Okinawa has so many beaches, it would take weeks to explore them all. Month, if you want to include beaches that are not on the main island. Here are five memorable beaches that I went to during my first trip to Okinawa. They are all part of the main island or else a short boat ride away to a small island.
While some beaches in Okinawa require you to pay just to access them, all of these beaches are free to enter! …though you often have to pay to rent an umbrella or water floaties.
Sunset Beach, Chatan
Sunset beach is very popular, and as the name implies, is a great place to watch the sunset. It’s also nice because there is a big Aeon mall and outdoor shopping area, called American Village, with many restaurants and clothing boutiques. Also the Beach Tower Okinawa Hotel looks directly over the ocean.
You can pick up a lot of Okinawa souvenirs here before you leave, and expect to see a lot U.S. Military personnel.
Sunset beach is about 40 minutes from Naha and has free parking. Though, there’s no guarantee that you won’t spend any money on food or shopping – it’s a fun place to hang out. You can swim, sunbathe, beach barbecue, and more.
You should only stay within the netted area of the water. Don’t go into the wild ocean.
Kourijima beach is accessible by a long bridge, the longest bridge in Okinawa. It is north of Nago, so if you are coming from Naha, it might take two to get there. However, the scenery is worth it.
The island is becoming more popular (because of the bridge) and a little busy, and the beach is not huge. But the ocean is clear, and you can see lots of fish in the water. This might be my favourite beach on the main island.
The swimming area is not fenced off though, so you have to be careful about jellyfish. And from the beach you can really see how long the bridge is.
Kourijima is a great place to snorkel, and you can wade out very far from shore.
Minnajima “Croissant Island”
Minnajima is often called Croissant Island because the shape of it is like a croissant. The waters here are crystal clear, and is also a great place for fish watching. It is also close to Nago, and you can take ferry from nearby Motobu port.
Here, you can rent an umbrella, and you should rent an umbrella because the sun might kill you, except not actually. It’s super hot in the summer though. It’s also really crowded.
The swimming area is fenced off, and the whole island is surrounded by corals and fishes. You can explore the rest of the island on foot and get away from the crowd, or rent different water sport thingies.
Minnajima might not be the best place if you don’t want to be surrounded by other people…
…but the water really is very beautiful.
I think Hamahiga beach is a bit of a secret beach that only the local people know about. It’s close to Okinawa city on the east side of the main island of Okinawa.
It’s not so crowded, and the water is not fenced off or as clear as some of the other beaches. You also need to watch out for jellyfish here, and there is no lifeguard.
People come to have barbecues, play soccer, and just hang out. There’s a parking area just beside the beach. The times that I have been to Hamahiga, there were only a few on the beach, and mostly having barbecues or playing on the sand.
The huge rocks in the distance are really cool too:
Emerald beach is past Nago and very close to the Churaumi Aquarium and the Ocean Expo Park in the northern part of Okinawa main island.
I regret to say that I didn’t actually go to this beach to swim or hang out because we were busy doing other things that day. I only got to drive past it while we stopped for pictures.
And another time we were coming by, we stopped to watch the sunset.
BONUS: Sesoko beach
Sesoko beach is also in the northern part of Okinawa main island, about a 30-minute drive from Nago. It is on Sesoko Island and can be accessed by a short bridge.
While I did come to this beach, I didn’t have any swimwear or water-playing activities. It was more of a stop through on the way to somewhere else. I did walk in the water a bit and find a sea star.
The water at Sesoko beach is clear, and there are lifeguards on duty to intervene in any water-related mishaps. I would have liked to spend more time here.
This list of
5 6 beaches in Okinawa is far from being complete. There are so many beautiful places to explore, whatever you are looking for – white sandy beaches, isolated corners, and rocky cliffs.
Whatever your tastes are, you are sure to find a place with lovely sand, clear blue waters, water wildlife, and some of the most stunning scenery you have seen in your life.
Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments below which beaches you have been to in Okinawa. What is your favourite beach?
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