By Ignatius Koh
Oarai Beach is one of two public beaches in the Oarai area, conveniently located right next to the Oarai Aquaworld Aquarium. Basically, it is a narrow strip of pebbled sand that stretches from the edge of the aquarium building almost to the Oarai Port about 2km away, facing east over the Pacific Ocean. The main attraction of this beach is the rock formations just offshore, where the wild waves that Oarai is famous for crash relentlessly in white-capped abandon, but the view of the horizon is quite nicely framed by the multicolored stones that populate the shoreline making it a pleasant place for a stroll. The area is very popular with surfers because of the reliable waves, and favored by children because the rock outcroppings often hide small tide-pools full of crabs and other small marine life, but not necessarily the best place for swimming due to the rocks and waves. However, there is enough sandy area to sit back, relax, and catch a good tan.
One of the most convenient aspects is the proximity to nearby amenities: at the end nearest Aquaworld there is a large parking area, fitting roughly 1000 cars, which is itself just off the main road curving along the coast of Oarai. However, for those who don’t have a car there is a bus service, whose route travels the same road and has a stop right in front of the beach, which can be caught right at Oarai Station. There are several vendors permanently placed along the edge of the parking lot that sell beach goods, freshly cooked foods like corn on the cob or yakitori, cold drinks, or even newspapers, and there are many restaurants a short walk away that front the beach and offer fresh, local seafood cuisine. Though there are bathrooms they are outdoor and usually pretty dirty, but that's par for the course in most areas of Japan. Bring tissues. Unfortunately barbequing and fireworks are not permitted, but it is quite a nice place to spend a hot summer day or a warm spring or fall afternoon. Unlike most beaches, this one doesn’t lose its attractiveness and enjoyability when the weather cools down.
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A Canadian ex-pat working for the Japanese government while working on an academic and writing career. Interests include travel, languages, reading/writing, movies, music, and new experiences. Visit me at wanderingbluesky.wordpress.com for travelogs and short stories!