While Okinawa might spring to mind when you think of beaches in Japan, it may surprise you that there are some incredible spots just across from Tokyo. Chiba’s Boso Peninsula offers surfing havens, snorkeling spots and sandy stretches galore, all while being a few hours from the capital.
Kujukuri: Chiba’s Longest Beach
Stretching along most of the Boso Peninsula’s northeast coast, Kujukuri is 60km of soft, sandy beach. As the second-longest in the country, the unusually smooth curve is the perfect destination if you like to spread out and avoid the crowds, as you can just keep walking until you find a quiet spot. The beach is popular with both swimmers and surfers and is considered one of the best spots for surfing in particular in Japan thanks to wind from the Pacific Ocean and the Kuroshio Current. Cape Inubo to the north offers stunning panoramic ocean views from its preserved lighthouse while Isumi in the south has Taito Beach. There are a number of facilities including showers, cafes and restaurants along the beach, with the busiest area being towards Choshi.
- Name: Kujukuri (九十九里)
- Address: Otsu Hitotsumatsu, Chiba, Japan
- Access: This varies on your preferred beach spot, but Taito Station is just under an hour from Chiba on the JR Sotobu Line with a change required at Kazusa-Ichinomiya, costing 860 yen. Alternatively, many choose to take the JR Sobu Limited Express to Choshi Station and change to the Choshi Electric Railway, alighting at Inubo Station, costing around 4,000 yen and taking two hours.
Tateyama: Sea Fireflies, Fuji and Snorkelling
The Tateyama area is located to the very southwest of the Boso Peninsula tip and has a selection of great beaches. The beaches look out across Tokyo Bay and the surrounding town has a beachy feel, with cafes and bars as well as family restaurants offering relaxed cuisine. Tateyama Sunset pier is located between the area’s two most popular beaches (Hojo and Okinoshima) and offers both a great fishing spot and fantastic views as the sun sets.
Okinoshima Beach: Snorkelling and Sea Fireflies
This unusual beach is a 200m sandbar connecting the mainland with a small uninhabited island. With soft sand and a calm bay, its turquoise waters are perfect for swimming and snorkeling. The island is a fun spot to explore and is only 1km in circumference, with a forest at the center. Tateyama Bay is one of the best areas to view sea fireflies, called Umihotaru in Japanese. The bioluminescent creatures give an otherworldly experience and tours are operated by a local organisation to ensure they are protected.
- Name: Okinoshima Beach (沖ノ島海水浴場)
- Address: Fujimi, Tateyama, Chiba
- Access: The beach is a 10-minute bus ride from Tateyama Station on the JR Sazanami and Uchibo Lines. Tateyama Station is around two hours from Chiba on the JR Uchibo line with a change required at either Kisazaru, Kimitsu or Kazusaminato. The journey costs 1,520 yen one way for the train with an additional 200 to 250 yen for the bus.
Hojo Beach: Relax with Views of Fuji
This is one of the most popular spots in Tateyama and is a great central beach only a five-minute walk from the station. The sandy beach is popular with families and has impressive views of Mt. Fuji. There are plenty of nearby restaurants and in August a firework festival is held. On two specific windows each year, the unusual ‘Diamond Fuji’ can be seen from Hojo Beach. Occurring in mid-May and at the end of July (dates vary each year), the phenomenon offers the chance to see the sun setting perfectly into the summit of Mt. Fuji.
- Name: Hojo Beach (北条海水浴場)
- Address: 2307 Hojo, Tateyama, Chiba
- Access: The beach is located a five-minute walk from Tateyama Station on the JR Sazanami and Uchibo lines. Tateyama Station is around two hours from Chiba on the JR Uchibo line with a change required at either Kisazaru, Kimitsu or Kazusaminato. The journey costs 1,520 yen one way.
Choshi: Surrounded by the Sea
A small city surrounded on three sides by the sea, Choshi is Chiba’s most popular sea-lovers destination. With the Pacific Ocean and Tokyo Bay to choose from, visitors can enjoy surfing, swimming and walking. Often likened to the cliffs of Dover, the Byobugaura cliffs are best viewed from the walking paths and offer a striking backdrop for the beach. The area is host to the annual Tone River Jam Festival and has a number of neighbouring beaches including Ashikajima Beach to the east and popular rock formations such as Inuiwa and Sengaiwa to the south. The city also claims the earliest sunrise in Japan, so if you like to get out into the water bright and early, you’re in the right place.
- Name: Choshi (銚子マリーナ海水浴場)
- Address: Choshi Marina Beach, Shiomicho, Choshi, Chiba
- Access: The beach is located on the most eastern-side of Chiba and is a 25-minute walk from Tokawa Station on the Choshi Electric Railway, with buses available in season. From Chiba, you can take the JR Sobu Line for Choshi and change to the electric railway - the journey takes around two hours in total and costs approximately 1,870 yen.
Tsurigasaki Beach: Surfer’s Paradise
Host to the 2021 Olympic Games Surfing event, it’s safe to say this is one of the best places in Japan for surfers. The surrounding town of Ichinomiya is found at the end of Kujukuri coast and draws around 600,000 surfers every year. Many famous Japanese surfers grew up or trained here so it’s not unusual to see experts among the amateurs. The town also has beautiful sightseeing spots including the large tori gate on the sand and the Kazusanokuni Ichinomiya Tamasaki Shrine which is associated with good fortune in marriage. The town is filled with surf shops and relaxed cafe to enjoy a break in.
- Name: Tsurigasaki Beach (釣ヶ崎海岸サーフィンビーチ)
- Address: 6961-1 Torami, Ichinomiya-machi, Chosei, Chiba
- Access: The beach is a 30-minute walk from either Taito or Torami Station on the JR Sotobo Line. It is just under an hour from Chiba with a change required at Kazusa-Ichinomiya. The journey costs 860 yen.