Japanese Beach Culture
In Japan everyone tries to go to the beach during summer. There are many cliffs Japan’s coastline so naturally the beaches with sand are very packed. Since we live on a mostly volcanic island, most beaches have black sand that gets really hot in summer so if you don’t have beach shoes, it can feel like you are walking on hot coals. There are some beaches with lighter sand and always completely full of people. By the busy beaches you find several Umi no ie (seaside house) which is more like a shack with food (providing shade, bathrooms, showers, lockers for storage, etc.) These prefabricated buildings are put up quickly at the end of tsuyu, rainy season, and taken down on September 1st. Tatami mat on the floor which work well to remove sand.
In the last decade, “Designer umi no ie” have become popular for the fashion & design crowd with private bookings organized by various brands. Expect good food, special cocktails, select activities, etc. In the evening there are dj’s and sometimes live performances as well. One of our favorites is Caban by David Guarino & fashion house Tomorrowland.
Popular activities on the beach are pretty much the same as in every country, with the exception of hard core sun-tanning like in Europe. While some people tan, it is still considered bad to ruin your skin in the sun. Many people bring their own protection, a parasol, sometimes a tent. These are mostly for families. Otherwise many use the Umi no ie to find shade and food (curry rice) and refreshments. Kakigori (shaved ice with a flavored syrup on top) is very popular for both adults and kids.
Other games are Suikawari (watermelon Splitting) : you are blindfolded and given a bamboo stick to whack a watermelon until it splits, everyone enjoys eating the watermelon afterwards. It’s always fun to make sand castles or burry a friend or family member in sand.
At the end of the day we do small Fireworks which can be bought in a convenience store or supermarket. Very fun, no matter what age you are.
Then clean up and go home, make sure to leave the beach clean without garbage and make sure to properly recycle.