Ōiso (大磯) is an unremarkable-looking town in the middle of surf-hotspot Shonan coast, Kanagawa Prefecture. However, don’t judge a book by its cover! This town is a slice of history: established in 1885, it’s Japan’s first ever seaside beach resort.
In reality, sure, it’s a long stretch of dark sand in the shadow of a noisy, grey-concrete elevated highway. There’s no pier, merry-go-round or donkey rides, but it has some charm if you find yourself in the locale.
Some of which is due to the panoramic views. On clear, unhazy days, especially in the early evenings against the sun, and crisp mornings, the entire coastline along here has some great views of Mount Fuji (which both explains the darker sand). Turning the other way across Sagami Bay, Enoshima and the Miura Peninsula look nice in the near-distance, too.
The swimming is good, if you are into a bit of turbulence. There are some really big waves here, which make for some fun body surfing, and it’s nice for a change to feel the raw power of the sea if you’re used to the flat-sea beaches of neighbouring Enoshima.
Where is Oiso?
Ōiso beach and town, is located slap bang in the middle of the Shonan Coast. The more famous, sizeable towns nearby are Chigasaki and Hiratsuka, a few kilometres inland, eastbound.
How do I get to Oiso?
From Shinjuku Station connect to the JR Shonan Shinjuku Line to Oiso Station then its a 5 minute walk to the beach. All in around 1hr 25 mins (1320 JPY)
From Yokohama Station its 45 mins (and 670 JPY) on the Shonan Shinjuku Line or Tokaido Line.
There’s a nice deli opposite the station with good takeout lunch options. The salad boxes and local Shonan craft beers they sell are recommended. There’s a Family Mart konbini about 5 mins walk from the beach if you need something urgently.
In the height of summer (early July until the end of September) there are food stands and bars, sexing up the otherwise drab, grey concrete. It gets very crowded in these months.
Out of season, at least the concrete bollards are convenient to get changed behind and shield any sudden call of nature from prying eyes of dog walkers!
All in all, not the best beach in the world, but nor is it the worst. It speaks volumes that a quick google of “Oiso Beach” yields only links to Oiso Long Beach, a nearby leisure pool theme park complex. That’s about 2 kms west along the shore, or highway!