The Kansai region is perhaps better known for its urban life and attractions in cities such as Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe but the area also has a surprising number of beaches along its coastlines in both the north and south. These beaches attract many locals and tourists in the summer season and can make for a perfect summer day out, whether you’re looking for a chance to swim, sunbathe or enjoy a romantic sunset stroll. Here is a small selection of some of the best beaches in the region.
One of the most renowned nature spots in the Osaka region, Nishikinohama beach gets its name from the contrast between the glorious white sand that adorns the beach and the lush green pine trees that surround it (“nishiki” means “two colors” in Japanese). This beach park is beautiful, relaxing, and only 45-60 minutes from central Osaka. Swimming is permitted in the summer season and there are also barbeque facilities as well as water sports on offer such as jet skiing and boating.
This ocean paradise on the Kyoto coastline in northern Kansai is a hidden gem that doesn’t get too overcrowded with tourists even in the peak season. It is rated one of the top beaches in the region and is notable for its “singing sand”, which makes a distinct squeaking sound underfoot due to the nature of the sand crystals. This beach is also notoriously clean having become the first beach in the world to ban smoking. You can find many restaurants, bars, and lodging houses along its 1.8 km coastline. Swimming is permitted in July and August.
Another hidden treasure, this may not be the most popular beach in Kobe but many consider it to be the best. Located on Awaji Island, it’s a more secluded option for those based in the city and offers up pale sand, clear waters, and herbal springs. The beach is quite small but great for a peaceful swim if you don’t want to jostle for space with hordes of beach-goers. It can be reached by a bus from Sannomiya station or by driving or cycling over the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge.
Address: 2476-3 Taga, Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture 656-1521
The southern prefecture of Wakayama boasts some of Kansai’s finest beaches with Jinoshima beach being one of the most spectacular. It’s a destination on the Kiisuido Strait popular with swimmers and is reachable by walking to the coastline from Hatsushima Station and taking a ferry out to this uninhabited island. Snorkeling is popular here due to water quality. There are also barbecues and camping facilities.
Tarui Southern beach is a popular tourist spot that’s an artificial beach visible from nearby Kansai International Airport. The main benefits of Tarui Southern beach are the atmosphere, the activities on offer – which include windsurfing, fishing and marine sports – and the plethora of shopping malls nearby. It’s easy to combine this beach trip with other activities. Located in Sennan City, it’s about an hour’s travel from Umeda station located in downtown Osaka.