We have made it to Shiraishi Jima, a small island in the Inland Sea of Japan, in our search for a beach. Any beach, anywhere, that can cater to a chill, relaxed vibe. See, Japan doesn’t really do the “relaxed” thing well. It’s go-go-go non-stop and maybe if you’re luck you’ll find a park bench along the way somewhere. We can’t afford to stop for a beer somewhere, or a coffee: we have exhausted yourself.
After a train ride and a ferry ride though, we’ve made it to the island. Expectations were low, because Japan usually just looks the same and feel the same pretty much everywhere you go. But this 7 KM circumference island, population of 600 feels… slow. Different. The beach here is an actual beach, with golden sand and big enough for a short stroll. It hasn’t been tempered with concrete barriers, massive hotels or Japanese tour bus crowds. But they do like to bury their garbage in the sand.
We’re staying at a small accommodation right on the beach. Outside are small tents covering barbecues and seating right on the sand. It’s a shamble of bamboo sticks. On the speakers: Smoke Two Joints by Sublime. You get the idea. This is most likely the closest Japan gets to the beachy-party atmosphere of Asia.
This place is perfect though. It even has the clean, simple, much-desired tatami room and Japanese washroom. Our room overlooks the ocean. We can see other islands, and one close by has a small shrine on it. The dining room / hanging out area is filled with nick knacks and the usual decorations of a place like this.
The downside? It’s pissing rain. Forget swimming, hiking, walking, kayaking, sun tanning. And we’ve arrived one day after their summer season, so everything has now shut down for the season. Hopefully the weather will turn, or this will be a really low-key 2 nights spent indoor looking at a beach.