December 09, 2018 Sun
Peeking through the pines at Kotobikihama

For a country that is surrounded by the sea, it is sometimes surprisingly hard to find good beaches in Japan. The Tango region, however, is not afflicted by this problem, and its relative obscurity (well off the traditional tourist trail) ensures that, at many times of the year, the only fellow beach-goers are somewhat foolhardy surfers or local joggers. Amanohashidate, despite being the most famous strip of sand in Japan, is not in fact the region’s best beach. That honour goes to Kotobikihama, located near the town of Amino in the Kyotango region. The beach is famous for its special sand, which ‘squeaks’ while walking across it - the name in Japanese literally means ‘Koto plucking beach’, referring to the distinctive sound of the traditional Japanese musical instrument. Most of the year, this beach is blissfully empty, and you can make the sand sing, jumping unabashed, to your heart’s desire. Perhaps the pleasure is overstated, but connecting with nature in such a tactile way - shifting sand underfoot, salty air in hair - softens even the hardiest of souls and sparks an infectious, uninhibited energy rarely encountered elsewhere.

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