Okinawa has no shortage of beautiful tropical beaches. This Japanese chain of over 160 islands ranges from bustling, urban islands to the more remote ones that offer idyllic escapes. So many islands mean literally thousands of beaches, which attract millions of travelers every year. The types of islands in Okinawa differ greatly and so do the types of beaches you’ll discover.

    Whether you seek a lush and tropical oasis remotely tucked away from civilization, a gorgeous beach that’s just steps from some of country’s best nightlife and shopping, or sandy shores that provide all the amenities associated with 5-star resorts, there’s a top pick among Okinawa’s best beaches, listed below.


    Furuzamami Beach

    Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere a short ferry ride from the city

    Furuzamami Beach on Zamami Island is one of the easiest to reach, as it's just a ferry ride away from Okinawa. You’re most likely to arrive on Okinawa’s main island of the same name, and from there, you have the option to travel the archipelago as you please. Even so, Furuzamami Beach is usually first to tick off the list due to its convenient distance.

    While Furuzamami Beach isn’t near anything ‘urban,’ you won’t find any of its amenities to be lacking. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views of clear blue waters with other islands in the distance and the abundant greenery contrasting nicely with the shades of blue, from sky to sea.

    Location: 1743 Zamami, Shimajiri District, Okinawa 901-3402, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)98-987-2277


    photo by Hashi photo (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Nishihama Beach

    Head south for pristine sands and gentle waves

    Nishihama Beach might take a bit of extra travel to reach but many past travelers say that the remote locale is well worth the trek. Nishihama Beach sits on Hateruma, Japan’s southernmost inhabited island. The ocean stretches as far as the eye can see, from your spot on pristine, white sands backed by dense foliage.

    The cobalt-blue waters are particularly calm, making Nishihama a nice pick for families with young children or weak swimmers. Besides swimming, snorkeling is also popular at Nishihama Beach, thanks to the coral reefs that lie just off the shore.

    Location: Hateruma, Taketomi-cho, Yaeyama-gun 907-1751, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan


    Emerald Beach

    Explore a wealth of activities on and near this manmade beach

    The manmade Emerald Beach got its name from its vibrant waters, which are crystal-clear with a greenish hue. There’s more to this beach than just its striking waters, though. It sits within Okinawa’s Ocean Expo Park, which has a botanical garden, aquarium, and cultural exhibits.

    The beach is separated into 3 different zones. One is for relaxing (so no splashing around or noisy kids), the second for swimming and water-based activities, while the third offers plenty of sightseeing opportunities for you to get your Instagram photo and go. On-site showers are free to use. You can rent umbrellas, chairs and life vests at shops, many of which are within walking distance of Emerald Beach.

    Location: 424 Azaishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0206, Japan

    Open: Daily from 8.30am to 7pm

    Phone: +81 (0)980-48-2741


    Aharen Beach

    Take a convenient day trip to paradise

    • Budget
    • Adventure

    You can reach Aharen Beach if you’re willing to take a short hour’s boat ride from Okinawa. You can go from Naha’s bumping urban center (which has many shopping, dining and nightlife options) straight to your own private getaway with ease.

    Aharen Beach is very popular with day-trippers – the brief boat ride transports you to a tropical isle where the waters are so blue, they practically glow. Further beyond the crescent-shaped beach, you’ll find expansive hilltops covered in palm trees.

    Location: Aharen, Tokashiki, Shimajiri District, Okinawa 901-3502, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)98-987-2333


    Manza Beach

    Take advantage of 5-star amenities at this resort-side beach

    Manza Beach on Manza Cove is nearby several large hotels, in case you want to book a room with an ocean view, where you can walk out of your guestroom and out to the sandy shores. Technically, Manza Beach is on ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort’s property, but you don’t need to stay at the resort to enjoy the beach, as it’s open to the public.

    Manza Beach has white sands, clear waters and even a floating inflatable playground for kids, though the latter does come with a fee. You can enjoy the scenery and the water at no cost, though. Other activities include diving and parasailing. From Manza Beach, some choose to walk to the nearby Cape Manzamo, a beautiful backdrop for travel photos.

    Location: 2260 Serakaki, Onna, Kunigami District, Okinawa 904-0404, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)98-966-1211


    Azama Sun Sun Beach

    Plan a beach day for the entire family

    Azama Sun Sun Beach is a family favorite for a variety of reasons. This Okinawan beach is very well-patrolled by lifeguards and watchmen. There are lots of amenities that make the beach overall safer and more convenient for travelers with a bevvy of children in tow.

    Facilities on Azama Sun Sun Beach are equipped to deal with travelers with special needs, jellyfish nets to keep those dangerous critters away from your kids, and separate spots for most kinds of water activities, including swimming, banana boating, Big Mable boating, half piping and jet skiing. You can also rent beach umbrellas, lounge chairs, and even a barbecue, for a spur-of-the-moment picnic. Don’t want to do your own cooking? You can visit the onsite snack bar for some quick refreshment.

    Location: Azama-1141-3 Chinen, Nanjo, Okinawa 901-1502, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)98-948-3521


    photo by らみみ (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified


    Zanpa Beach

    Children are a big focus at this family-centric beach

    Zampa Beach is another family-friendly choice, but it appeals to travelers of all types thanks to its overall beauty, thick and white sand, aquamarine waters and picturesque sunsets. Just offshore, you’ll find the largest coral reef in the Okinawa prefecture, which results in very calm waters, great for kids and weak swimmers alike.

