Hayama’s Isshiki Beach


2018.10.25

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Hayama, a seaside town down on the Shonan coast about 65km south of Tokyo, is the smaller, less on the tourist-radar neighbor of nearby Zushi. Though crowds flock to Hayama’s shores in the summer months, the town’s slight isolation (it lacks a train station of its own, but is accessible via buses from Zushi) makes it a little more relaxed come high season than the frenetic, Roppongi-by-the-sea vibe of its larger neighbor.

  • This compact town boasts two main beaches, Isshiki Beach and Morito Beach. The latter is popular for its dramatic rock formations and sacred Shinto shrine, while the smoother shores and golden sands of Isshiki are recommended for those in less of a sightseeing, more of a laid-back drinking and soaking-up the rays mood. It’s easy to cover both beaches though, taking in Morito’s charms and then walking roughly 30 mins south to Isshiki. Either stroll along the shore directly (though rocky in places, the walk is never too challenging) or follow highway Route 207, which hugs the coastline and takes you past Hayama’s Museum of Modern Art.

    Morito Beach
    place
    Kanagawa Pref. Miuragunhayamamachi Horiuchi
    Morito Beach
    place
    Kanagawa Pref. Miuragunhayamamachi Horiuchi
  • Isshiki Beach makes for a picturesque walk in any season, thanks especially to the weathered torii (the red gateway always present at the entrance to a Shinto shrine) that here sits atop a rock formation jutting out into the sea: youngsters especially love clambering out onto this. Fall makes a stroll around here a contemplative, soulful kind of pursuit.

  • It’s in summer though that Isshiki Beach truly comes alive. Each year, early July sees workmen appear on the sands to quickly construct a series of large huts (umi-no-ie; beach houses as the Japanese call them) that through to the end of August serve as cafes, bars, and live music venues. Many also have shower and changing facilities, and rent out sun loungers, parasols, body beach balls, inflatable swim rings and other items. Several also offer surfboard and SUP (standup paddleboard) hire. Japanese university students on summer break make up a large proportion of the beach house crowd, and it can be entertaining to watch the guys practice their pick-up skills (often very unsuccessfully!) on their female counterparts.

  • Isshiki’s beach houses range from down-home, rootsy affairs at which you might find the crowd lapping up lilting Bob Marley cover songs, to the more upscale, designer-style The Sail Hus. Affiliated with sportswear brand Helly Hansen, The Sail Hus is a recent arrival on the Isshiki scene and houses an expansive wood-decked lounge, canopy covered and boasting direct views out over the ocean, that specializes in seafood freshly cooked with locally-caught ingredients. Also on offer is an eclectic selection of dishes from around the globe, including Jamaican jerk chicken and a Chilean beans spam ball, together with craft beers and cocktails.

  • Isshiki’s best-known beach house is Blue Moon. Alongside the standard food, drinks and music, this long-running favorite also houses a spa offering organic aromatherapy, foot massages and other relaxing and rejuvenating services.

    BlueMoon
    place
    Kanagawa Miura-gun Hayamamachi Isshiki
    phone
    0468761797
  • Just behind the beach meanwhile lies Hayama Shiosai Park. Once the imperial family’s second residence, this park is nowadays home to a tranquil Japanese garden and a marine life museum. Be sure to head back down onto the beach for sundown though: Isshiki Beach sunsets can be spectacular, with a silhouetted Mt. Fuji often part of the scenery.

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