Beaches on Chiburijima Island (Chibu Village)
Watatsu Beach (2023 Season: mid-July to late Aug) (Unstaffed)
With its soft sand and shallow waters, Watatsu Beach is the most popular beach for families in Chibu Village. Located on Shimazushima Island, the beach is tucked in a small bay along the walking trail, which means it gets fewer waves. A short, floating buoy bridge is also set up there during the season. The walk to the beach along the walking trail is also very enjoyable and you can take in the gorgeous scenery of the surrounding area near Shirakabe (White Wall).
Facilities: Running water (hose), restrooms, showers, changing rooms
How to get there: 10 minutes by car from Kurii Port and 10 minutes on foot from the car park. Alternatively, it takes around 20 minutes to get to the car park lot on an e-bike.
Special note: The car park is located before crossing the O-matsu-bashi Bridge, and space is limited.
Nagao Beach (Unstaffed, and no buoy line)
Quietly hidden in a small bay, Nagao Beach is only a short walk (down a hill and some stairs) away from Hotel Chibu-no-sato. Nagao Beach is unstaffed and there is no buoy line to mark the swimming area. Most of the time it is very quiet and you might be the only party there to enjoy the crystal-clear sea on a sunny summer day. But during the school holidays, it is bustling with liveliness because this is one of the local children’s best-loved spots!
Facilities: Running water
How to get there: 10 minutes by car or 20 minutes by e-bike from Kurii Port then 3 minutes on foot.
Special note: Chiburijima Ramen, the one-and-only ramen shop on Chiburijima Island is located just next to Hotel Chibu-no-sato. Drop by for lunch before your afternoon at the beach, or slurp away there after your morning swim!
Now, let’s take a look at the beaches on Nakanoshima Island (Ama Town).
Beaches on Nakanoshima Island (Ama Town)
Akiya Coast (2023 Season: Jul 15 – Aug 13)
With the picturesque “Heart Rock” right in front and the uninhabited islands floating on the horizon, Akiya Coast is not only a popular visitors’ spot but also the perfect place just to chill and relax under the summer sun. This rocky coast is perfect for campers as Akiya Campground (reservation required) is right next door. Bring your tent, enjoy a splash (be careful of the rocks scattered along the coast), bask in the summer sun and enjoy some stargazing in the evening!
Facilities: Running water, washrooms, showers (cold water only), changing rooms and car park.
How to get there: 45 minutes by bike or 15 minutes by car from Hishiura Port. Alternatively, hop on the town bus and alight at “Akiya Kaigan” bus stop. The beach is a few minutes on foot away from the bus stop. Service is limited so make sure to plan ahead and check the schedule!
Special note: This beach is located on the northeastern coast of Nakanoshima Island and faces the Dōgo Channel. This particular area can be quite windy sometimes. Please stay alert to weather conditions and, if you are visiting with any, keep an eye on your holiday buddies or family members.
Rainbow Beach (2023 Season: Jul 15 – Aug 13)
Just a stone’s throw away from Hishiura Port, this is the beach where you can soak in the scenery of Beppu area of Nishinoshima Island, and the perfect location for your last-minute beach splash before getting on the ferry. Earlier this year, a new camping facility (luxurious dome tents equipped with air-conditioning!) has just opened at the same location, so the beach is sure going to be bustling with more laughter!
Facilities: Running water, restrooms, showers, changing rooms and car park.
How to get there: 8 minutes on foot from Hishiura Port.
Special note: If you are planning to spend your day at the beach, there are a few restaurants near the ferry terminal for lunch. Check with the tourism association office for the most updated business hours before you head out!
Furoya Beach (2023 Season: Jul 15 – Aug 13)
Quietly sitting on the western side of the island, this beach is the locals’ hotspot. The shallow, rocky beach is perfect for families, or for anyone who would like to spend a day at the beach, soaking in the scenery of Dozen Inland Sea and parts of Nishinoshima Island.
Facilities: Running water, restrooms, showers, changing rooms and car park.
How to get there: 10 minutes by car from Hishiura Port.
Coming up next is Nishinoshima Island (Nishinoshima Town).
