The Recreational and Family Beach Near Tokyo
Zushi City is located to the south-east of Kamakura, in Miura peninsula. This small seaside resort is mainly known for its lively beach in summer and its easy access from Tokyo. An unpretentious town, Zushi still manages to offer many beautiful views on Mount Fuji on clear weather days.
Foreign tourists dot not find this part of the coast attractive as it is probably too far from Kamakura’s famous temples and shrines. Zushi does not have many interesting landmarks, except for Kamegaoka Hachimangu shrine near the station, but it is nonetheless a lovely little town.
A pleasant promenade in a coastal town
Zushi is crossed by beautiful streets spreading between the JR station, Tagoe River, its canal and small bridges in the west and the beach 🏖. Zushi station east exit leads to a lively downtown. The covered sidewalks offer a welcomed shade in summer and shelter many vendors for daily shopping: kimono 👘 shops, greengrocers, a few restaurants and the usual game arcades.
While walking towards the beach in the west, wander in the streets of the residential areas: some of the houses are as beautiful as Kamakura’s, with a quainter and more rustic feel. Their charm is enhanced by the perfect tending of the gardens and the many little bridges crossing the river to connect the streets.
When following the banks of Tagoe River, toward south-east, one can discover an unusual movie theater, Cinema Amigo, a surfing school and a small marina.
A typically Japanese seaside resort
Zushi’s beach is large and quite popular among the Japanese, but it can be disappointing for Westerners who enjoy sunbathing in a dream environment. There is indeed no fine sand nor blue waters, and a road with heavy traffic is running along the beach.
The beach is however suitable for the use Japanese people have for it: they enjoy a dip in the sea, play with balls and buoys, but they tend to avoid sunbathing. They’d rather gather at the end of the day to drink with friends or have barbecue parties.
Summer, during which many temporary bars settle on the beach, is the best season to enjoy the place, and it is particularly crowded in mid-August during Obon. The beach is not very beautiful but is less frequented than Enoshima’s, and the conditions of use are said to be less strict than in other seaside resorts in Japan, especially regarding tattoos.
Despite an old-fashioned atmosphere, Zushi beach caters to the needs of families with children, who can enjoy swimming and nautical activities. An aquatic park is open from late June to late August and offers many activities such as:
- Paddling, and,
- Water slides.
The beach is of an easy access by train 🚅 from Tokyo. It is not recommended to go by car 🚙, especially during the peak season, unless one does not dread such resorts’ usual traffic jams and parking difficulties.
Several views on Mount Fuji
There are indeed several occasions in Zushi to watch the sacred mountain, ideally on a clear weather day:
- From the beach, especially at sunset, with Enoshima Island in the foreground,
- From Hiroyama Park, on the heights, in the west of the city,
- From Osaki Park, next to Hiroyama,
- In the south of Zushi beach, from Roka Memorial Park, ideal in autumn when the view on Mount Fuji is enhanced with shimmering hues.
The western part of the city, bordering Kamakura, is home to a luxurious district with a marina reminding the seaside landscapes of the U. S. West Coast, and the small fishing port Kotsubo.
Zushi is also a transit town to visit the neighboring Hayama City, whose main attractions are accessible by bus, especially Morito Daimyojin shrine (with a view on Mount Fuji 🗻) and Ajisai Park.
The aging little city’s attractiveness is due to its ambiance, more coastal and plebeian than Kamakura’s, and its authenticity compared to the large cities’ seaside districts covered in concrete. This unsophisticated aspect, not far from Tokyo, may thus please amateurs of coastal villages, and nicely complement the visit of Kamakura’s Hase area.