On the surface, Naminoue Beach may not seem to have a lot going for it, especially compared to other long stretches of pristine sand further north on the island’s long coastline. It’s in the city, right behind the beach is a string of seedy love hotels, in front of the beach is a gigantic concrete overpass, and to the side of it is a huge cruise ship terminal. Hardly sound like a picture perfect postcard, right?

Well much to this writer’s surprise, Naminoue Beach turned out to be a lovely place to spend the afternoon. The water was clean, the swimming was great, and it was very deep at high tide. As the waves are very gentle, this is a suitable beach for small children.

As the only beach within Naha City limits, Naminoue is popular with the locals who like to sit on the sea wall and drink a cold Orion Beer or play chess. And being easily accessible by foot from the downtown area and the cruise ship terminal, there are lots of tourists who come to take a swim during a brief stopover in Naha.

If your time is limited, combine the beach with a visit to the picturesque Naminoue Shrine which sits atop a rocky cliff next to the beach. And if you want to get that iconic picture of the red shrine with the green ocean below, simply walk across the overpass to do so.

Facilities at the beach include toilets and showers, and there are lifeguards on duty. Protective nets have been places in the sea to keep out jellyfish. You can also rent chairs, tents and umbrellas (for a somewhat high price). There is a small shop selling drinks and snacks too.

Naminoue Beach management has a picnic and BBQ area behind, which can be rented out for parties and events.

If you’re driving, there are a few free parking spots at the shrine itself, but you’ll be very lucky to grab one. Instead head to the automated parking lot next to the beach, on the #42 Road. Just look for the two tall dragons towering over the road – you can’t miss it.

Parking: Pay parking next to the beach, automated ticket gates, payment in yen only

by Emily Dickson

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Naminoue Beach