Beaches on Nishinoshima Island (Nishinoshima Town)
Ōyama Beach (2023 Season: Aug 5 – Aug 20)
This beach is only a very short distance away from Beppu Port! Although it is quite a small one just across the road from the neighbourhood, it is equipped with shower facilities, a car park and there is also a café nearby. The view from this beach is superb; sometimes the Dōzen Inland Sea looks like a gigantic lake surrounded by Dōgo Island, Nishinoshima Island and Nakanoshima Island.
Facilities: Running water, restrooms, showers and car park.
How to get there: 5 minutes by car from Beppu Port. Alternatively, rent a bicycle or enjoy the walk down there from the port.
Sotohama Beach (2023 Season: Jul 22 – Aug 20)
Located right at the centre of the island, this beach is the beach for locals and visitors alike. During the season, the store near the beach will be open and you can pick up some refreshments for your day. If you need more sunscreen or some snacks, the convenience store-like grocery store nearby is less than 5 minutes on foot.
Facilities: Running water, restrooms, showers, changing rooms and car park (space limited), small shop (drinks and snacks)
How to get there: 10 minutes by car from Beppu Port. Alternatively, hop on the town bus from Beppu Port or from Uragō area, and alight at “Sotohama Kaisui-yokujō” bus stop. The beach is about a minute away on foot from the bus stop.
Special note: Sotohama Beach is located right next to Funabiki Canal, which is a busy, functioning canal. Sightseeing boats are not the only vessels that use it; small, local fishing boats go through the canal as well, and their sailing route is right outside the beach. Swimming in the canal is strictly forbidden and for your own safety, please do not get too close to the outer edge of the marked swimming area.
Finally, let’s take a look at the beaches on Dōgo Island (Okinoshima Town).
Beaches on Dōgo Island (Okinoshima Town)
Shiohama Beach (2023 Season: Jul 15 – Aug 16)
This beach sits on the outside rim of Saigō Port area, and here you can enjoy the unobstructed view of the never-ending horizon, crystal-clear waters and soft sand. There is a small shop at the beach. This is one of the hotspots for locals during the season, especially for those enjoying summer fun with their families.
Facilities: Running water, restrooms, showers (coin operated), coin lockers, small shop (snacks and drinks), car park
How to get there: 20 minutes by car from Saigō Port.
Special note: This beach is tucked in a quiet corner on the island, and is outside the mobile network coverage area.
Nakamura Beach (2023 Season: Jul 8 – Aug 16)
If you are staying in Nakamura area, this is the beach just outside your (your accommodation facility’s) doorstep! There is a grocery store where you can pick up refreshments, and the restaurant, Sazae-mura, is also there, right by the beach. Enjoy your day here on the white, sandy beach and drop by the restaurant for a delicious lunch!
Facilities: Running water, restrooms, showers and car park.
How to get there: 30 minutes by car from Saigō Port. Alternatively, hop on a bus that takes you to Nakamura (service limited).
Kasuganohama Beach (2023 Season: Jul 15 – Aug 16)
This lovely sandy beach is located on the north-eastern shore of the island, in the area called Fuse. Not only can you spend your afternoon chilling by the sea, you can also grab a bite at the nearby restaurant Pōrest (their famous tempura rice bowl can sure fuel you up for the rest of the day!), visit Jōdogaura Coast and take a short stroll along the Sakiyama Walking Trail which are both only a short drive or a walk away; a 1-day itinerary!
Facilities: Running water, restrooms, showers, beachside eatery and car park
How to get there: 40 minutes by car from Saigō Port. Alternatively, take the bus that goes to Fuse area (service limited).
Fukuura Beach (2023 Season: Jul 21 – Aug 20)
Fukuura Beach is tucked away on the western side of the island, in the area of Gōka. If you are staying in Gōka area, make sure to drop by the beach, even just to dip your feet in the cool summer sea! Mizuwakasu Shrine and a few eateries are just a short drive away, so you can spend your afternoon there after your morning swim. Fukuura Wharf, one of the departure points for the Rōsoku-jima Sightseeing Boat (booking necessary) is just next to the beach; make a reservation and you’ll have a 1-day itinerary for Gōka area!
Facilities: Running water, restrooms, shower, car park, eatery (light meal and drinks)
How to get there: 40 minutes by car from Saigō Port. Alternatively, hop on the bus that goes to Fukuura area (service limited).
