5 Beautiful Beaches in Okinawa
Have you ever wanted to travel to Japan, but been torn because you also wanted to hang out on the beach? Well, in Okinawa you can do just that. Okinawa is Japan’s tropical paradise, and there beaches galore and something for everyone to enjoy. This post will highlight a few beautiful beaches in Okinawa to help you plan your tropical vacation to Japan.

Here are five memorable beaches in Okinawa that will make you want to pack your swim suit and jump on the next plane to Japan

While some beaches in Okinawa require you to pay just to access them, I couldn’t bring myself to pay to play in the ocean. Thus, all of the beaches on this list are free to enter! Though you often have to pay to rent an umbrella or water floaties.

1.Sunset Beach, Chatan

Sunset beach is very popular, and as the name implies, is a great place to watch the sunset. It’s also convenient because there is a huge Aeon mall and outdoor shopping area, called American Village, with many restaurants and clothing boutiques. 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. If you’re not into seeing U.S. Military personnel, you might want to avoid this beach. But I don’t recommend that. It’s too nice a place to hang out.

Sunset beach is about 40 minutes from Naha and has free parking at the mall. This makes it very popular, since parking is scarce. However, there’s no guarantee that you won’t spend any money on food or shopping. At the beach, 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 – there are poisonous jellyfish and probably currents.

hotel at chatan sunset beach

sunset beach at chatan2.Kourijima

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 will take two hours to get there. However, the scenery is worth it.

The island is becoming more popular (since it is easy to access 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.

bridge from kourijima

kourijima3.Minnajima “Croissant Island”

Minnajima is often called Croissant Island because the shape of it is like a croissant from above. 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 close to Nago. You can rent an umbrella, and you should rent an umbrella because the sun might kill you, except not actually. It’s very hot in the summer though. It’s also really crowded. Make sure you bring sunscreen as well.

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. The other side of the island is not so pretty though. Minnajima might not be the best place if you don’t want to be surrounded by other people.

minnajima croissant island

minnajima ocean view4.Hamahiga Beach

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.

I think a lot of local people come here to have barbecues, play soccer, and just hang out. There’s a small free  parking area just beside the beach. The times that I have been to Hamahiga, there were only a few other people on the beach, and mostly having barbecues or playing soccer on the sand. My husband used to come here when he was younger to play soccer and barbecue with his friends.

hamahiga beach okinawa

large rocks at hamahiga beach5.Emerald Beach

Emerald beach is in the northern part of Okinawa, past Nago and very close to the Churaumi Aquarium and the Ocean Expo Park. 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. Maybe another time. I only got to drive past it a couple times while we stopped for pictures.

emerald beach okinawa

sunset from emerald beach

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 the aquarium. I did walk in the water a bit and find a sea star.

The water at Sesoko beach is clear (expected), and there are lifeguards on duty to intervene in any water-related mishaps. I would have liked to spend more time here because it was not so crowded.

sesoko-beach

sesoko beach ocean

And there you have a short list of beautiful beaches in Okinawa.

  1. Sunset Beach
  2. Kourijima
  3. Croissant Island
  4. Emerald Beach
  5. Hamahiga
  6. Sesoko

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. Keep in mind, the beaches are not really swimmable all year long. Okinawa winters are not warm enough to play in the ocean.

>> Have An afternoon at Umikaji Terrace

>> Or stay at the Busena Terrace Resort: a weekend of luxury at Busena beach

Beach season is from around April 1 to the end of October (I think?). If you come outside of that time, sure you will be able to go to the beach, but there won’t be any lifeguards. And you might be told to get out of the water. It will be too cold anyway. Come in the summer time!

Thanks for reading. Let me know in the comments below your favourite beaches in Okinawa if you have been to any. Or, if you have not been to Okinawa, your favourite beach anywhere in the world.

The Most Amazing Beaches in Okinawa You Probably Don't Know About

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30 Comments

  1. Charlotte Smith Reply

    I was born on Okinawa and left when I was 6 mos. Then went back wben I was 9 and stayed until 12. As you can guess a military kid. I remember Ishikawa beach and Okuma at the north of the island. Both were absolutely gorgeous!

    • There are so many nice beaches around Okinawa. I’m sure there are lots that I don’t even know about still. That’s cool that you could live there for a few years as a kid. It must have been nice!

  2. I never thought of Japan as a place to enjoy the Beach. This post was so aesthetically stunning, and it puts Japan on the map for me as a beach destination!

    • Cool, I’m glad you liked it. The beaches in Okinawa are pretty nice. And the get even nicer when you go off the main island and onto some of the smaller islands. I hope you get to check out Japan’s beaches someday!

    • My favourite is probably the one on Kourijima. The water was too clear, and it wasn’t super busy. I also like Hamahiga because it’s like my husband’s childhood beach. And that makes it special to me too 🙂

      • I know superbusy places might feel nice and vibrant but sometimes they do take away the charm from a place. Hamahiga as a childhood beach, why isn’t he a happy child! xx

  3. Always a Foreigner Reply

    I had no idea that Japan even had beaches like this….stunning with those bright turquoise waters! Gorgeous photos.

    • I don’t think people usually think of Japan as a beach destination, but there are some stunning beaches on the Okinawa islands.

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  9. かむ(Calm) Reply

    Thank you for amazing blog post!
    I live in Nago city, the northern part of Okinawa♡
    I love Okinawa,
    and I am trying to introduce Okinawa in my blog these days.
    So, I am really happy to know you enjoyed beaches of Okinawa.

    I think the last photo is Sesoko-island beach!
    The island has two wonderful cafes.
    One is “fuu cafe”, and the other is “Ringo cafe”!
    Please come to Okinawa again!

    • Thank you for your comment. I really enjoyed visiting many different beaches in Okinawa. Thank you for letting me know about the last one! I didn’t go to any cafes though. I will come to Okinawa again in March, for my sixth time 🙂

    • If you get a chance, I hope you are able to visit. It’s really beautiful and a lot different than the rest of Japan. In March, I’ll be going for my sixth time 🙂

  10. Hi Jennifer

    All pictures remind me of Okinawan days.
    Thanks.

    I suggest two beaches.
    First is Ikei (伊計) beach, which you need to pay entrance fee.
    But, this beach is very very clear. This beach is near the Katsuren peninsula.
    Second is Mi-baru (新原) beach in Nanjo city.

    • Thanks Hiryu. I’m glad I could remind you about Okinawa. I think we may have driven to Ikei beach, but we didn’t want to pay so we just looked and then left. I haven’t been to Mibaru beach though.

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