Surfing in Japan

by Guest

There are endless options to take up some incredible surfing action around the world. And while the United States and Australia seem to take precedence in terms of boasting some of the best surfing destinations in the world, one other country appears to be making some pretty significant strides in offering some top surfing spots as well! Japan is home to over 1,864 miles of incredible coastline which provides way more than a few unbeatable locations to catch some expansive wave action. Due mainly to the fact that the swell of the Pacific ocean to the east along with the tropical climate of the islands to the southern region, surfers have quickly come to find that awesome surfing conditions can be found all year round in Japan. If you are planning a trip to Japan and are ready to hit the waves, here are some of the top spots to find some of the best surfing spots that Japan has to offer to those who flock to the area.

Kanto Area

If you are planning on traveling to and around the Tokyo area, the best spot to find some well-worthy surf is found in Shonan and Chiba. Located just a bit south of Chiba, is where you will find Shonan. Shonan is a great spot to spend your day due to the fact that it is so close to the city, you will find yourself in no way at a loss for things to do when it comes to taking a break from the water. The area is nicely accessible, which means that the area is truly a hot spot for surfing and really draws in some big numbers. While the surf at Shonan is made up of mainly beach breaks, if you are seeking a bit more action you may want to head over to Chiba, which is a bit larger in size overall.

surfing in japan

Photo by Uda

One of the best options you may want to consider, is to plan a day long surf trip, where you will start your day at Enoshima Beach and end your day in the city of Kamakura. If you are looking to venture outside of the Kanto area for some surfing action, you may want to hit up Shizuoka City, which is about a 2 ½ hour drive out of Tokyo. And yet another option in the Kanto area, is to drive south down the peninsula of Izu over to Shirahama, which is a gorgeous beach location that is super popular and often crowded spot. Peak conditions for surfing these areas in Kanto are typically between August and October, when the typhoons hit the area.

Related read: Other costs and prices in Japan

Shikoku Island

Often considered by many people to be one of the top spots to surf in all of Japan is the island of Shikoku. Primely situated in the southwestern region of Japan, Shikoku is widely regarded for its prime beach conditions, surfing communities and super easy, convenient beach access. Tokushima and Kochi both are home to some of the best swells in the area and average roughly twenty swells each season. The top time of year to plan your surfing visit to Shikoku Island is between the months of June and November.

Related: Best Onsens in Kyo

surfing in japan okinawa

Photo by Takatoshi

Okinawa and the Islands

The tropical chain of islands located in the southern region of Japan is highly regarded for having some of the finest weather and prime surfing conditions in all of Japan. Boasting a gorgeous  beaches and an astounding subtropical climate, means that Okinawa and the surrounding islands can be enjoyably surfed year round, even in the middle of winter. The best and quickest way to take in some of the best surfing action is to begin your trip on the main island, Naha, and then just branch out from there to see where your surfing travels lead you. You may want to ask around with the locals to determine which spots are the prime ones to visit. And always plan accordingly as some of the areas have some pretty sharp coral reefs, as well as unexpected tropical storms, both of which can prove detrimental to a beginner or novice surfer.  

Japan related article: The Best Places to Have Sushi in Kyoto


If you are planning on staying in or around the city of Osaka, you are most definitely going to want to take some of the surfing action that can be found at the beaches that are scattered along the coast of Wakayama prefecture. One of the most popular beaches in the area is that of Isonoura. Isonoura can be found located roughly an hour’s drive from Osaka, and the beach itself attracts countless amounts of surfers from all over the region of Kansai and can all too often become super crowded at various times. If you are seeking to avoid the crowds and also have the time, and a car, you may want to just keep on venturing down the coastline of Wakayama where you will be able to find dozens more incredible beaches that offer some prime surfing conditions, but with way less people that you will have to share the waves with!

Also read about: Where to stay

surfing in japan

Photo by Uda

The Japan Sea

If you are a hardcore surfer who is ready to hit the waves, regardless of time of year, you may want to take advantage of getting some surf time in the Japan Sea. The Japan Sea is famous for its classic barrels throughout the winter months. Cold yes, but extremely well worth it for the avid surfer who does not mind taking in a bit of some chilly action. As the storms of winter pass through the Japan Sea, surfers are able to take advantage of some pretty epic waves for those who are willing to put up with the cold. The area can be surfed in summer, but usually on a really good day and the swell is more often than not pretty small. However, the pristine water backed by the incredible scenery of the area still makes this area a worthwhile visit to check out, even if there aren’t any waves. With keeping all of that in mind, the best months to surf are between December and April.

Regardless of the time of year that you are planning to book your travels to Japan, you can be sure to find a really great spot to be able to enjoy some surfing action. Be sure to reach out and ask the locals for some top areas that they recommend checking out, you may even be able to find yourself your own hidden surfing gem!

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