Sea Kayak and SUP in Kushimoto

Enjoy playing in the ocean at Hashigui Beach

By Alena Eckelmann    - 6 min read

Where better to be in the summer than at the beach? If you prefer it active, then try sea kayaking or Standup Paddle (SUP) off the coast of Kushimoto Town. Your instructors at Beach House Lapin at Hashigui Beach, named after the famous Hashigui Rocks nearby, will teach you how!

Introducing Beach House Lapin

An open beach house is inviting, especially if it serves drinks and ice cream. At Lapin at the Hashigui Beach in Kushimoto you can have both after having spent a few hours on the water, or in it. This beach house is your base for having a swim, playing at the beach, and also for sea kayaking and some SUP action. There are toilets, lockers and showers in the beach house and a small café.

Owner and manager Yutaka Aoki started the sea kayaking here in 2009 and he added SUP in 2015. Aoki-san has lived in the Philippines for five years where he managed a guesthouse on Caohagan Island in Cebu. This island is owned by a Japanese national and Japanese and international visitors frequently visit here on their trip to Cebu.

A sandy beach, clean ocean waters and marine life, Aoki-san lived his dream life there, and he knows a thing or two about making other people’s dream come true at the beach. He did not think he would find something similar in Japan, but he did when he visited Kushimoto. This was the beginning of Lapin beach house which is open from April to October.

Aoki-san in action. He explains how to use the kayaks.
Aoki-san in action. He explains how to use the kayaks.

Sea kayaking for beginners

It was the perfect weather for kayaking in the ocean. It was overcast and the sea was calm. The weather and the tide are important factors in making sea kayaking safe or dangerous. Mr. Aoki knows this area and its weather patterns well. He was happy about the conditions.

So he prepared our kayaks and laid them out on the beach, together with paddles. Then he explained how to paddle and he demonstrated each step. We did some dry runs on the beach.

Finally we took our kayaks to the water and got in. First we paddled around near the beach and Mr. Aoki checked our paddle technique. When he was satisfied that we could maneuver around well enough he took us further out.

This part of the ocean is not open water but it is a bay that is bordered by Hashigui Beach on one side and Oshima Island on the other side. In the distance one sees the loop bridge that connects Shionomisaki Peninsula with Oshima Island. On the other sides, standing tall and proud in the ocean, are the Hashigui Rocks. The beach is further protected by breakwaters.

All these places – Hashigui, Oshima and Shionomisaki – are attractions that are worth a visit later. Actually this sea kayak tour will take you right to the Hashigui Rocks.

You will be paddling to the furthermost rocks standing in the ocean and paddle around them and through them. The sea on the other side of the protected bay area is much rougher and more difficult to paddle through.

Mr. Aoki keeps a watchful eye on you and soon directs the group back into calm waters. In the wave shadow of the rocks you can rest for a while and watch the beautiful scenery. There are colonies of birds nesting in the rocks and once in a while some fish jump out of the water.

We paddled along the rocks and towards the Nanki Kumano Geo Park Info Center where we went ashore for a short while. Mr. Aoki is also a Geo Park guide and so he explained the interesting geological background of this area before we headed back into the water and paddled back to the beach house.

Off we go! Once you can stand and balance, paddling on a SUP is great fun.
Off we go! Once you can stand and balance, paddling on a SUP is great fun.

Topping up with SUP

No rest for the wicked! Aoki-san got out the SUP boards for more fun to come. Again, there needs to be some instructions about the handling and about safety before you can get on board.

The position on the board, the length of the paddle and your body balance ensure that you stay dry. Kneeling on the board for a while first to get used to balancing and then standing up and balancing are some of the first moves. Once you are fine with that, the paddling fun can begin.

We paddled all the way to the breakwaters where we set down on the boards and let our feet tangle in the water. This is very refreshing. We watched small fish racing around in the water and some crabs clinging to the stones of the breakwaters.

You can also lay flat on the board and paddle with your hands like surfers do. Or, anchor your board and jump into the water for a swim.

Getting on SUP boards and hanging out with a group of people is fun and you'll never even know that time has

An Outing with Family or Friends

Sea kayaking is possible with children aged 4 and older. There are child seats for the sea kayaks. SUP paddling is allowed from age 12. Lapin also has large rafts that fit a group of people, either family or friends.

For those of you not wanting to be lazy on the beach, a dose each of sea kayaking and SUP is just right to keep your activity levels up. If this is not enough activity yet, try scuba diving at the nearby Nanki Seaman's Club.

Getting there

The Kuroshio Train takes you from Osaka (Shin-Osaka or Tennoji) to Kushimoto City.

Alternatively, if you prefer, driving follow National Road 42. This road winds its way around the Kii Peninsula and also takes you to Kushimoto Town on the southern tip of the peninsula.

More info

Find out more about Kumano Kodo.

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Alena Eckelmann

Alena Eckelmann @alena.eckelmann

Born East of the Wall and South of Berlin, I am celebrating my 15th year anniversary in Japan in May 2020, the country that I call home now. I lived in crazy Tokyo for 6 years and since 2011 I call the beautiful Kii Peninsula (Kumano, Koyasan and Yoshinoyama) my home.I have been a JapanTravel Partner since the conception of the platform in 2011! In Tokyo I worked in market research at AIP Corporation and in business education at JMEC. For the last 10 years I have been a guide for foreign visitors at Venture Japan, on top of being a Freelance Writer and a Business Researcher.  Apart from work, I trained at the Yoshinkan Aikido Dojo and at the Oedo Sukeroku Taiko Dojo for several years each, and I ran the 1st Tokyo Marathon and enjoyed cycling around Tokyo. During the last 10 years I am working with local authorities to improve their hospitality to foreign visitors and I have participated in many monitors as a media representative.  My current interest is in Japanese nature and spirituality. I love spending time in the forest and mountains, and I love visiting temples and shrines.   I am a licensed guide for the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trails  and for Koyasan, the Buddhist monastery, in addition to being a practitioner and licensed guide for Forest Therapy (Shinrin Therapy).  As a guide for walking tours, I have taken visitors to walk the Kumano Kodo trails, the Nakasendo trail and the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage trail.  Being grounded during this COVID-19 crisis, I enjoy gardening, baking bread in my new Japanese bread-maker and going for walks around 'my' village.  Take care, keep well, stay safe! 

Join the discussion

Alena Eckelmann Author a month ago
I enjoyed sea kayaking to the Hashigui Rocks and SUP off the coast of Kushimoto immensely. I spent the whole afternoon out on the ocean with both these activities. This was the day after the scuba diving experience in the morning. So, a whole day in and on the water in a beautiful spot and with safety precautions in place was a great experience that I highly recommend.