Vegetarian's Japan Guide

The Complete Guide to Tokashiki Island’s Most Popular Spot, Aharen Beach

Aharen Beach (阿波連ビーチ), on the south of Tokashiki Island, is the most lively beach on the entire island. A photo taken from the south end of Aharen Beach could capture the entire arch-shaped beach’s beauty. When the weather is good, you will have the islands from afar as a backdrop and a blue sky with white clouds complementing Aharen Beach’s Kerama Blue color!

© 沖縄観光コンベンションビューロー

If the waves are calm, you can walk as far as 30 meters offshore safely!

In winter, the best way to enjoy Aharen Beach is probably SUP. Standing on the board allows you to stay dry as you observe the beautiful coral reefs from above. You should also be able to spot the tropical fish swimming underneath you.

Explore Aharen Beach and Tokashiki Island With a Guided Tour

If you prefer a guide to introduce you to the charms of Aharen Beach and Tokashiki Island, how about joining one of the below tours?

How to Get to Aharen Beach

  • Aharen Beach is around a 20-minute drive from Tokashiki Port (渡嘉敷港).
  • Although the number of services is limited, you can also take a bus from Tokashiki Port. The bus ride will take around 15 minutes.
    • For more information about Tokashiki Sightseeing Bus, refer to our Tokashiki article.
  • While you can rent a bicycle on Tokashiki Island, it is not recommended due to the hilly terrain.
  • Your accommodation most likely provides free pick-up and drop-off services to and from Aharen Beach. Please check with them in advance.

Refer to our guide to Tokashiki Island for information about How to Get to Tokashiki Port!

Tip: Sign up for the Kerama Tokashiki Island Swimming, Snorkeling, and Turtle-Finding Tour to save yourself the trouble of planning your visit to Ahraren Beach. The packaged tour includes a return trip from Tomari Port in Naha to Aharen Beach, shower and changing room access, and insurance!

The Facilities at Aharen Beach

The beach is equipped with toilets and paid shower facilities at Tokashiki Village Youth Travel Village (渡嘉敷村青少年旅行村). Many stores and rental shops are close to the shore to serve all those who come to Aharen Beach to enjoy a wide range of water sports during the swimming season from mid-April to October.

Even if you come empty-handed, you could still enjoy diving here as long as you have cash with you (^_-)-☆.

About Swimming and Snorkeling at Aharen Beach

While the beach is branded as the best beach on Tokashiki Island, there are a few things to keep in mind before you get too excited when visiting it from mid-April to October.

  • Depending on which part of the beach you are at, the beach can sometimes be muddy. If that is the case, simply head to another part of the beach.
  • As you snorkel between the coral reefs, you will most likely encounter tropical fish, but probably not Nemo. If you want to widen the types of fish you might see as you dive down, Tokashiku Beach would be a better beach.
  • When the lifeguards are stationed, Aharen Beach is divided by lane rope into three areas:
    • Swimming Surveillance Area
    • Swimming Restricted Area
    • Boat Route Area
  • You will have more freedom in the Swimming Restricted Area, provided you are wearing a life jacket. If you enter the Boat Route Area, the lifeguard will ask you to leave the area.

☛ Lifeguards are usually stationed at Aharen Beach from mid-April to October from 9 am to 6 pm.
☛ If you are an experienced snorkeler or diver, it is recommended to swim at other beaches on Tokashiki Island because the swimmable area is limited during the swimming season to ensure everyone’s safety. Hijuishi Beach (ヒジュイシビーチ), north of Aharen Beach, is within a walking instance.
☛ While the rental shop’s staff might ask you to rent a lifejacket, it is not a must if you are confident with your swimming skills, unless you want to board the Banana Boat (the tour’s cost includes a lifejacket, though).
☛ The shower rooms and coin-operated lockers are limited. It is best to arrive early.

Hanari Island (ハナリ島)

In addition, you can board a banana boat to the uninhabited island, Hanari-jima, located around 800 meters away. The small island opposite Aharen Beach is visible from the shore. A photo with it as the backdrop would also be quite scenic!

You can also hike up the hill for a wide view of the surrounding islands from a different angle. Because the island is uninhabited, it is a great spot for exploration besides snorkeling!

© 沖縄観光コンベンションビューロー

If you are a fan of Shibugakitai (シブがき隊), a Japanese band active in the 1980s, you will find their statues on Hanari Island (^_-)-☆. They were made and placed there when the band visited the island. But just note these statues are weathered and can be somewhat horrific to look at (´▽`*).

If you are interested, refer to Marine House Aharen’s website HERE!

☛ There is no shade on the coast, so it is recommended to bring a beach umbrella if you plan to visit Hanari Island.
☛ You can also rent a SUP or canoe and paddle your way to Hanari Island.
☛ If the east coast is muddy, check out the west coast for snorkeling. However, you will likely encounter more fish on the east side because tourists have been feeding them there.

☛ Water shoes are a must for walking on the rocky shore. Snorkeling vests are also highly recommended because the current can sometimes be fast.
☛ Fins are essential for your safety if you want to dive deeper down.
☛ There are no facilities on the island, only vegetation.
☛ If you need a life jacket, remember to rent one from the rental shop at Aharen Beach. The lifejacket needs to be returned after you get off the Banana Boat.

