A pacific island, temperatures around 30 degrees, warm, transparent water – what else could one wish for a day at the beach? Not much, one would think. When we first arrived in Oshima, we just took our stuff and marched right off the boat in Motomachi to the nearest swimming beach indicated on the map, Kobo-hama. Maybe not the most beautiful beach ever, but there was black sand, and the water was clean. Only: there was not a soul. We shared the beach only with a big crab sitting on a log close to the waterline. Normally, one would dream of having a beach all to oneself, but here it somehow felt creepy. There had to be something wrong with it. After a while, we convinced ourselves that there was nothing wrong. It was just that the sea had already closed. The Japanese seem to be far less crazy about swimming in the sea than us Europeans. I heard that they maybe go once per season or so. Plus, there is the concept of the sea opening in early July and closing again in late August. And this is not really tied to how good the conditions for swimming actually are. While personally, I had found the summer heat so prohibitive that I wouldn’t even have gone to the beach then, now it was perfect.
For people with less cultural scruples who are just looking for a nice swim, I can really recommend the Oshima beaches in September. The water is still warm, the temperature pleasant and for once, it is for sure not crowded!