While the US and Australia claim sovereignty over most of the world’s top surfing destinations, Japan 1,864 miles (3,000 km) of coastline provides more than just a few great places to catch a wave.
With the swollen Pacific Ocean to the east and the tropical climate of the southern islands, good surf conditions are available year-round in Japan. Let’s see where and when to find the best waves that Japan has to offer.
For surfers traveling in and around Tokyo, the best surfing can be found in Chiba (about 45 minutes outside Tokyo), and Shonan, a smaller, less crowded beach area in the south For what. Shonan’s ideal surfing trip begins at Enoshima beach and ends in the traditional city of Kamakura.
Just outside the Kanto area is Shizuoka City (about 2.5 hours by car), a great option for those who want to get out of Tokyo for a more rural coast. Alternatively, head south down the Izu Peninsula to Shirahama, a hugely popular beach spot – and often crowded – but gorgeous. The best time to surf these points is from August to October.
Considered by many to be the best surfing area in Japan, Shikoku Island in the southwest is known for its ideal beach conditions, easy access and surf community. The Kochi and Tokushima prefectures on the island’s southeastern coast boast the best blooms, with an average of 20 per season. For peak conditions, visit from June to November.
Okinawa and the islands
This tropical island chain in southern Japan boasts the best weather in the country. With subtropical climates and beautiful beaches, Okinawa can surf all year round – even in the dead winter. It is easiest to get started on Naha’s main island and then branch out there. A visit to Okinawa will require some plans such as sharp coral reefs and tropical storms that can make some areas dangerous for newbies.
Travelers in and around Osaka should check out the beaches along the coast of Wakayama Prefecture, the most popular being Isonoura. About an hour’s drive from Osaka, Isonoura Beach attracts surfers from all over Kansai and can become crowded at times. For surfers with slightly more time (and a car), there are some smaller, less crowded spots along the Wakayama coast.