|At the beach in Shirahama, Japan|
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.