My Tokyo Guide
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Updated: July 8, 2022
Tokyo bristles with skyscrapers and urban life, but there are some lesser-known beaches and resort-like pools that make for perfect destinations during the summer.
Tokyo is not known for its extensive beaches. For decent waves, serious surfers usually head out to Chiba, Kanagawa, or down to Izu. However, close to the city, you can enjoy beach volleyball or dip your toes in the water at Odaiba. Swimming is not permitted, but you can wade around and cool down. The sunsets over the water are beautiful. There's another beach at Kasai Kaihin Park, which offers swimming when the water quality is good, and has changing sheds. The nearby Kasai Rinkai Park is well equipped, with restaurants, an aquarium, and BBQ facilities.
They're not exactly close to the city, but Tokyo has its own chain of islands, offering beautiful, clean beaches and outdoor hot springs. Oshima Island is the closest, just under two hours by boat, with stunning geological formations. Surfers should head to Niijima for good waves, while the turquoise waters around Shikinejima are popular with scuba divers.
Oshima Island, the largest of Tokyo's islands, is dominated by the active volcano at its center, and a trip to the coast reveals geological marvels. The surrounding water is deep and clear, making it perfect for scuba diving or snorkeling. A peek under the surface reveals a colorful world of fish and plant life.
Habushi Beach, on Niijima Island's east side, boasts 6.5 kilometers of white sand. It's an internationally renowned surfing destination that attracts professionals from all over the globe. The island also offers boardsailing, fishing, and swimming. Explore its coast further, and you'll make a mysterious discovery: numerous carved stone heads.
Shikinejima Island is a kaleidoscope of color, with turquoise water, white sand, and green forested trails. Many of its seafront rock pools are actually hot springs, and the iron content of the rock turns some of them a rusty orange. The ocean view is as impressive underneath the water as it is above, making this a popular destination for scuba divers.
Tokyo's islands are spread out hundreds of kilometers into the Pacific, offering a huge variety of views and experiences. Click the links for more information on Izu and Ogasawara, and to find out how to visit the islands yourself.
Many Tokyo residents visit one of the city's major waterparks to cool off in the warmer months. These aquatic theme parks are truly impressive, with Tokyo Summerland and Yomiuriland's WAI being two of the best known.
This much-loved water park is vast in scale, with pools, rides, and its own 650-meter lazy river. There are attractions for everyone, with rollercoasters for thrill-seekers and gentle waterslides for kids.
Yomiuriland is a large-scale leisure facility with attractions and games for people of all ages. In summer, it's home to a water park called WAI, which recreates the crystal-clear water and palm trees of the South Pacific. On some evenings they open a night pool, where you can enjoy illuminations and a beer garden.
*Tattoos (including temporary tattoos) are not permitted at WAI, and people with tattoos will be refused entry. Those who are refused entry or ejected from the park will not receive a refund or compensation.
Many of Tokyo's major hotels open their pools to the public in summer, though the cost for non-guests can be high. The Hotel New Otani's pool (reservation required) is one of the most lavish, with DJs and illuminations at night for a sophisticated summer pool party. The ANA InterContinental Hotel Tokyo (located near Roppongi, Akasaka, and Tokyo Tower) offers a garden pool with a resort-like atmosphere in the heart of the city. The Grand Nikko Tokyo Daiba in Odaiba has a reservation-only terrace pool called the "Grand Blue" which offers beautiful views of Tokyo Bay by day and the Tokyo skyline by night. Check the hotel websites for opening times and fees. Be aware that tattoos are generally prohibited at public pools and baths.