Summer is here, and what better way to spend your day off than a day trip to the beach? While the closest beach to Tokyo is Odaiba Bay, it doesn’t exactly scream summer. However, in Kanagawa Prefecture, you’re practically spoiled for choice.
Moreover, there are a few train passes to popular beach destinations that can help you stay within budget. For beach lovers hoping to visit popular spots like Zushi Beach, Isshiki Beach or Miura Beach, these deals are perfect for a day trip.
Discounted beach day-trips
The Hayama Excursion ticket covers transportation to Zushi Beach and the beaches around Hayama. The Misaki Maguro ticket gets you to the end of the Miura Peninsula, which includes Aburatsubo Bay and Jogashima Park. While the Hayama Excursion ticket is great for just a day at the beach, the Misaki Maguro ticket offers many other experiences like hiking and a dip in an onsen (hot spring).
Each ticket includes roundtrip transportation (including busses), discounts, a set meal at participating restaurants and an activity (such as a 45-minute cruise around the Miura Peninsula).
Best beaches in Kanagawa
Of course, you don’t need to buy one of these discounted tickets to enjoy a day at the beach, but why pass up on the deal? That being said, here are just some of our favorite beaches in Kanagawa.
Facing Sagami Bay, Zushi Beach has long been a sought-after summer destination for all age groups. It’s an easy 20-minute stroll from one end of the beach to the other although it gets crowded during peak season. Zushi is also pretty popular for windsurfing and paddle boarding. Unfortunately, the ease of access and proximity to the station means it also gets really crowded. There are also many restaurants, showers (not free) and bathrooms.
Morito Beach (Hayama)
Morito Beach is a short 10-minute bus ride from Zushi and is a favorite among families with small children. The waves are small and the surrounding area is clean. It’s a good alternative to the crowded Zushi Beach if it’s too crowded. One thing that sets Morito Beach apart from the others in the area is that it’s located near Morito Daimyojin Shrine which makes for stunning views at sunset. Dating back to the Kamakura period, this shrine is said to be one of the most famous shrines in Shonan. Visitors come here to pray for good health and good weather.
Isshiki Beach (Hayama)
For a more secluded beach-going experience, head to Isshiki Beach around Hayama. The bus stop to Isshiki Beach stops right in front of the Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura and Hayama so if it’s still too hot during the day, you can check out the ongoing exhibits. Since it takes an extra 20 minutes from central Zushi by bus, expect fewer crowds and less eateries as well as shower facilities. That being said it’s a perfect place to relax and get away from it all especially if you hang around the small wooded area by the coast.
Miura Beach is considered one of the prefecture’s longest and most spacious beaches. It’s also one of the furthest beaches away from central Tokyo, is tattoo-friendly and isn’t as crowded. Getting to the beach from the nearest station is about a five to six-minute walk making it easy for those coming by train. Like Zushi Beach, Miura is a popular spot for windsurfing and other water sports. In early August the town hosts a grand fireworks festival.
Kurihama Beach is much smaller compared to the other beaches on this list but it’s still a worthwhile trip out to Yokosuka. Located right beside Perry Park, it’s a place frequented by friends and families to host barbecue parties, dog owners, and it’s perfect for a short stroll by the ocean. While it might not be the most popular summer destination, it’s still a lively spot to spend a relaxing afternoon. Unlike the previous locations, there aren’t any public toilets or shower rooms.
Alternatively, the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass gives you access to the many beaches along the coastline between Enoshima and, you guessed it, Kamakura. While the most popular beaches in this area are Katase Higashihama, Yuigahama and Zaimokuza, you’ll find they all kind of blend together. Moreover, tickets are only ¥1,640 from Shinjuku or ¥810 from Fujisawa.
If you’re looking to do more than just lounge on the beach the whole day, the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass might be the better choice. Unlike the previous passes, the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass offers discounts and covers transportation to famous temples and shrines dotted around the ends of the Enoden train line. From the grand Tsurugaoka Hachimangu to seeing the iconic Kamakura Daibutsu (giant Buddha), there’s definitely more to see and do. Not to mention, this pass offers some entrance discounts to other landmarks in the area like the Enoshima Aquarium and Sea Candle.
For more information and how to purchase online, visit the official website for the Enoshima-Kamakura Freepass (English).
Tips for a day at the beach
Have a Game Plan
It pays to prepare your own beach towel, toiletries and entertainment. While you’re probably going to end up paying to use a shower, more often than not they don’t supply any toiletries or price it at a premium. Parasol rentals can go for ¥1,000, while showers can range from ¥500 to ¥1,000 depending on the establishment. Always prepare a few thousand yen in cash since some stores don’t offer cashless payment options.
Heat stroke is no joke, especially with Japan’s humid summers. It pays to stay hydrated by either dropping by a convenience store before heading to the beach or just bringing your own water bottle from home. You don’t want to pay double the price for a small water bottle. The same goes for snacks.
Go during off-season
Summer in Japan officially starts in mid-July and ends on the last day of August and hardly anyone goes to the beach during the off-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.
Keep this in mind, and go to the beach when the weather and mood suit you. You’ll need to have an eye peeled for typhoons in September and be cautious as there probably won’t be lifeguards around, but you can still suntan, stroll on the beach and even swim, if the weather permits.
Have you tried using any train passes to get to the beach? Let us know in the comments.