One lake and nine beaches to add to your summer swimming bucket list!

Japan might not be known for having white sand beaches with crystal clear, blue waters–aside from the tropical paradise that is Okinawa, of course–but it does have a number of very nice places to swim. And just in time for the hottest weather this summer, the Ministry of the Environment just released a list of the swimming spots in Japan that have the best quality water–because no one wants to swim in murky, dirty depths, right?

Out of 756 spots tested, the Ministry was able to select a top 10 across Japan, and not only were ocean spots selected, but also a lake beach. Lake Tazawa in the northern Akita Prefecture was the only lake beach to make the top 10 list, but its bright blue, crystal clear waters have rightfully earned their place as a great swimming spot as well as a beautiful natural area. It’s a place everyone should have on their Japan travel bucket list.

Of course, when it comes to ocean beaches in Japan, as mentioned, you really can’t beat the island prefecture of Okinawa, whose coasts are known for their bright blue waters and white sand beaches. Two of their swimming spots made the list: Ikei Beach on Ikei, an island to the east of Okinawa, and Zanpa Beach on the western coast of the main island.

▼ Ikei Beach


Most impressively, the Shizuoka City of Numazu had four of its six beaches make the top 10. Numazu is known as a beach and port town, so it’s not really surprising that some of their beaches would make the list, but to have four of the 10 beaches with the cleanest water in the country is pretty amazing! The first is La La La Sun Beach on the southern side of the cape, where on a good day you can see Mt. Fuji across the water. It’s a relatively new manmade beach and a great place to bring children, since an embankment makes it wide and shallow and keeps the waves gentle. You can also scavenge for shellfish there!

The other spots in Numazu include Senbonhama in the center of the city; Togo, which is just a few miles down the coast from Senbonhama; and Ose, which is on the very far southwestern tip of the bay, looking across the water to the city proper. Ose, pictured below, also has a view of Mt. Fuji in good weather, and it’s known as a popular spot for diving.

Unexpectedly, Tokyo managed to get three of its beaches into the top 10. Unfortunately, they’re all on remote islands that are distant from the city itself but part of the municipality nonetheless, like Kobohama, which is on the somewhat remote island of Oshima (which also happens to have a desert). The other two “Tokyo” beaches were Honson-Maehama on Niijima Island, and Okubohama on Miyake Island, which are both farther south than Oshima.

▼ Okubohama Beach

Sadly, none of the more accessible beaches in the city, like Odaiba Beach, are known for having very good water quality, so they wouldn’t have made the list. But there are lots of places around the Tokyo area that are worth visiting, like Zushi Beach, so don’t despair if you’re in the big city and looking for a day of summer fun in the ocean!

Source, images: PR Times
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