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You don’t have to travel to the outposts of Japan to find a great beach. The Izu Peninsula juts out from the south of Honshu Island, just 100 km (62 miles) from Tokyo. It’s a rugged, volcanic landmass, centred around the Anagi Mountains which drop sharply down to meet long slithers of white sand and clear water.

On the weekends, Shirahama Beach on the peninsula’s east coast is a seaside Tokyo. The crowds are continuously fed by buses from the city and the sand blooms with bright parasols. Visit mid-week when the beach is quieter and you can see why it’s so popular. A long curve of sand framed with grottos of volcanic rock leads into bright turquoise water.

Arguably, the beach is best enjoyed while soaking in one of the many onsen (open-air baths fed by natural hot springs) that sit on the hillside looking out over the bright blue bay. Many are communal, but it’s possible to book a private pool. After bathing, you can eat at one of the restaurants offering fine seafood – takahashi crab (the world’s largest crab).

You may be interested in our 10 best beaches in the United States and you may be interested in my best secret beaches in America, my secret beaches in California and my 5 most remote beaches on earth.

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