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Goza Shirahama

Aerial view of Goza Beach
Aerial view of Goza Beach (33kb)
Goza Shirahama Beach is what so many of Japan's once beautiful beaches could be, but unfortunately aren't. The white sand beach is the main summer attraction of Goza - a sleepy fishing village located at the very tip of the Shima peninsula.

Goza is fairly isolated. There is only one road to the village, and it is too far for all but the most intrepid urban day-trippers to visit. It isn't a surf beach, the water is smooth and emerald green. Its great for swimming as there are virtually no waves. (For surf beaches, try the beaches on the Atsumi Peninsula in Aichi Prefecture, or Kou Shirahama east of Ugata)

Swimming - Japanese style
Swimming - Japanese style
The water is clean, there are offshore pontoons for you to climb on and rest (or jump off), and there is plenty of room on the long white beach for out-of-water fun. The Japanese like to number and rank things - and Goza Shirahama Beach has been selected as one of Japan's top 88 beaches. It has a tropical like atmosphere in the summer.

Swimming - Yamasa student style
Swimming - Yamasa student style
In the early mornings or on weekdays (even in the peak season) the beach is virtually empty. The white sand can be crowded on weekends in the summertime, particularly in the afternoons during school/university holidays. In addition to the many minshuku and ryokan, there are small cabins (called "bungalow" - but actually like small tatami floored huts/shacks) that can be rented just meters from the beach, and car camping is available - so the beach is popular with university students and the young. There are plenty of shops, ice-cream vendors etc. Fireworks are permitted on the beach at night (Saturday nights are the most popular).

Parasols on the Beach
Parasols on the Beach
The beach however is not the village's sole activity, employer or attraction. The history of Goza is considerably older than the combination of sunscreen, bikini and parasol umbrellas would suggest. The local economy is marine based - Goza has an important local fish market as it is one of the few villages in the area with a sealed road (many of the fishing trawlers based on the local islands bring their catch to Goza's fish market).

Beachfront shops - tropical feel
Beachfront shops - tropical feel
Most of the men are still involved in fishing and trawling, many of the women continue to work as ama divers connected with the pearl and shellfish industry. Tourism though has become a vital earner for the locals, and excellent seafood is one of the main atractions of the local minshuku

One of the best things to do is to stay overnight in one of the Minshuku. The seafood banquets are exactly that, and can be pretty educational too (as in - "what on earth am I eating now???" - view slideshow). The families mostly speak Kansai-ben (the dialect of the Osaka region), though with the exception of some of the older villagers, most can speak hyoujun-go just as well. Go for a late night stroll, light your fireworks, do some star-gazing (there is no air-pollution obscuring your view), and get up early for a visit to the fish market (if it isn't a busy weekend, the minshuku operators may take you there and show you your breakfast while its still alive...) or an early morning swim while the beach is still empty.

Photographs - click on any image to enlarge...

James Veronico Beachball volleyball Facilities, showers, shops behind beach Platform for resting/diving Oyster shells from Ago Bay Kanpai! Fish market/port

How to get to Goza Shirahama?

1: By train/ferry:

Take the Kintetsu line from Ise to Kashikojima, and walk down to the pier for the ferry. It is 25 minutes on the boat, and you might be able to see some of the ama divers working the oyster beds.

2: By road:

Take route 260 - its the only way to get there. You can join route 260 from Ugata (take route 167 south from Toba) or from the southern end of the pearl road - a scenic route from east of Toba. Rent a car is probably the cheapest way if you can share the costs. It will also allow you to fit Toba, Futamigaura, the surf beach at Kou Shirahama, the Ise Grand shrines and Okage Yokocho into an easy 2 day schedule.

3: The Japan Discovery Tours also visit Goza village.
Click here for more information regarding when Discovery visits this destination.

Japan Discovery tours

Photographs and contributions

Do you have good photographs or a story to share about Goza? Please share it with us.

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Opening hours, prices, booking procedures, schedules etc are subject to changes beyond our control. Check and confirm in advance. Suggestions, additions and correction of errors are always welcome. Please contact guidebook@yamasa.org

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