    You’ll find your normal water activities here, but special attention is paid to water activities created for toddlers and young children. There are children’s sand toys that you can rent, for no charge. Other items for rent include beach chairs, volleyball nets, inner tubes and umbrellas.

    Location: 1575 Uza, Yomitan-son, Nakagami- gun 904-0328, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)98-958-5000


    Mibaru Beach

    Live like the locals at this remote beach

    Mibaru Beach in southern Okinawa is very popular with locals as it's one of the few beaches that have yet to be discovered by the traveling masses. It's pretty casual and you’ll see that it’s not quite as cleaned up as some of the other beaches on this list (in other words, you can find some rocks and seaweed), which only adds to the locals-only vibe.

    As you splash around off-shore rock formations, the water’s clarity makes it easy for spotting tropical fish. You can also opt for a glass-bottomed boat tour if you prefer to stay dry. Do note that the waves at Mibaru Beach are a bit on the rougher side.

    Location: Hyakuna-1346 Tamagusuku, Nanjo, Okinawa 901-0603, Japan

    Phone: +81 (0)98-948-1103


    photo by inf_supTJ (CC0 1.0) modified


    Maehama Beach

    Home to some of the best sands and diving in Japan

    Yonaha Maehama Beach (or Maebama Beach) reportedly offers travelers the whitest sands in the Asia Pacific. You can visit and judge for yourself, as you walk the 7-km length of this spacious beach. From the shores, you’ll be treated to views of Kurimajima Island just across the water, as well as the bridge connecting Kurimajima to Miyakojima, the island where Yonahamaehama Beach is located.

    Miyakojima is consistently named one of the best islands for diving in not only Okinawa, but in all of Japan. If you don’t want to swim, at least consider stopping by Maebama Beach for one of its famous sunsets.

    Location: Yonaha-1199 Shimoji, Miyakojima, Okinawa 906-0000, Japan


    photo by 663highland (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Kondoi Beach

    A beach that’s stuck in the past

    Kondoi Beach is a must-visit for travelers seeking a thorough mix of marine activities, culture and history. The beach is found on Taketomi Island, where you can still find locals living a more traditional way of Okinawa life, among ancient architecture. The narrow beach is flanked by vegetation, so you won’t feel uneasy as the waves lap towards you.

    The shallows are expansive, so you – and even your youngest traveling companions – can walk by the calm waves and translucent waters for quite a distance. You won’t find any diving or snorkeling options here, but that hardly detracts from Kondoi Beach’s appeal.

    Location: Taketomi, Yaeyama District, Okinawa 907-1101, Japan


    photo by ajari (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Yoshino Kaigan

    An excellent snorkelling site on Miyakojima

    Located at the eastern end of Miyakojima, Yoshino Kaigan is famous for its clear water and coral reefs. Once you step into the sea, you can see coral reefs everywhere. Visitors often say that they've never seen such beautiful coral reefs in shallow water and you'll typically encounter tropical fish as soon as you go into the sea. Miyakojima is said to have one of the largest populations and varieties of tropical fish. 

    You can enjoy bathing and surfing here, but it's best known as a snorkeling site. However, the waters are shallow, so it's best to avoid low tides and check the tide level in advance before visiting. Yoshino Kaigan is also one of Miyakojima's important spawning ground for sea turtles, so you'll have a very good chance of meeting sea turtles here during the spawning season from May to August.

    Location: 15-38 Aragusuku Gusukube, Miyakojima City, Okinawa Prefecture 906-0102, Japan

    Open: Hours vary by season


    Naminoue Beach

    Naminoue Beach is a short walk from Kokusai-dori (International Street), which is something of a hub for travelers and tourists. Naminoue Beach is one of the most accessible and enjoyable seaside destinations you're likely to find. There isn't a huge area for bathing, but there aren't many waves either, so children can swim here with nothing to worry about. 

    There are facilities such as hot showers and toilets too, and with its proximity to the city, its convenience is a key advantage. There are also activities such as snorkeling and diving, and there's a park around the beach where you can take a walk. This is a clean beach where you can relax, swim, read a book, or sunbathe. Whatever takes your fancy.

    Location: 1-25-11 Wakasa, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture 900-0031, Japan

    Open: Hours vary by season


    Chatan Sunset Beach

    As any beach-lover will tell you, sunset is the most magical time of the day. Chatan Sunset Beach, located on the west side of the island, is one of Okinawa's greatest sunset spots. The blue sea, the white sands, and the bright red sunset falling on the horizon are breathtakingly beautiful, producing unforgettable memories. 

    The waves are calm in the bathing beach area of the artificial bay, so children can swim in peace here. It's also possible to have a BBQ on the beach. And you don't need to bring your own equipment either, because everything you need (even foods to barbecue) is available right here. Locals and tourists love the fact that there are also shopping malls, restaurants, movie theaters, hot springs and other amusement facilities nearby.

    Location: 2 Mihama, Chatan Town, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0115, Japan

    Open: Hours vary by season

    Holly Riddle | Contributing Writer

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