Surfing in Japan may not be the first place that pops into your mind when it comes to surfing the best waves in the world. Yet that’s all about to change! The Pacific Ocean embracing Japan’s Eastern Coast makes the land of the rising sun a legitimate surfing hotspot.
With its debut appearance in Tokyo’s 2021 Olympics, the world’s best surfers will battle it out on the Pacific coastline. If you’re a surfer, check out our definitive guide below! We will reveal the best areas to surf in Japan and provide the latest updates about Tokyo Olympics 2021.
Surfing to Make Debut in Tokyo Olympics 2021
A history in the making, the inclusion of surfing in the Tokyo Olympics aims to bring a new and vibrant competition to the event. Unlike most of the sports taking place in Tokyo, surfing will take place on the stunning beach of Tsurigasaki, East of the capital.
Commonly known as the “Wave Riding Dojo”, Tsurigasaki is emerging as one of the top choices worldwide for surfing enthusiasts. Visitors to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics’ surfing contest will witness 20 men and 20 women conquering the waves using short boards.
The game is expected to welcome a massive ovation as athletes raise the stakes and dominate the changing ocean conditions. Tensions brought upon by the pandemic have forced the Olympics to be officially rescheduled. The event will commence from July 23 to August 08, 2021.
8 Top-rated Spots to Go Surfing in Japan from North to South
Uchiura Bay – Hokkaido
Summertime from August to November attracts a large number of surfers visiting Hokkaido, Japan’s second largest island. This season is when typhoons generate large surfable swells just before or after the storms hit the ground. The best surfing highlight of Hokkaido is the Uchiura Bay with its famous tranquil beach vibe.
Kamioka, Fukushima – Tohoku
The surfing community in Fukushima is thinly dispersed, so you can expect to enjoy your time with a decent sense of privacy. The beaches of Kamioka are home to plenty of breaks and waves which are consistent throughout the year. Even though summer is the best time to hit the waves, it doesn’t mean you can’t get on board during winter. Just make sure you’re covered with the appropriate wetsuit as the weather will definitely get chilly.
Kamogawa, Chiba – Kanto
Located in Southern Chiba Prefecture, Kamogawa is one of the most talked-about sites to go surfing in Japan thanks to its accessible location. Without a doubt, both native Japanese and foreign surfers crave to hit the waves at Kamogawa at least once in their lifetime. Make sure to come over during the summer months for the best swells. Shonan and Kugenuma are the two most outstanding breaks, so expect to see lots from the crowd getting pulled in!
Surfing competitions at Tokyo Olympics will be held at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach, which is located about 50 km north of Kamogawa (1 hour drive away).
Atsumi Peninsula, Aichi – Chubu
Situated in the Aichi Prefecture of Chubu, there’s no place better to get amped up than the Atsumi Peninsula. The summer months captivates numerous surfers across the country. Thanks to its decent waves, local surfing contests are held every now and then, especially at the Akabane beach.
Gobo, Wakayama – Kansai
Looking for a lesser-known surf spot in Japan to avoid the crowds? Head over to Gobo in Wakayama! Since the waves are not too aggressive, Gobo is the perfect place for beginners to try out surfing in Japan. The ideal time to hit the beach in Gobo is during summer. Gobo is home to a wide range of reef breaks, an excellent setting for mild waves to show up.
Niinohama, Yamaguchi – Chugoku
Niinohama ‘s non-touristy beach has brought the reputation of the Chugoku region closer to the eyes of surfers worldwide. This is one of the finest beaches in Japan with deep blue sea and moderate waves. The peak season runs from June to mid-August, where local visitors enjoy swimming and surfing. Public facilities such as shower stalls, parking lots, and camping grounds are available for surfers to rinse off and relax after riding the waves.
Kaifu River Mouth, Kochi – Shikoku
Kaifu is one of the most sought-after surfing spots in Kochi with an extensive range of points, river mouths, and beach breaks. Amongst these areas, the abrasive river mouths are the best choice to go off before the typhoon season comes. Make sure you don’t miss the cranking waves at Kaifu when visiting Japan!
Aha Point – Okinawa
As a major low-tide surf spot, Aha Point attracts a huge number of visitors to Okinawa every summer. They say the swells at Aha Point are relatively small, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catch sizable swells. Those who like to throw down the gauntlet to challenge themselves and level up the surfing game may find Aha Point an irresistible place. This means that Aha Point may not be the best place for the kooks. The professional surfers will be ready to take off in a heartbeat!
Essential Local’s Tips Before Surfing in Japan
Acquire the Best Training with an English-speaking Instructor
This is extremely crucial to beginners before riding the waves for real. Surfing is no joke to beginners, and you have to shed some effort before successfully conquering your first wave. There are plenty of spots in Japan with mild waves to start off. In the most popular spots, there’s a wide variety of surf centers and schools. They’re offering active lessons perfectly suitable for preparing newbies.
One thing that many travelers may come across is the language barrier. If you’re from an English-speaking country, getting proper guidance from an instructor who speaks English is a must. If that’s what you’re looking for, check out Okinawa Surfing Experience to get the basics of standing up or polishing your skills under close guidance.
Watch out for the Storms
We all know that Japan isn’t much favored by Mother Nature. Natural disasters have been such a common scene that sweeps through the country every now and then. Therefore, it’s crucial to check with the weather forecast to see if it is the best time to surf in your area! You can either go to Surf Forecast or the nightly news on TV to watch out for any tropical storms.
Here is all you need to know before surfing in Japan! No matter if you’re a beginner or a professional, Japan has everything it takes to be a paradise on Earth.