In Shimane, Japan, beach season is strictly observed.
The beaches are deserted when it’s off-season yet packed on Umi no Hi or Marine Day (July 17).
Sasago beach is one of the loveliest beaches we’ve ever encountered (and we grew up in the Caribbean!). In late spring, before beach season, it is empty save for one family frolicking in the shallows. The water in the bay is cold but so transparent you can see jellyfish and blowfish glide by.
On Marine Day, it’s another story. It feels like Pigeon Point in Tobago. Kids are squealing. Little girls in fluorescent swim caps pace the narrow shoreline. A young mother builds a sand castle with her children, sometimes throwing sand on her inebriated partner.
Some men sit under a tent. They sport red faces and chests, partly from the sun, partly from the alcohol. The women are smarter, their torsos and arms covered with long-sleeved rash guards or cotton hoodies.
Kitaura beach is another popular Shimane beach. Surrounding hills are covered with scrubby conifers and other vegetation. Birds chirp. A crow squawks. A kite shriek. In the distance, trucks rumble unseen. The sand is cool yet soft. Seaweed and driftwood litter the beach.
The bay curves gently. Waves slosh gently on the shore. The water is smooth and clear. It feels soft and cold, like a glass of cold water. There are ripples on the sea bed. Some kayakers paddle nearby. A man combs some rock pools. In knee-deep water, he crouches, searching with slow, deliberate movements.
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