Now that we’ve gone through the long list of beaches, it is time to take a look at safety tips and notes on essential etiquette.
Safety Tips and Notes on Essential Etiquette
Here are some tips to help make your beach holiday more enjoyable:
“Beach season” is really a thing in Japan, and the locals typically only visit during the beach season, where facilities are open and set up. Most of the beaches here in the Oki Islands are open from mid-July to mid-August. Summer is also the season of typhoons and rainstorms, sometimes resulting in closure of beaches or shortening of the beach season. If you are planning a beach holiday on the islands, check with the tourism association offices for the most updated info.
Things to Bring:
・Your summer must-haves: sunscreen, hats and shades.
・Your beach essentials, especially clothing items: swimming costume, rash guard, marine shoes and towel.
*Long-sleeved rash guard does not only shield you from the strong UVs, but will also provide protection against potential scrapes from the sharp shells attached to the rocks. Marine shoes are also highly recommended as they can protect you from the rocky sea bottom, fragments of marine litter, and perhaps marine animals that dwell in the shallow waters.
・Cash, especially coins! A lot of the shower facilities at the beaches are coin-operated, so make sure to have some spare change with you. The coins will come in handy too, especially if you are planning to take the town buses, buy drinks from vending machines…
Some of the beaches are unstaffed, even during the season.
A lot of the beaches listed above have a staff stationed there during the beach season, but some of the beaches, especially the ones in Chiburijima Village, are unstaffed throughout the year. These staff will keep a watchful eye on all beachgoers, but they should not be mixed up with lifeguards. The beach staff will help contact the emergency service or authorities when needed, but they are not licensed life savers. Beachgoers should always keep an eye on all members of your party.
In some countries and regions, nets are set up to prevent sharks or jellyfish from entering the swimming area. However, the beaches in the Oki Islands are not equipped with such nets. Sometimes you will find jellyfish brought into the swimming area by the waves; which explains why long-sleeved rash guards and leggings are recommended! Before you dip into the clear blue sea, make sure to check the types of dangerous jellyfish that are sometimes seen near our beaches in our Pocket Guide.
Essential etiquette and things to note:
・No camping at the beaches.
If you would like to camp, make a booking for a site at the campgrounds. We have a good number of campgrounds on the islands, but make sure to make a reservation early because the sites get filled very quickly over the summer holidays!
・No fishing within swimming areas.
・Food and drinks:
Some beaches have restaurants or eateries nearby; grab a bite and take a break there! *No eating and drinking at beaches in Ama Town / on Nakanoshima Island, but a quick sip to rehydrate is ok.
Also, there is zero tolerance for drunk driving in Japan. If you’re travelling around in a rental car and have enjoyed a pint during lunch at the restaurants nearby the beaches, don’t drive.
Regarding food, as mentioned above, enjoy a quick meal or grab a bite at the eateries.
・Clean up after yourself and bring your trash with you.
The beaches are not equipped with trash bins. Bring a rubbish bag with you and dispose of the waste properly; burnable and unburnable trash. Remember, leave no trace but footprints!
・No fireworks or naked flames (eg. campfire).
For the safety and enjoyment of all beach-users, save these for later or another occasion.
・Do not pick shellfish and refrain from wearing wetsuits.
Fishing rights are taken very seriously in Japan, and of course here on the islands, too. Picking shellfish (sazae turban shells, sea urchins, sea cucumbers etc.) without a permit is a violation of the law, and one could be subject to the same penalties as commercial poachers. Wearing a pair of wetsuits can get you mistaken as a diver without a permit, and cause a misunderstanding. So, just leave your wetsuits at home!
・Always check the weather forecast before heading out to the beach.
Keep an eye on the weather when you are out there, too!
・No sea kayaks, SUP boards and boats within the swimming area.
If you would like to try sea kayaking, you can do them here:
Sea kayaking tour in Chibu Village
Sea kayaking cave tour in Nishinoshima Town
Sea kayaking cave tour in Okinoshima Town
Sea stroll in a kayak, adventure kayaking in Okinoshima Town.
One final note: the islands are very small. Some of the beaches may be tucked away in a quiet corner of the island, but a lot of the beaches are very close to (sometimes, just in front of) residential areas. While enjoying your beach holiday, be mindful of other fellow beachgoers, and the locals who live there.
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