Japan's Beach Culture

By Staff Writer
August 17, 2022
Japan is surrounded by water and of course the country has a lot of beaches, and many people enjoy their beach life during summer. This time, in our explainer article, we would like to introduce some specialties about Japan’s beach culture.

Beach season

Umi-biraki is an expression in Japanese which literally means “sea opening,” marking the start of beach season that typically occurs from the beginning of July. Many people take advantage of this warm summer season to visit beaches. In July, there is also Sea Day (Umi-no-hi), a national public holiday which is intended to show appreciations for the sea and ocean that surrounds the island. This public holiday was established in 1996, and on this day, national aquariums organize events and cultural activities related to the sea.

Beach house (Umi-no-ie)

On the beaches, one can find a wide variety of temporary shops where customers can stop to buy food and drinks, and to get out of the sun for a bit. These special structures are called Umi-no-ie, which literally means sea house in Japanese. These sea houses offer not only food and drinks but also offer many other services like rental tents, parasols, surfboards and so on. This means that visitors do not need to prepare everything to go to beach, as almost everything they will need is available.
A wooden beach shop selling a variety of summer goods
A umi-no-ie on a beach

Beach activities

There are many popular beach activities, but one that should not be missed is a Japanese summer tradition called Suika-wari, which means a watermelon smashing. It is a traditional game that involves splitting a watermelon with a stick while blindfolded. It’s a difficult task, but the game depends on how well friends or teammates can give direction to the player, guiding them into the right position to be able to smash the watermelon, which is then shared and eaten. It is worth trying once in your life!
A child trying to hit a watermelon with a stick while blindfolded
Suikawari (Watermelon smashing)
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