Japanese surfing: a comprehensive guide

Olympic stir

Every year, surfing becomes more and more popular in Japan. There are many options for daring international surfers because to the region’s four major islands, which are incredibly diverse, and its innumerable smaller islands of various sizes and shapes.

Japan provides something special for everyone, regardless of skill level or board style. There are some world-class waves on this island nation.

Surfing hotspots

Shikoku Island, which is underappreciated, has excellent surfing conditions from June to November. 

It has some of the best river mouth waves in the world as well as stunning scenery that are largely unexplored by tourists from other countries. You should visit the beaches of Miyazaki Prefecture in the southern island of Kyushu. 

One of the highlights of the area is the 90-kilometer-long Nichinan Coast, which features sea stacks up to 70 meters tall. 

The rippable walls and typhoon swells at Uchiumi Point may make it the best surfing spot in all of Japan. Isonoura Beach in Wakayama Prefecture is located in the Kansai area of Honshu, the main island. 

Surfers from all around Kansai visit this beach, especially during the long summer months.

With its Olympic debut, surfing’s popularity is expected to rise.

Causing an Olympic stir

In Tokyo 2020, surfing had its Olympic debut, and improvements are being made to the facilities for athletes. Due of its well-known waves and simplicity of access from 

Tokyo, Shidashita Beach in Chiba Prefecture was selected as the contest location. The beach also has a clubhouse and public changing rooms. 

The neighborhood is actively involved in the surfing scene and is currently preparing to welcome visitors from outside the area.

Other well-known beaches in Chiba include Ichinomiya, which is well-known for its strong currents, and Onjuku, which benefits from southern currents to have some of the warmest water in the prefecture. 

Wadaura Beach, which is close to Chiba’s southernmost point, has earned a reputation as a spot where skilled surfers may put their skills to the test.

Although it is feasible to travel by train from Tokyo to Chiba, it is more practical to rent a car in the city and enjoy the scenic journey to Chiba’s peninsula. But try to stay away from rush hour.

Best Season

Seasonal weather variations in Japan significantly alter surfing conditions. Although it’s possible to surf year-round in many places, the typhoon season, which lasts from 

August to October, is a favorite time of year for surfers to congregate. Okinawa’s subtropical climate guarantees that you can use your board at any time, even in December. 

Japanese thrill-seekers have found windsurfing to be an enduringly popular activity, and the Shonan region is a well-liked spot for it. Try Lake Motosu in Yamanashi if you’re looking for something extraordinary. 

It’s one of the renowned Fuji Five Lakes, where you may windsurf while taking in a breathtaking view of the recognizable Mt. Fuji.

There are surf schools in every state that offer instruction in English.


The ideal time of year in Japan for waves and weather. At the rivermouths, the summer rains have left behind gravel and rock sandbars, and typhoons are brewing in the western Pacific. 

The morning off-shores are the norm now that the temperatures have dropped. On September 1st, the masses of “summer surfers” are gone, and the waves are much less crowded. 

Typhoons have the ability to send long-period groundswell to all locations, and the surfing can be excellent.


As the number of winter typhoons declines in November, a chill sets in as cold fronts move across the Sea of Japan and descend from Siberia. Variable Surf Japan conditions include short-period wind swells and the occasional late-season typhoon. 

The majority of Japanese surfers stay away from winter, choosing instead to travel to Hawaii’s North Shore or Australia’s Gold Coast.

Rainy season

The rainy season in early summer in Japan is marked by weak fronts that settle over Honshu and surrounding regions, bringing weeks of gloom and consistent rain. 

Similar to the east coast of the United States, the weather is hot, muggy, and there is a lot of expectation for the first typhoons to form.


Probably the worst time of year to go Surfing in Japan due to the extremely cold water in most areas and the lack of swell. 

Beginning in late spring, the rainy season is followed by weeks of gloomy weather. 

With the exception of outlying islands like Niijima in Tokyo Prefecture, short-period wind swells are the norm, and conditions are typically bad.

Getting ready, both you and your stuff

There are many surfing schools spread all around the nation if you feel the need to refresh your knowledge. 

Many will include lectures on how to increase your mastery of the waves as well as lessons on how to use a board and wetsuit. Some even offer live demos so you can observe how skilled experts conduct themselves. 

There are a few schools that provide instruction in English, so be sure to conduct some preliminary research to see which is ideal for your needs. 

All around Japan, there are specialized surf stores close to well-known beaches where you may buy or rent any necessary equipment. 

Even a street in Tokyo’s Ochanomizu/Kanda neighborhood has a significant concentration of shops solely focused on selling surfboards. 

Anyone looking for boards, backpacks, shoes, wetsuits, sunscreen, sunglasses, or wax is sure to find it all here. Even some stores serve as schools.

Safe surfing

It’s crucial to be cautious of your surroundings in Japan and to keep yourself informed about some potential threats. 

All around the nation, earthquakes happen fairly frequently, and they bring with them the risk of tsunamis. 

To guarantee your safety, stay vigilant and pay attention to any cautions issued by the authorities. 

Take extra precautions the rest of the year as lifeguards often only monitor beaches in the summer. 

If you are a beginner, try to surf alongside at least one other person so that someone is always available to assist you if you run into problems.

If you intend to surf in Okinawa, use additional caution because the region’s erratic tropical storms and rough coral reefs can be dangerous for beginners. Although there are many sharks swimming along the Japanese surf coast, there is a very little possibility that one will attack you. But just in case, keep your eyes peeled.

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