Kubandaki Observatory (クバンダキ展望台)

On the west end of Aharen Beach, Kubandaki Observatory, located on a 27-meter-tall hill, is another popular photography spot. Because the observatory is just next to Aharen Beach, it is also called Aharen Observatory. Besides a panoramic beach view during the day, the sunset from Kubandaki Observatory is also awe-inspiring!

From Kubandaki Observatory, you will have the stunning Aharen Beach on your left, Hanari Island in front of you, and Hijuishi Beach, Zamami Island and Aka Island on your right. Just below the west side of the observatory, there is a place called Kubandagi (クバンダギの拝所) for worshipping the Kuba Island (久場島) west of Geruma Island (慶留間島). This is why the observatory was named Kubandaki. As a side note, the low mountainous area north of the place of worship is called Mt. Kuba (クバ山), where a plant called Kuba grows densely. The leaves of Kuba were used to make the ship sail, at least from the 10th century.

So why would the locals worship Kuba Island? It is because they believe it is where the God of Seeding descends. The god then visits Aharen from Kuba Island.

Tip: The recommended time to visit Kubandaki Observatory is before noon for a better sea colour, before sunrise, and at sunset.

How to Get to Kubandaki Observatory

  • The camping ground’s car park can be used for free.
  • There is also a path from Aharen Port by going from the scenic spot Tunnel Rock (トンネル岩).

Kerama Terrace (ケラマテラス)

For those who have the luxury to spend a night on Tokashiki Island, consider booking a room with Kerama Terrace as soon as possible. Because among all the islands in Kerama Islands, it is the only resort-style hotel, and it only has seven guestrooms!

Conveniently located less than a 5-minute walk from Aharen Beach, the hotel provides everything you need to enjoy the Kerama Blue-colored beach. All equipment can be rented from the hotel and you can participate in their diving and snorkeling tours!

Furthermore, the hotel caters to special dietary requirements. So be sure to inform them in advance if you need this special arrangement (^_-)-☆.

Important: The hotel doesn’t have any English-speaking staff.

You can refer to our article on Tokashiki Island for English-speaker-friendly accommodations.

Sea Friend (シーフレンド)

An English-speaker-friendly accommodation that you can consider is Sea Friend. While it doesn’t have a fancy appearance or facility, your stay here will be cozy and comfortable, especially with the friendly staff! Plus it is located on the first street parallel to Aharen Beach!

Although it is a guest house style accommodation, basic toiletries such as towels, toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo and body soap are all included. A hairdryer is placed in all rooms too.

☛ Make sure you book a room with a toilet and a shower if you don’t want to share the facilities with others. And not all rooms have a WiFi connection.
☛ Sea Friend isn’t able to cater to special dietary requirements. But the buffet breakfast has a couple of dishes you might be able to eat.

In addition to the BnB, Sea Friend also has staff experienced in leading snorkeling and diving tours. Everything required for snorkeling/diving can be rented from Sea Friends. But it is best to bring your swimsuits. If interested, make a reservation with them to secure your spot on the day.

Lockers can also be rented out for 300 yen if you want to store your valuables securely.

☛ You can use the shower rooms and change rooms for free before check-in and after check-out, provided it is on the day.
☛ If you can’t get to Tokashiki Island due to bad weather conditions, they won’t charge you cancelation fees but do let them know that you won’t be able to come.
☛ Hotel guests can get a discount on the fees for diving and snorkeling tours.
☛ If you join one of the diving sessions held by Sea Friends, they can pick you up and drop you off from other accommodations on Tokashiki Island.

How to Get to Sea Friend

  • Sea Friend is just a 2-minute walk from Aharen Beach.
  • Since they provide free pick-up and drop-off services, remember to let them know if you would like to utilize them when booking. Once you get off the ferry, the car/minibus with the Sea Friend sign should already be waiting for you at the port.

Niraikanai Lodge (ペンション ニライカナイ)

Another accommodation close to Aharen Beach is Niraikanai Lodge, especially if you speak Japanese. While the friendly staff can’t speak conversational English, they can try their best to cater to special dietary requirements!

The lodge has three different types of guestrooms, all equipped with a toilet and a shower, including a suite room that has a spacious balcony attached. The price you pay includes two meals, dinner and breakfast. But if you prefer to have a simple kitchenette, a bigger TV screen, and a washing machine with dryer functions in your room, be sure to book the suite room.

One thing to note is that while it is convenient for many that the lodge’s first floor is an Izakaya, it can be noisy for some people at night.

Important: Toiletries and towels will be provided. But the towels can only be used in the lodge. It is not allowed to use the towels provided at the beach.

Tip: Check with the staff to see if you can use the shower facility before check-in and after check-out.

How to Get to Niraikanai Lodge

Similar to Sea Friend, Niraikanai Lodge provides its guests with pick-up and drop-off services from/to Tokashiki Port if you let them know which ferry you will catch in advance.

Discover Other Attractions on Tokashiki Island

Click the photo for more information about Tokashiki Island!

As mentioned, Aharen Beach isn’t the only place to enjoy swimming and snorkeling on Tokashiki Island. The island has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, with close to 20 diving spots. In winter, you can also join a tour for your chance to spot the humpback whales!

For more information, refer to our article on Tokashiki Island!