Nature is one of the most defining characteristics of the Japanese culture. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many of the nation’s outdoor activities are based on the natural environment available. There are literally hundreds of different outdoor activities to do in the Land of the Rising Sun, making the country ideal for all tastes to visit.
One of the most prevalent forces of nature influencing Japan is water – the ocean more specifically. As an island nation, the Japanese have an abundance of access to water and all things that come with it. One of the things that this proximity to water enables is to participate in the sport of surfing. For those unaware, surfing is figuratively “riding” waves in the water by the help of specialized, lightweight, boards.
While Japan is small when put in comparison to Australia or America, the two largest countries in the surfing scene, there are plenty of spots to visit for surfing in Japan. The spots one decides to visit depend on a variety of factors – the most important of which normally include the size of waves, the amount of people and the environment of the location. For instance, one location with some of the best waves in Japan is Chiba, located about 1 to 2 hours away from Tokyo. While Chiba’s proximity to Tokyo can be a blessing for one, it can be a deal breaker for another as the beaches there draw large crowds on good days, which might make surfing in the area uncomfortable. In such cases, surfers who prefer quieter atmospheres but strong waves might want to book a trip to Niijimia, one of the islands of the Izu Island Chain. However one must keep in mind that such islands also tend to get crowded in the summer vacation months, especially when adolescents wish to get away from the busy city life, making planning ahead essential for the surfer with such preferences.
There are a few things foreign surfers should keep in mind when visiting Japan. First that having a GPS-enabled device is a very good idea, especially when one doesn’t know the areas well. Some of the best surfing spots aren’t exactly indicated by signs on the road. Another is to bring a few bottles of water to rinse the salt and sand with since there aren’t many public bathrooms or anything similar at most “hidden” surf spots.
First image by transworld.net
Second image by surfingmagazine