Tokyobling's Blog

Miyukinohama – Odawara Beach

Posted in Places by tokyobling on April 25, 2012

Last year, during the peak of the summer I visited Odawara City on the coast south west of Tokyo, at the far west end of Kanagawa Prefecture. Odawara is easily one of my favorite cities in Japan (after Tokyo of course), not least because it is a coastal town with a long beautiful coastline. When I first came to Japan I always wondered why Japanese were so reluctant to develop their coastal areas, whereas France and the US have resorts, mansions, expensive commercial districts and high class villas built up right up to the ocean most of coastal Japan has nothing more exciting than a high way or a gasoline stand. Well, after the tsunami I sort of get it. The main beach here in Odawara is called Miyukinohama (御幸の浜), for the Japanese word “miyuki” or 御幸 which means imperial visit. It is in memory of the emperor Meiji who visited with his empress in 1873 to observe local fishing. For thousands of years the emperors had been very secluded in their palace, so for the local citizens of Odawara an Imperial visit must have been amazingly exciting! Emperor Meiji was the first emperor to actually travel around a little bit and Odawara was one of his first visits during a difficult transition time between the old and the new Japan. It was much too hot for me to dare to undress and get into the ocean, my skin would have burnt up in minutes, but I imagine it must be very different during the traditional New Year’s swim that is held here on the 1st of January every year when hundred of people brave the cold! Odawara is close enough to Tokyo be a possible day trip and well worth the effort. Get on the first train out of Tokyo and go back just after sunset, it will be a great way to spend a day off without having the hassle of booking hotel rooms, or you can stay the night like I did. Definitively recommended!

6 Responses

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  1. C said, on April 25, 2012 at 6:51 am

    This looks a lot like the (Northern) California/Oregon coast, which has much more of a rural vibe. Thank goodness most of the west coast of North America has been protected from the horrors of overdevelopment. Very neat to see that a crowded Japan is peaceful on the beach, even if it’s due to tsunami hazards.


    • tokyobling said, on June 1, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Thank you for the comment C! I agree – I would hate to see the few remaining beaches of the world swallowed up in houses, parking lots and concrete!


  2. Elisa said, on April 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I had a great visit to Odawara in January a couple years ago. The beach was beautiful. I loved the color of the sand and the wave breakers that looked like giant jacks. Enjoyed visiting with locals (in my limited Japanese) who were walking their dogs on the beach. The stay at the onsen hotel was very relaxing.


    • tokyobling said, on June 1, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Thank you for the comment Elisa! I’m glad to hear you liked Odawara. I would love to stay at a local onsen hotel over there!


  3. pk1154 said, on April 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Poor little puffer fish. 😦


    • tokyobling said, on June 1, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Indeed… Puffer fish are just about the only animal I won’t eat for emotional reasons… they are just too cute!


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