The waters aren’t turquoise, nor are the sands golden. You won’t find palm trees, or coral reefs, or perfect barrel waves, but an hour south of Tokyo there’s a spread of beaches, some twenty miles of coastline known as Shonan ― the country’s surfing capital and an antidote to the frenetic atmosphere of the big city. The epicenter, along Route 134, is Kugenuma Beach, its dark waters dotted with surfers and its black volcanic sands covered with volleyball nets and beach bars, families with barbecues and picnic lunches, and beach goers with sun shelters and folding chairs. Hawks survey the scene from the skies and Enoshima island with its small shrine appears to float just off-shore, connected to the coast by a bridge. On a good day, Fuji-san completes the view. It’s not a tropical paradise, but it’s a beach; it’s a world away from the big city and in the summertime the livin’ here is seductively easy.

 

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