The Best Place to Surf in Japan

The Best Place to Surf in Japan

Today, we are exploring the coastal city of Shima!

Shima is the peninsula on the easternmost part of Mie and it’s known for its untouched natural beauty and limitless coastline. Shima is surrounded by 3 bodies of water and I was super excited to explore each area.

I’ll be starting the day by surfing on the Pacific Ocean, then driving up to the tip of the Matoya Bay, and finishing off with an iconic view of the Ago Bay, somewhere that’s been on my bucket list for a long time.

Let’s go!

The Best place to Surf in Japan

The Best place to Surf in Japan
We start our Shima adventures at Koushirahama beach, one of the most popular surf spots in Japan due to its calm winds, shallow waters, and moderate waves. Koushirahama is located on the eastern side of Shima, facing the Pacific Ocean, and stretches out for a whole kilometer.

Due to its mild conditions, Koushirahama is also one of the best places to learn surfing as well so I’m quite excited since this happened to be my first time.

We headed over to Surf Playa, a California style surf shop, to meet up with the instructor. The appearance of this building reminded me of the shops near the beaches in California. Here, we dropped off our stuff, got in the wetsuit, and walked over to the beach.

During the walk, I asked the instructor why he named his shop Surf Playa (translates to Surf Beach in Spanish). He said that he often visits his son in Mexico, who moved there to take surfing to the next level (and he just likes Mexico in general).

Throughout our conversation, I could tell he has a strong passion for surfing, which got me even more excited. We climbed the final stairs to the beach and there it was: Koushirahama beach.

White sands, perfect weather, and tons of people surfing at this spacious, half-moon beach made this a view I would never forget.

Surf’s Up!

We put down the surfboard to start off with some stretches.

Meanwhile, the instructor started to explain the basics of surfing: how to look for a good wave, the form, and finally riding the wave. We went through the motions on sand to get some practice and then took it to the waters.


For the first few waves, I was told to ride the wave while remaining flat on the board. This was to learn to get used to the timing of the wave and the feeling of riding the wave. It was easy to ride the wave with the instructor’s assistance, but once I tried it on my own, the timing was quite challenging.

The weather today was a bit too perfect and the waves were really mild, so I had a hard time distinguishing which waves were strong enough to ride to the end and which ones would die out halfway.


After getting a couple runs in, the instructor allowed me to finally practice standing up. I was excited since this was what I imagined surfing looked like, but during my first few rounds, I completely ate it.

When going through the motion on sand earlier, I felt like I had it down but doing it during a ride was completely different. The board is much more unstable so I had to really think about my weight distribution and, at the same time, do it in an instant.

Throughout this whole time, the instructor was really great at explaining what I did well and what I could improve on. His feedback is really what allowed me to make good progress and have fun at the same time.



After a few rounds of trial and feedback from the instructor, I was finally able to stand up and completely ride the wave to the shore.

Such a satisfying moment!

Kounohama beach has calm waves and is ideal for beginners

Local Specialty of Shima

Local Specialty of Shima
We all know that water sports burn a lot of calories and I was definitely starving.

After spending all morning at the beach, we decided to get lunch at a local spot called[
「 Kinsei Ramen」. They’re known for their sesame flavored tantan-men and every local we met had recommended this place.

From the first bite, you could taste the overwhelming sesame mixed with some spicy ramen flavor. Overall, it was really delicious and moderately heavy, a perfect meal after doing some physical activity.

The Tip of Shima

The Tip of Shima
After surfing, it was time to do some sightseeing!

We drove all the way to the northeastern tip of Shima to the Anorisaki Lighthouse, located right at the mouth of the Matoya Bay.

Once we arrived, there was a wide lawn area and a cafe situated near the border, facing the bay. We decided to visit the lighthouse first, so we continued across the lawn and made our way in.

We walked to the entrance and in front of us was a tall white tower with beautiful coastal views surrounding us. There was an opening to a staircase, which took us to the top of the lighthouse, where you have a 360 view of the area.

It was a beautiful summer day and the view was filled with greens from the plants, browns from the rocks, and blues from the ocean and sky. Right across the bay was Osatsucho, a small town which I happened to have visited roughly 3 days earlier.




After visiting the lighthouse, we took a break at the cafe and freshened up with some delicious desserts. The cafe had wide open windows and with today’s perfect weather, you can enjoy the view everywhere you look.



At the Uedashoten cafe, traditional dried potatoes "Kinko potato / Ginko potato"
You can enjoy "potato parfait" and "potato honey mousse pudding" along with the scenery.

" Kabuku Resort"

 " Kabuku Resort"
On the way, we stopped at the Kabuku Resort, located in Strawberry Beach (as it is commonly called). Very impressive Kabuki paintings! I was intrigued by this integrated resort with glamping, barbecue, cafe, etc. You can enjoy both the ocean in front and nature behind.

View of the 64 Islands

View of the 64 Islands
My day in Shima ended with one last stop at one of the most iconic spots of Mie: The Yokoyama Observatory Deck.

We arrived at the parking lot and there was an extra 15 minutes worth of stairs before reaching the observation deck. After a long day, this was one tough set of stairs, but once I reached the top, it all felt worth it.

To my right was a 2 story building, which appeared to be a cafe. As I look to the left, I could see the open sky, a wide open wooden terrace, and past the terrace was the iconic view, exactly how I’ve seen it in photos.

To say the view was breathtaking was an understatement. It was incredibly beautiful and truly felt unreal to be here. To this day, the image of the bay from the terrace has not faded one bit.

Past the cafe there was an actual hiking route and i decided to check it out. Along this hike, there were more viewpoints along this way, a bit less crowded but just as beautiful as from the terrace.

After taking loads of pictures of the bay, I felt slightly satisfied, so it was finally time to call it a day.

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