JAPANESE BEACH CULTURE By TID, Summer 2010 update
When you think of the beach, what are some of the things that come to mind? For me, growing up in Hawai'i, I immediately think of the sun, the surf, BBQs, and snorkeling. But in Japan, things are always a bit different.
I asked my fellow TID members and the people in Hyogo Tourism Association the same question, most of them answered umi-no-ie. Literal translation means beach house. Found in every beach park, it's a must-visit when you go to the beach in Japan. It's usually a small house built right on the beach that offers food, lockers, showers, and other useful services. It's nothing fancy, but eveyone said they'll always go to the beach house to grab a quick bite or take a break from the sun. The most popular menu at beach house is yakisoba, or stir-fried noodles, so if you ever get a chance to go to the beach in Japan, stop by, sit on the tatami, order yakisoba and a beer, and enjoy the Japanese beach scene.
The second most popular answer I got was suika-wari. Suika means watermelon and wari means to crack. Can you guess this activity? It's a game where a person with a bat is blindfolded and gets spun around a few times. Then, he is guided by the audiences' calls towards the defenseless watermelon and gets a shot at cracking the watermelon open. Everyone gets one swing, and whoever cracks it open wins. Kind of like a pinata, if you're familiar with the game. Watermelons are the most popular summer fruit in Japan.
If you go down to the beach at night, you're likely to see groups of people playing
with fireworks. In Japan, playing with fireworks are one of the popular activities, and many
people go down to the beach for it. Colorful fireworks stand out beautifully on the dark beach,
and with plenty of room to spare, the beach offers a perfect place for families and friends to
enjoy this traditional summer time activity. Just don't forget to take home the trash!
Because of the number of people visiting the beach in Japan, littering is a major problem
at every beach.
Going to the beach in Japan might not be the same as going to the beach at home, but Japan offers different ways of enjoying it. With the humidity of Japanese summer, I don't see why more people don't go to the beach. I can't wait to hit the beach and spend the day in the sun! Besides, how can you possibly go wrong with some Yakisoba and watermelon?
-Beach Parks in Hyogo Prefecture-
Kobe Area [Suma Beach Park]
Suma Beach Park is one of the most popular beach parks in Kansai region. It attracts many
visitors of all ages because of its easy access. The colorful Beach houses that line the 2 km
beach are great places to relax and grab a quick bite.
|Open:||Early July to Mid August|
|Access:||A short walk south from JR Suma Station.|
|Contact:||Kobe City Information Center TEL: 078-322-0220|
West Harima Area [Matogata Beach Park]
Calm and shallow water that extends out for 100 meters make this beach a popular destination for many families.
|Open:||July 1 - August 31|
|Access:||15 minute walk from JR Matogata Station|
|Contact:||Matogata Beach Park Tourism Union TEL: 079-254-1964|
Tajima Area [Takeno Beach Park]
Every year, more than 300,000 people visit this most popular beach on the San'in Coast.
This beach was chosen as one of the top 100 best beaches in Japan for its beautiful scenery
and clear blue water.
|Open:||July 1 -August 31|
|Access:||Get off at JR Takeno Station, then 5 minutes on the bus for Takenohama.|
|Contact:||Takeno Tourism Association TEL: 0796-47-1080|
Awaji Area [Shingoshikihama Sun Beach]
Famous for its beach made up of multi-colored sand (goshiki means 5 colored in Japanese and hama means beach), it is a popular family destination during the beach season.
|Open:||July 18 - August 16|
|Location:||Torikaiura, Goshiki-cho, Sumoto-shi|
|Access:||Catch the bus from the Sumoto Bus Terminal and get off at Torikaiura or catch the bus for Aspa Goshiki from Iwaya Port and get off at Takahashi.|
|Contact:||Sumoto Tourism Industry Section TEL: 0799-22-3321|