Monday, July 18, 2011

Pining for a white Aussie beach - in Japan?

At the beach in Shirahama, Japan
I'm in denial about it being mid-winter here, and went down to one of my favourite Perth beaches on the weekend. I've got a chilly looking picture from there, but I'm not going to make myself any colder by looking at it again - instead I've found a picture from warmer days.

This beach in Japan is at Shirahama (which I believe translates to white beach, if my memory serves me correctly) which is a couple of hours by train south of Osaka in Wakayama Prefecture. I popped down here for a bit of a "beach holiday" while I was living in Osaka a few years back.

Two things stand out very clearly in my memory of this trip. The first is that I dared to go swimming before the beach was "open". This is not a "life guards have closed the beach" kind of affair - I didn't know until I spoke to my students upon my return that beaches in Japan "aren't open" in May. It's not summer so you don't swim. My protests centred on it clearly being warm enough to swim already - I'm not one for taking dips in cold water - but they wouldn't accept it. Being reminiscent of them telling me there are certain dates when it's okay to wear short-sleeved clothing and certain dates when it's not, I accepted their viewpoint and stopped telling people I'd swum at Shirahama.

Secondly, I heard the rumour then, and today Wikipedia's Shirahama entry concurs - the white sand at the beach at Shirahama is imported from Australia. Yes, you read correctly, they import the beach sand all the way from Australia. We are not talking a few cartons of Aussie beer here but an entire beach of sand. I mean, it's beautiful and all, but I still think it's odd. But I'm odd enough to go swimming outside of summer, so don't trust everything I say.


  1. I think I saw a short little clip about this beach on a travel show. It looks so lovely! I am dying for some sunshine. Here in Western BC, Canada we usually get really hot weather nearing 35 degrees celsius. However, it has been nothing but rain so far. I am heading to Vegas in 10 days to escape it!

    The Wanderfull Traveler

  2. Rainy summer - how depressing! I guess there will be no rain in Vegas. I don't think here in Perth we would ever have a non-hot summer - they're just dry and either hot or very hot!

  3. That´s a lot of sand to import, my Goodness!! Very brave to swim outside of swim season, I don´t even swim in Perth, my kind of water has to be 30º plus. A few years ago we went to Phuket in Thailand, and that was my kind of water!!

  4. I tried to hike Mt. Fuji outside of the climbing season and was met with the same reaction- general discouragement because you know, the mountain was "closed" and all. I took their advice and gave up.

    However, if someone told me there was imported Australian sand at the peak...I totally would be more motivated to revolt and just do the climb anyways.

  5. @ Sami, I prefer pretty warm water too and it actually was pretty warm - one of the reasons I laughed about the season thing!

    @ Where's My Toothbrush, having climbed Fuji in season I would have to say that climbing it just slightly off season - before it's too cold - could be quite lovely - not so many "people traffic jams"! No imported Aussie sand at the top but there are vending machines ;-)


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