Is there surfing in Japan? There are many best places to surf in Japan. The country has a long coastline with a variety of waves, making it a popular destination for surfers from all over the world. In addition to the waves, Japan also has a number of other attractions that make it a great place to visit, such as its vibrant culture, delicious food, and friendly people.
About Japan Surf Travel
The Tokugawa-era Japan of isolation, refinement, and oh-so-Japanese world was changed by the arrival of a squadron of ships under United States Navy Commander Matthew Perry in Tokyo Bay. They dropped anchor without permission. The American President demanded that they trade with Japan and establish diplomatic relations. Japanese people were amazed at the size and power of the "Black Ships." The Shogun, one of the dynasties of military rulers who had kept Japan from outside influence for almost 250 years, quickly realized that there was only one choice: Modernize a backward and weak country or risk war and foreign dominance of Japan.
Best Surf Seasons
Japan's best season for waves is in the summer. Summer rains have deposited gravel and rock sandbars along the river mouths. Typhoons are raging in the western Pacific. The temperatures have dropped, and morning offshores are now the norm. The "summer surfers," who are a horde, are gone on September 1. Waves are much less crowded. Long-period groundswells from Typhoons can reach all areas. The surfing can be excellent.
In November, the activity of typhoons slows down, and winter chill sets in with cold fronts that sweep across Siberia, along with the Sea of Japan. The surf conditions can be unpredictable with short-period windswells and the occasional late-season typhoon. Japanese surfers prefer winter travel to Australia's Gold Coast and Hawaii's North Shore.
The rainy season in Japan begins in early summer. Weak fronts settle over Honshu and other areas, bringing rain and grayness for several weeks. The conditions are very similar to those on America's east coast - hot, humid, and buggy, with lots of anticipation for the first Typhoons to form.
This is the most difficult season to surf in Japan. There's cold water at most spots and very little swell. The rainy season begins in the late spring and continues for weeks. Conditions are generally poor, except for some offshore islands, such as Niijima and Tokyo Prefecture. Directions to Best Surf in Japan: Narita Airport (NRT) and Kansai Osaka (KIX) are Japan's most popular international airports. China Airlines is the exception. They are the only airline that allows international passengers to Haneda Airport. This airport is normally reserved for domestic flights.
Best Places To Surf In Japan
1. Hokkaidō Prefecture, Hokkaidō Region
Hokkaido is Japan's northernmost prefecture. Although it is a well-known snowboarding area, there are still waves on the west coast of Japan facing the Sea of Japan. Hokkaido is more about snowboarding than surfing Japanese, with bitter water and cold temperatures in winter. It can get too cold for weekend warriors. It could also be an excellent option during summer because of the lack of local surfers. Be on the lookout for icebergs.
2. Miyagi Prefecture, Sendai
You are invited to this region, known for its powerful waves of world-class quality. Sendai is a place with a rich surfing history. The area is known for its spectacular surf breaks. You'll see overhead waves from most peaks. But if it's flat, there are always cities for some action. Winter days in the north can be very cold. You'll get those cold days and need a 5/4mm wetsuit or a dry suit.
3. Kamioka, Fukushima Prefecture, Tohoku
Fukushima's surfing community is small and scattered. You can expect privacy and a good time. There are many waves and breaks on the beaches of Kamioka that are consistent throughout each year. Although summer is the best season to surfing Japan, you can still get a onboard during winter. It's important to be covered in the right wetsuit, as it can get very cold.
4. Ibaraki Prefecture
This region is well-known for its small-wave beaches and wind turbines. You'll experience a lot of wind which can be dangerous for surfers. For instance, Onuki is a longboarder's paradise and a beginner's dream. However, if you are on a shortboard, you should travel along the coast to find hidden gems. You'll soon find the perfect waves at a reef break.
5. Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, Kanto
Kamogawa, located in Southern Chiba Prefecture, is one of Japan's most popular surfing spots due to its convenient location. Both native Japanese and foreign surfers want to experience the waves of Kamogawa at least once. For the best waves in Japan, make sure you visit Kamogawa during summer. Shonan and Kugenuma have the most spectacular breaks. Expect to see a lot of people getting pulled in! Surfing competitions at Tokyo Olympics are held at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach. It is approximately 50km north of Kamogawa (about an hour's drive).
6. Niijima Island, Tokyo Prefecture, Kantō Region
Niijimia has clean, clear water and waves. It is part of the Izu Islands volcanic group. It is known for its beautiful beaches and party-loving young Japanese tourists who visit the island in summer to have a great time. Do not make any mistakes. Niijima produces flawless barrels thanks to the offshore winds and good south swell. You can either take a ferry to the island or fly from Haneda Airport.
7. Kanagawa Prefecture
Kanagawa, located south of Chiba, is a popular surfing area. It combines urban life with wave riding opportunities. It is easy to access and offers small and consistent waves at Kugenuma and Shona. You can follow the Pacific Typhoon Season Calendar and make your way up the coast from August to October.
8. Shizuoka Prefecture
Can you surf in Tokyo? Shizuoka, a rural and laid-back surf area south of Tokyo surf spots, is called Shizuoka. Although smaller than Shonan's, it can produce better waves, particularly when typhoons are approaching the area. You will find many beaches, reefs, and river mouths to explore.
9. Wakayama Prefecture
Are you looking for a less-known spot to surf in Japan? Gobo is located in Wakayama. Gobo is a great place to learn how to Japan surfing. Summer is the best time to visit Gobo's beaches. Gobo has a variety of reef breaks that provide a great setting for mild waves.
