After a lovely time along the coast, we figured it was time to head inland. Visiting one of Japan’s three karst landscapes and such. Then there was mist. Then there was rain. Then there was wind. Then there was a lot of all three. And it lasted four days. Typhoon #5 hit Japan.
No karst landscape, no blue clear Shimanto River (but brown and racing).
It was time to return to the coast where at least it was warmer.
Okhinohama Beach in Shikoku
The rain let up. The sky cleared. The wind stopped. It became hot but we stood along a stream, next to Okhinohama Beach so we had plenty of opportunities to cool down.
We had the place pretty much to ourselves, until, of a sudden it was busy. Well, that is compared to the practically empty beaches we had seen thus far. I’m sure Mar del Plata (Argentina), Copacabana Beach (Brazil), Costa del Sol (Spain) and many other places are laughing at this.
Japanese are not particularly fond of beaches, that much is certain. But the ones who are, are a joy to watch.
Okhinohama Beach is one of Japan’s most beautiful beaches, or so the brochures say. In the parking lot – no driving and camping on beaches here – people parked alongside us on either side.
The Japanese are on vacation (5 days, including a weekend), and they are on the road in large numbers. People from Osaka normally need six hours of driving to get here, now nine due to heavy traffic.
Once parked they unpack. Party tents, camping chairs, table, the works. Bamboo mats to attach to any of the sides of the party tent to create shade. Very few sit on the beach. Some do with a parasol or party tent, but must enjoy time in the water and return to the car to eat and nap.
It was colorful and joyful. Few wear bathing suits. The majority is covered to be protected from the sun, at least the upper body. Many of the women wear some kind of leggings as well.
Lots of laughing kids, screaming with joy.
Many kids, as well as adults, have inflatable rings or even life jackets. Kids do learn to swim in school. I’m told every primary school has an outdoor swimming pool and so throughout primary school, they have daily a swimming lesson during the 2 or 2,5 summer months.
People come here to surf and body board, floating in the water for ages for the perfect wave. We wished we could stay longer, but our visa is running out the end of August and we want to visit some of our friends in Kyushu before we return to South Korea.
It doesn’t matter how long you travel. 5 days, 3 weeks, 8 months… There never is enough time to do and see all you’d wanted to do. Which is okay. It will give you a good reason to come back.