I was on a mission. My objective: To find the best beaches within a reasonable driving distance from Kadena Air Base (no more than 30 minutes).

The result?

Some locations held no surprises, while others offered unexpected experiences. If you want to be an informed beach bum this summer, you gotta know before you go.

Here are the 5 best beaches near Kadena Air Base.

Araha Beach​

About a 25-minute drive from Kadena Gate 1.

A look out on the water from Araha Beach.

Araha is the "official" beach of Chatan Town and arguably the most popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

The crescent-shaped stretch of sand is clean and well-maintained, with showers, toilets, and changing rooms available on site. There's also a playground, grassy areas for picnicking, and a concrete walking/jogging path that circles the perimeter of the beach. (Great for kids!)

If you're looking for a classic beach day experience, Araha is the place to go.

The sand on Araha Beach. Colorful basketball courts at Araha Beach.

Toguchi Beach​

About a 15-minute drive from Kadena Gate 1.

The path down to the sandy beach at Toguchi Beach.

This hidden gem is located down a narrow road in a quiet residential area.

The beach is much smaller than Araha Beach, but it more than makes up for it with its tranquil atmosphere and gorgeous views of natural rock formations. There are also tons of hidden paths to explore nearby if you're up for a stroll.

A look out on the water from Toguchi Beach.

As a bonus Pork Village (a local restaurant known for its delicious slow-cooked pork) is located right by the beach, making Toguchi the perfect spot for a beach day/picnic combo.

A restaurant called Pork Village at Toguchi Beach.

Toguchi is the perfect place to relax and unwind away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Moon Beach​

About a 30-minute drive from Kadena Gate 3.
  • They can be strict on tattoos here. I was turned away when I showed up with a sleeveless shirt. So be sure to conceal your tats as best you can or bring something to cover them with!
  • It costs 2000 yen to enter the beach if you are not a guest of the hotel. That pays for parking and access to the pool and showers. Be sure to carry cash and coins!
The entrance to Moon Beach in Okinawa.

Located in the Onna Village, Moon Beach is one of the most beautiful and well-known beaches on Okinawa. The sparkling white sand and clear blue water are straight out of a postcard, and the beach is large enough that it never feels too crowded. The beach is small, but it has some of the best (coral-free) sand on the island.

There are also plenty of amenities nearby, including restaurants, bars, and cafes.

Beach umbrellas set up at Moon Beach.

If you're looking for a stunning beach to spend the day at, Moon Beach should be at the top of your list.

A mermaid statue at Moon Beach.

Fuchaku Beach​

About a 25-minute drive from Kadena Gate 3.
  • This beach is easy to miss. From Highway 58, once you see the sign for Tiger Beach, turn left at the next light into the small parking lot and drive through the gate. Turn left and you can park back there.
  • Fuchaku Beach is connected with Tiger Beach a beach that is operated by the nearby hotel, which is probably not free to enter. Carry yen just in case.
The sandy beachfront at Fuchaku Beach.

Some beaches are always crowded. That's not the case with Fuchaku Beach located in Onna Village, about 5 minutes down the street from Moon Beach.

This beach has the exact opposite vibe of Moon Beach. Wide and wild, it is the perfect place for a quiet relaxing afternoon.

A look down Fuchaku Beach.

After a day of swimming and relaxation, don't miss the epic sunsets. An unforgettable sight to behold.

A closer look at Fuchaku Beach.

So you know when you're there, here's a picture of the gate leading to the parking.

The parking gate at Fuchaku Beach.

Here's a translation of what the gate says: "To Fuchaku Beach Goers: Parking for a long time to barbeque and set off fireworks is prohibited"

Tropical Beach​

About a 30-minute drive from Kadena Gate 1.
  • Be sure to arrive early. There is a free parking lot, but it fills up fast.
Some fun and welcoming signs at Tropical Beach.

This local beach offered plenty of surprises when I visited. Located behind the Okinawa Convention Center in Ginowan City, this small beach is popular with the Japanese business clientele who frequent the area.

A lifeguard tower at Tropical Beach.

This meant fewer families, more couples, and more groups of people doing active things like cooking out, working out, and hanging out.

Barbeque / party areas for private events at Tropical Beach.

If you're up for some adventure, give this beach a try. Just don't be surprised if you're the only non-Japanese person present.

Conclusion​

Whether you're looking for a classic beach day experience or something a little off the beaten path, Kadena Air Base is surrounded by plenty of great options.

So get out there and explore! Happy beach bumming!
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