Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Chirihama Beach Driveway – The Only Sandy Driveway in Japan

Chirihama Beach Driveway (千里浜なぎさドライブウェイ) is an 8 km beach shore on the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture that connects Imahama Coast (今浜海岸) and Chirihama Beach (千里浜). It is the only place you can freely drive any vehicle on the sand in Japan, including bicycles. Even across the world, you probably won’t be able to find that many destinations where you can have your own car running on the sand without doing anything to the tires.

© 石川県観光連盟

As this isn’t a normal highway, you can stop your car almost anywhere for sunbathing or swimming! Just make sure your vehicle isn’t obstructing the ongoing traffic (^_-)-☆.

As you can drive on the beach shore regardless of the season, the driveway is a popular spot for people who enjoy driving across the country.

☛ If you intend to swim or do some sort of water sports here, watch out for any rip currents for your safety. And just keep in mind that no lifeguards will be stationed here.
☛ Try to avoid driving in areas that are whiter in color. The sand in those areas contains less water, and your tires might get stuck in the sand.

© 石川県観光連盟

An important thing to note is that partial or full driveway closure may occur if it is determined that driving on the beach shore won’t be safe (mainly due to high waves). This mostly happens from November to March when strong winds blow on the Sea of Japan. In this case, you will be directed back to the normal expressway.

Tip: Before you hop into your car, check out the current road status on Ishikawa Prefecture’s website HERE. On the top left corner, there is a box head heading “【観光道路情報】“. If next to the “千里浜なぎさドライブウェイ”, it says “規制なし”, the whole 8 km driveway is opened. On the other hand, if it says “規制あり”, you might want to give the beach a pass on the day.

Explore Chirihama Beach Driveway and the Noto Peninsula With a Guided Tour

If you prefer a guide to introduce you to the beauty of the Noto Peninsula or a photographer to take professional photos for you, how about joining one of the below tours?

The Best Time to Be at Chirihama Beach Driveway

  • Late afternoon for the beautiful sunset view
  • Before dawn to see the sunrise. You might be able to see a morning haze if you are lucky!
  • From late April to late November for sand sculptures
    • From late April, sand sculptures of smaller sizes will start appearing at Chirihama Beach
    • From late May, artists will start working on sculptures of a larger scale. All artworks are usually finished by August.

Things to Watch Out for at Chirihama Beach Driveway

  • Drive slowly. It really isn’t a place that is suitable for speeding.
  • Watch out for pedestrians that will potentially step into your driving course.
  • Park at designated areas if there are any. In summer, the driveway is divided into two zones marked by rope. The side next to the sea is for people to park their vehicles and enjoy the beach. So please don’t park on the other side to annoy other drivers who are just passing by.

Tip: If you are looking for a toilet, there is one close to the Chirihama Rest House (能登千里浜レストハウス) at the other end of the driveway.

How to Get to Chirihama Beach Driveway

  • To get to the starting point of the driveway from Kanazawa, take the Noto Satoyama Kaido (のと里山海道) and get off the highway at Imahama Interchange (今浜IC). You will be at the beach in no time.
    • If you are coming from the north, get off the highway at Chirihama Interchange (千里浜IC).
  • On average, people spend an hour or two at this destination.

Discover Other Awesome Attractions on the Noto Peninsula

Looking forward to visiting Chirihama Beach Driveway during your next Japan trip? The beach is only one of the many fascinating attractions on the Noto Penisula.

To find out more attractions you may be interested in, refer to our article on the Noto Peninsula!

Click the photo for more information about this amazing spot!

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