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Japan’s Paradise Beach

I’m not sure exactly where or when I first saw a picture of Japan’s Jodogahama Beach. Once I did, however, I knew I had to go and see it with my own eyes.

When I finally did, in 2021, I was torn. On one hand, the beach was indeed stunning, and unlike anywhere else I had seen in Japan, or really anywhere else on the planet. On the other hand, the viewpoint that offers the most iconic perspective on the beach had permanently closed—big bummer.

Whether you want to visit the beach as a one-off, or incorporate it into a broader exploration of the Sanriku Coast, I think you’ll find my Jodogahama Beach itinerary meets your travel needs.

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How to Get to Jodogahama Beach

A Jodogahama Beach trip has many potential incarnations. How you get here is really going to depend upon where the beach fits into your larger Japan trip:

  • If you plan to visit Jodogahama on a day trip from Morioka, you can ride the JR Yamada Line from Morioka Station to Miyako Station, and take a bus from there.
  • If you’re driving down (or up) the Sanriku Coast, I recommend staying at least one night in Jodogahama in order to full soak up the atmosphere.
  • Although you can technically visit Jodogahama on a day trip from destinations further afield like Sendai and Aomori, I’d suggest having a car if you plan this—the Yamada Line doesn’t come often and isn’t fast.

Thankfully, no matter how experience Jodo-ga-hama, I think you’ll find that it lives up to the divine connotations of its Japanese name.

Things to Do at and near Jodogahama Beach

Get a view—but not “the view”


The bad news? The viewpoint just north of Jodogahama Beach, which once provided a “postcard” shot of the beach’s landscape, is permanently closed. The good news? While not nearly as iconic a view, you can go to the rooftop of Jodogahama Rest House to get a quasi-bird’s eye perspective on the scene.

Eat some local seafood


Speaking of Jodogahama Rest House, it’s where the only (effective) Jodogahama Beach restaurant is located, if you don’t count the higher-end eateries within the Park Hotel. I loved their hairy crab ramen, though other items are on the menu seasonally. Alternatively, nearby Miyako City is a seafood paradise.

Take a boat to the blue cave


While it is doubtlessly disappointing compared to its more famous country in Italy’s Capri, the Blue Cave of Jodogahama is a worthwhile excursion, particularly if you go in the morning. The boat trip is pleasant and ensures great views of the beach—just watch out for seagull poop!

Come early for sunrise


There’s nothing quite as beautiful as a Jodogahama Beach sunrise—and I say this as someone who saw six separate sunrises along the Sanriku Coast. While watching it can be a heavy lift during the summer, when it occurs at around 4 AM, I do think it’s worth the trouble.

Explore the rest of Sanriku


Jodogahama sits smack-dab in the middle of the Sanriku Coast. Whether you stay here for a few nights and use it as a base, or stop en route from Hachinohe or Tanohata en route to Kamaishi, Kesennuma or Ishinomaki, Sanriku quite literally starts here.

Should You Stay Overnight at Jodogahama Beach?

There isn’t a lot to do in Jodogahama compared to many other destinations in Japan. Well, except for enjoying the scenery, which for some travelers is all that’s necessary. Indeed, there’s an argument to be made that Sanriku is a “slow travel” destination, which leads many travelers to believe that spending at least one night here in the best course of action. 

Oddly, I ended up concurring with this conclusion, even though I am not at all a slow travel enthusiast. While there are a few options for Jodogahama Beach hotels (well, mostly ones in nearby Miyako), I did decide to splurge on a room at The Park Hotel Jodogahama. While the hotel itself is badly in need of an update, the view from my room (which I believe was the best in house) was unforgettable.

Other FAQ About Visiting Jodogahama Beach

How do I go to Jodogahama Beach?

There are two main ways to reach Jodogahama Beach. If you don’t rent a car (and you should), the most practical way is to ride the JR Yamada Line from Morioka to Miyako, and then take a bus from there. Note, however, that this train doesn’t come often; it is also very slow. 

Where is Jodogahama Beach located?

Jodogahama Beach is located along the coast of Iwate prefecture along the center of Japan’s Sanriku Coast, about 90 km east of the major city of Morioka. In practice, however, reaching the beach can be quite an affair, particularly if you don’t have your own set of wheels.

What does Jodogahama mean?

Jōdo (浄土 in Japanese) literally means “pure land,” while hama (浜 in Japanese) means “beach.” Put together, most Japanese take these kanji simply to mean “Paradise Beach”—Jodo-ga-hama certainly lives up to this moniker.

The Bottom Line

This Jodogahama Beach itinerary will set you on course, whether you take a day trip here from Morioka, or take a more extensive Sanriku road trip. Jodogahama remains one of the most visually stunning places I’ve visited in Japan, even if I first visited after the beach’s once-famous viewpoint permanent closed. If you can manage to stay overnight here, the Park Hotel offers unforgettable (albeit somewhat…vintage) accommodation where the limestone towers of the beach are the star of the show. Need personalized help planning your trip? Consider hiring me to help!


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