30 July, 2011

Summer Events and Traditions: Beach

  You can’t talk about summer time in Hyogo without talking about the beaches! Hyogo is one of the rare prefectures in Japan that faces the Sea of Japan in the north, and the Seto Inland Sea in the south. There are many beaches suited for swimming, and many people visit from surrounding prefectures as well. In today’s blog, we’re going to introduce some of the popular beaches in Hyogo, as well as the beach culture in Japan.

  Beaches around Hyogo are very calm, and are perfectly suited for swimming. Many of the beaches have very clear water, so diving and snorkeling are some popular activities. The beaches facing the Sea of Japan in the northern part of Hyogo are especially famous for diving. Towards the south, facing the Seto Inland Sea, beaches have great access and are famous for yachting and windsurfing. 

After swimming, taking a break at an umi-no-ie (beach house) is a must. Eating fried noodles, shaved ice, and other delicious snacks at an umi-no-ie is part of the fun of going to the beach in Japan.

Another popular activity at the beach is suika-wari, or watermelon splitting. The game is to place a watermelon on the beach, a person with a stick is blindfolded, and tries to crack the watermelon by following the voices from the spectators. It’s very similar to the game of piñata, popular in the countries like the U.S and Mexico.

  Hyogo is usually known for its history and architecture, but there are many ways to enjoy the beautiful nature that this prefecture has to offer.

  In the next issue, we’re going to focus on summer festivals and Ennichi. Ennichi is a popular summer event where both kids and adults can have a great time. See you next time!

Popular Beaches around Hyogo

Suma Beach Park
It’s one of the most popular beaches in the Kansai region. Popular with the younger generation, this beach is always busy and has a lively atmosphere.
Open: July 7 (Thurs)-August 31 (Wed)
Access: Get off at either JR or Sanyo Suma Station and head south

Matogata Beach Park
With calm waves and about 100 meters of shallow water from the shoreline, this beach is very popular with families. You can enjoy the popular shellfish dishes nearby.
Open: July 1 (Fri)-August 31 (Wed)
Access: Get off at Sanyo Matogata Station. Walk 15 minutes or catch the free bus from Sanyo Oshio Station by making a reservation.
TEL: 079-254-1964

Takenohama Beach Park
Over 300,000 people visit this popular beach on the San’in Coast. The water is clear and blue, stays relatively shallow, and there is more than 1km of beaches. It was selected for one of the 100 best beaches in Japan.
Open: July 1 (Fri)-Late August
Access: Get of at JR Takeno Station, and catch the bus headed for Takenohama Beach (about 5 minutes). Get off at Takano-Jinja Station.

Shark (Hyogo Tourism Association)