Summer is here and the beach season has officially opened! Tokyo is a concrete jungle but the closest beaches of note are Zushi (and Hayama), Enoshima, Kamakura and Miurakaigan.
Here’s how to get out and enjoy these spots without spending a fortune.
Tip 1: Bring Your Own Food
Prices at the seasonal cafes and bars on the beaches are usually not so wallet-friendly. Instead of shelling out 1 000 yen or more for lunch, you can save by picking up a bento on the way. At Zushi there’s plenty of choices on the walk from the station to the beach, but of course the spendthrift within you knows it’s best to pick something up before you set off from Tokyo (bonus points if you buy it half-price late the night before).
Quite often you’ll see people doing a BBQ on the beach. This is a good idea too, both from the cost-saving on bringing your own food, plus not having to pay prohibitive fees just to light the coals (as is often the case in the BBQ-able parks around Tokyo).
Tip 2: Choose Your Trains Carefully
Depending on which route you take to the beach, you could easily end up paying an extra 600yen or more. Our rule of thumb – avoid the Shonan-Shinjuku line as much as possible!
Here are our recommended routes to the four beaches:
- Route: From Shibuya: Tokyo Toyoko Line -> Yokohama, transfer to JR Yokosuka Line -> Zushi
- Time: About 63 min
- Cost: ¥610 one way
- Route: Shinjuku: Odakyu Line ->Fujisawa, transfer to Odakyu Enoshima Line -> Katase-Enoshima
- Time: About 64 min
- Cost: ¥630 one way
- Route: From Shibuya: Tokyo Toyoko Line -> Yokohama, transfer to JR Yokosuka Line -> Kamakura
- Time: About 58 min
- Cost: ¥610 one way
- Route: From Shinagawa: Keikyu Line -> Miurakaigan
- Time: About 68 min
- Cost: ¥860 one way
Tip 3: Hayama Is Awesome
Enoshima and Zushi get ridiculously crowded on weekends, and even weekdays are pretty crammed. It’s worth the extra 20 minutes to take the bus from Zushi to Hayama. Here you can actually see some of the sand between the sunbathing bodies, it is far more secluded, and there are shady trees and even some grassy areas too.
At Zushi Station, take Bus 12 (from bus stop 3) heading to Hayama (葉山), alight at Isikikaigan, (一色海岸) just before Hayama, and then walk through some narrow lanes down to the beach.
Kamakura is also a great choice for a beach daytrip. While the beach itself is actually fairly standard, it makes a great day out if you throw in a visit to some of the area’s sights, like the giant Buddha statue, and the surrounding hills.
4: Don’t Stop Going Just Because Summer Has “Officially” Ended
Despite warm temperatures running all the way from late May to early October, summer here officially starts in mid-July and ends on precisely the last day of August. Hardly anyone goes to the beach outside of this set season. The stark contrast between the number of beachgoers for the last weekend in August and the first weekend in September is always mind-blowing.
Our advice: keep this in mind, and go to the beach when the weather and mood suits. You’ll need to have an eye peeled for typhoons in September and be a tad cautious as there probably won’ t be lifeguards around, but you can still suntan, stroll on the beach, and yes, even swim – if you’re brave enough.
Guest Contributor: Tokyo Cheapo