station
Accessible via the long, picturesque Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, Awajishima offers an array of off-the-beaten-track island beaches. The most popular of which is the Ohama beach on the eastern coast. The relaxed atmosphere and slow life of the island makes these beaches ideal for camping. Awaji Island is well known for offering various outdoor activities like fishing, surfing, kayaking, and boating. There is no train service on the island so bus, ferry, and private car are the recommended travel options.
Access from Osaka: Take a highway bus service to Awajishima from OCAT terminal in Namba or Osaka Hankyu Sanbangai in Umeda
Suma Beach, Hyogo
A short train ride from downtown Kobe, Suma beach is one of the summertime staples of the Kansai region. The boardwalk along Suma beach has some great places for snacks, lunch and drinks. The beach is popular with younger people and has a definite party vibe. Music, alcohol, ball games and Frisbees dominate the landscape but families with children can also find solace along the beach front. At JR Suma Station, you can literally walk out of the train station and onto the beach, so public access here is the most convenient.
Access from Osaka: From JR Osaka Station, take a JR Special Rapid Service to Sannomiya then change to the JR Gakkentoshi Local Line to Suma Station
The beaches of Kyo-Tango are less crowded than others but are equal in beauty. The public beach is well known to surfers and daytrippers. The region also features Amanohashidate—one of the three views of Japan—a picturesque 3km long sandbar with 7,000 pine trees. The stretch can be traversed on foot and is rumored to look like a dragon when viewed from the surrounding cliffs. The region is best explored via private car but there is train access to Amanohashidate which takes two hours from Kyoto.
Access from Osaka: From JR Osaka Station, Take the Fukuchiyama Line to Fukuchiyama Station, then change to the LTD. EXP TANGO RELAY 1 for Amanohashidate
Lake Biwa, Shiga
Omi-Shirahama on Lake Biwa is a freshwater beach found in Takashima, Shiga Prefecture. This lakeside beach provides ample opportunities to try paddle boarding, kayaking, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Camping and barbecuing at various points surrounding the lake is a well-ingrained tradition. The lake can be reached by using the JR train from Kyoto Station.
Access from Osaka: From JR Osaka Station, take a JR Special Rapid Service to Yamashina Station, then change to the JR Kosei Line and go to Adogawa Station