Please be careful if swimming at a non-designated swimming beach as the undertow can be very strong.
Look at our Yakushima maps page to see where the beaches below are located.
Isso is perhaps the safest swimming beach on the island. This lovely sandy beach is well equipped with changing rooms, toilets and shower facilities. From mid-July to August – the official beach open season – there is a lifeguard patrol and foodstalls. The best thing about Isso is that it is situated on one side of a small peninsula and on the other side of the peninsula (a 2 minute walk through the carpark) on the rocky shore is one of the best diving and snorkelling spots on the island.
If you end up in Miyanoura with time to kill then this small beach is worth checking out. Heading south out of Miyanoura go over the river and then take a left just after the Primary School. Follow this road and you'll come to a small, sheltered sandy beach and a park with toilet facilities and a small shower. It's not the best beach on the island, but it is certainly convenient if you are staying in Miyanoura.
Situated halfway between the airport and Anbo this beach is famous for it's interesting rock formations that were formed tens of thousands of years ago. The tourist sign says 'Pillow-like' rock formations, but don't expect anything soft and fluffy. Follow the road down through the forest and park at the bottom.
There are 2 signposted paths: one will take you to the Tashiro beach: a long sandy beach with views of Tanegashima. Surfers occasionally visit this side of the beach, but this is not a swimming spot. Paddling is fine and there are lots of interesting rocks to climb over and explore. The other path takes you to the 'pillow-shaped lava field' and a rocky beach. This is where you can swim, snorkel and play in the river. As it is very rocky you will need foot protection.
There are also warning signs not to let children swim alone as the current can be strong. There is parking, but no shower or toilet facilities. On foot it's a 15 to 20 minute walk down to the beach from the main road.
Haruta hama is situated a couple of kilometres south of Anbo Town. Heading south then take a left after crossing the bridge over the Anbo River. At Haruta hama you can find a half natural, half man-made swimming pool that you share with some marine life, including a very sweet clown fish if you can find him. It's sheltered and safe for kids to play in and there are also showers, toilets and a lifeguard over the summer holidays. Bring your goggles or a snorkel and you can see some beautiful sea life, particularly at low tide when you can explore the tidal pools on the rocky shore. Please bring footwear as the rocks around the tidal pools are very sharp and jagged.
The landscape past the pool is also worth exploring as interesting rock formations spring up from a grassy heath that is punctured by mysterious pools. There is also a small river near the car park that is perfect for very young children to paddle in safely.
Kurio has two beaches that you can visit and swim. Kurio hama is a lovely sandy, sheltered bathing spot situated in the village of Kurio. Look out for some interesting boat houses and turn left just after them. This beach is an important nesting point for sea turtles so some areas above the high-tide line are cordoned off to protect the nesting sites. There are toilets, a shelter and a re-charging station for electric cars in the car park.
The second swimming area in Kurio is the Tzukazaki Tide Pool. This is just over the river on the way out of Kurio. Take a left when you see the campsite sign and follow the road down to the shore where there is parking. On the left side are the beautiful transparent waters of Kurio River. Walk down the path to the right and you'll come to a small sandy and rocky beach which is one of the best diving and snorkelling spots on the island. Walk around the small headland between the river and the beach and you'll find rocks to clamber over and interesting tidal pools to explore. There are basic shower facilities and a couple of shelters with bench seating.
This long beach of golden granite sand in the north west of Yakushima is one of the island's most beautiful beaches. Unfortunately, it is not a designated swimming beach due to its sudden depth and fast current. There is no lifeguards so you swim at your own risk.
Inakahama and its neighbouring beach Maehama are not only popular with sightseers, they are also the largest nesting ground for loggerhead sea turtles in the Asia Pacific region and an important nesting ground for green sea turtles. The turtle nesting season spans from May to August with a peak of over 40 nesting females visiting the beach per night. Baby turtles usually hatch between July and October. Due to its special status as a vital habitat for endangered species, the beaches of Nagata are on the Ramsar list of protected wetlands. Volunteers keep the beach clean and protect the nesting sites. Please help them by staying away from the nesting areas and taking your litter home with you. Find out more about the sea turtles that visit Yakushima.