10. Tokushima and Kochi Prefectures, Shikoku Region
Shikoku, Japan's fourth-largest island, is well-known for its relaxed vibes and big waves. Kochi, with its coastline facing southeast, is the main surf center of the island and offers many point breaks and beach breaks. The Kaifu river mouth, a regional star, should produce spectacular waves during the Typhoon season.
11. Aha Point, Okinawa Prefecture
Aha Point is a popular low-tide surfing spot that attracts many tourists to Okinawa annually. Although the waves at Aha Point may be small, it doesn't mean that you won't be able to catch large swells. Aha Point is a great place for those who love pushing the limits and improving their surfing skills. Aha Point might not be the most popular spot for novice surfers. Professional surfers will be ready to go in no time!
12. Tottori Prefecture, Chūgoku Region, Sea of Japan
The epicenter of winter storms is the Sea of Japan. It is, therefore, no surprise that it produces giant, cold waves. If you are into big wave surfing near Tokyo, Tottori is the place to be. Winter swells will pump some of Japan's largest barrels. Between December and April is the best time to surf this region. The stunning scenery and clean, clear waters are a delight.
13. Amami Oshima, Kagoshima
Bira Reef is an A-frame slab that breaks on a rock shelf and has an intense takeoff to the tube. It is the closest thing to Pipeline. 2022 Amami Oshima Island, Kagoshima Japan 奄美大島 (5min)
14. Chiba Wada, Ohara
It's a great beach break, which I frequent when traveling to Japan. It is where my family and friends surf, making it an amazing place.
15. Miyazaki, Southern Japan
Ichiyumi Point has a great wave. This reef break is fun with both rights and left depending on the swell. You will find it with only a few barrel sections and super rippable walls. This wave is also best if there are typhoons.
16. Nijima, Habushi Beach
Nijima, an Island off Tokyo, has powerful ocean power and crystal clear blue water that barrels over the sand.
17. Niinohama, Yamaguchi, Chugoku
The reputation of the Chugoku Region's Niinohama beach, which is not touristy, has been brought closer to the attention of surfers worldwide. This beach is renowned for its deep blue waters and moderate waves. From June to mid-August, the peak season is when locals enjoy swimming and surfing. Surfers can use public facilities like parking lots, shower stalls, and camping grounds to relax and rinse off after riding the waves.
18. Gobo, Wakayama, Kansai
Are you looking for a less-known spot to surf in Japan? Gobo is located in Wakayama. Gobo is a great place to learn how to surf in Japan. Summer is the best time to visit Gobo's beaches. Gobo has a variety of reef breaks that provide a great setting for mild waves.
19. Atsumi Peninsula, Aichi, Chubu
The Atsumi Peninsula is located in Chubu's Aichi Prefecture. Many surfers enjoy the summer months. Local surfing contests are held at Akabane Beach every so often because of the decent waves.
20. Uchiura Bay, Hokkaido
Hokkaido is Japan's second-largest island. Surfers flock to the area during summer from August through November. This is when typhoons create large surfable waves just before or after storms hit the ground. Hokkaido's Uchiura Bay is home to the most famous and peaceful surfing spot, with its tranquil vibe. Uchiura Bay, Hokkaido, Japan. 4K GoPro video.
Choosing the Right Gear to Surf in Japan
You would know by now that the weather, surf locations, and types of breaks vary greatly depending on the time of the year and where you are in Japan. Bad surf gear can make a great surfing experience a miserable one.
1. What Surfboard Do You Need in Japan?
Each person will have to answer this question, but a general rule is to bring a good all-around surfing board. A shortboard is ideal if you plan to go for steeper swells. You will likely encounter small waves that are best suited to your needs. It is a good idea to rent a larger board for your needs. You will find many places to rent a board around Japan's best surf breaks.
2. What Kind of Wetsuit Do You Need in Japan?
Again, it is up to you to decide. If you are prone to getting cold easily, pack your gear before boarding a plane. It will also depend on where you surf during your stay in Japan. Here is a general guideline for Japan's wetsuit thickness:
- April through July: 3/2 full-length suits
- August through September: You can wear boardshorts, rash vests, or a thin 1 to 2 mm wetsuit.
- October through November: Full-length 3/2 wetsuit.
- December through March: 4/3 full-length, with booties and possibly gloves.
Essential Local Tips Before Surfing in Japan
Acquire the Best Training with an English-speaking Instructor
Before you can ride the waves, beginners must do this. Surfing is not for beginners. You will need to put in a lot of effort before conquering your first wave. You can find many spots in Japan that offer mild waves. There are many surf schools and centers in the most popular areas. These schools offer active lessons that are perfect for beginners. Language barriers are something that many travelers might encounter. A good guide is essential if you are from an English-speaking nation. Okinawa Surfing Experience is the place to go if you want that kind of guidance.
Watch out for the Storms
We all know that Japan doesn't enjoy the favor of Mother Nature. Natural disasters are a regular occurrence in Japan. It is important to verify the weather forecast for the best times to surf in your region. To keep an eye out for tropical storms, you can check Surf Forecast or the TV nightly news. This is everything you need to know about surfing in Japanese. Japan is a paradise for everyone, no matter your level of experience.
Thanks for reading! In this article, Tavid will be discussing the best surfing in Japan. We'll consider factors such as wave quality, accessibility, and beginner friendliness. After doing some research, it seems that the best place to surf in Japan is Okinawa. Thanks for reading!