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Tokashiku Beach: The best place to Swim With Turtles on Tokashiki Island

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Tokashiku is one of the two main beaches on Tokashiki Island in the Keramas Island group. It’s located on the central west coast of the island and is one of the top destinations to see sea turtles in Japan’s Okinawa prefecture.

Tokashiku Beach is much less crowded than the very popular Aharen Beach so if you want to enjoy a white sandy beach with the “Kerama blue” water but don’t wish to be surrounded by tourists, Tokashiku Beach is certainly the place to be.

There is a hotel right on the beach which you can stay in if you want to stay close by, otherwise, you have the choice to stay in Tokashiki or Aharen where they have a few guesthouse options instead.

Not only is this a great place to see sea turtles in Okinawa, but this is also a fantastic beach to watch the sunset due to being west-facing. The stunning landscape being painted by the red sky is the perfect way to finish up a day of snorkelling and soaking up the Japanese sunshine.

Country:Japan
Currency:Japanese Yen / JPY
Do you need a visa to visit as tourists?Check here

If you wish to stay connected during your stay in Japan, consider getting a Japanese SIM card with data access. Available on 8, 16 or 31-day plans, you can have a sim card ordered to your hotel within 1 week of your expected arrival


Tokashiku Beach in Japan Okinawa
The north/right side of Tokashiku Beach the direction where you can see the turtles

How to get to Tokashiki Island?

If you are travelling from Okinawa Island, you will first need to reach Tokishiki in the Keramas Island group. You can do this by taking a boat from Naha’s Tomari Port. Unfortunately, there is no way to fly to the island so boat travel is the only way to get there.

From Naha, there are two boats that travel to Tokashiki Island: Ferry Tokashiki & Marine Liner Tokashiki

You can purchase tickets for both boats online here

Ferry Tokashiki

(Summer Schedule)
Depart NahaArrive Tokashiki
Naha at 10:00Tokashiki at 11:10
Tokashiki at 16:00Naha at 17:10
This journey takes 70 minutes and can carry 450 people,
(Winter Schedule)
Depart Arrive
Naha at 10:00Tokashiki at 11:10
Tokashiki at 15:30Naha at 16:40
This journey takes 70 minutes and can carry 450 people,

Marine Liner Tokashiki

(Summer Schedule)
Depart (Summer)Arrive (Summer)
Naha at 9:00Tokashiki at 09:35
Tokashiki at 10:00Naha at 10.35
Naha at 16:30Tokashiki at 17:05
Tokashiki at 17:30Naha at 18:05
This journey takes 35-40 minutes and holds 200 people.
(Winter Schedule)
Depart (Winter)Arrive (Winter)
Naha at 09:00Tokashiki at 09:35
Tokashiki at 10:00Naha at 10:35
Naha at 16:00Tokashiki at 16:35
Tokashiki at 17:00Naha at 17:35
This journey takes 35-40 minutes and holds 200 people.

During some holiday periods, the Marine Liner schedule will be slightly different. To keep up to date with accurate departure times, check out the official website here.

Planning on travelling around the Keramas to other islands too? Check out this post.


White sandy beach on Tokashiku Beach in Okinawa
The south/left side of the beach

How to get to Tokashiku Beach?

Location: 1919-1 Tokashiki, Shimajiri District, Okinawa 901-3501, Japan

Tokashiku Beach can be reached on foot or by car. There isn’t the option to take public transport, however, most guesthouses can arrange a pick-up or drop-off service to the beach. Depending on which guesthouse you arrange your transport through, this might be free or could cost 500JPY (£2.70)

Luckily, the island is relatively small so it is easy to get around on foot. Tokashiku Beach is located almost halfway between the two main villages. So there isn’t much time difference between the travel time from either place to the beach.

  • Walking to Tokashiku Beach from Aharen Beach will take approximately 40 minutes.
  • Walking to Tokashiku Beach from Tokashiki Port will take approximately 45 minutes.

Please be aware that to reach Tokashiku Beach you will be travelling downhill. This means when you leave to head back to one of the villages, you will be required to travel uphill. This can be tiring if you attempt it during the peak of the day.


Amenities at Tokishiku Beach

As well as having a lifeguard to keep visitors safe, the beach has a few amenities that you may find useful.

With the hotel in front of you and Tokashiku Beach to your left, you’ll find some public restrooms for visitor access. This is only a short walk from the beach itself and is a great place to freshen up and rinse the sand off before heading home.

Between the restrooms on the paved road and the sand, there is an observatory with some picnic benches underneath. This allows you to sit down away from the sand without being in the way of those who want to admire the view.


A large sea turtle swimming to the sea surface near Tokashiku Beach

How to see Sea Turtles on Tokashiku Beach?

There are two main ways to see the sea turtles on Tokashiku Beach. One of which is by independently swimming in the reef with a snorkel and mask, and the other is by joining a sea turtle tour.

Independently

If you want to try finding sea turtles by yourself, you might have a little difficulty. However, it is certainly not impossible. This is because at Tokishiku Beach the sea turtles only come close to the shoreline in one area so if you don’t see them there, you would need to swim out quite far. What’s great about this beach though is that the water stays relatively shallow for a while.

With your back to the Tokashiku Marine Villege Hotel and facing the sea, if you stay on the right-hand side of the beach you’ll find an area of the water which is slightly darker. This is where the reef is close to the shore and lots of seagrass grows.

Here you will find a few sea turtles that graze in the reef and this is the best place to get close to them. You’ll also see a square of buoys in place around 1 section where people are allowed to swim. This is mostly to protect the reef from damage, but also to keep swimmers safe.

During high tide, the chance of seeing turtles along the edge of the buoy lines is higher as they come a little closer to the shore. There is often a lifeguard on duty in the centre of the beach too for added peace of mind.

On A Tour

If you want to significantly increase your chances of seeing the sea turtles on Tokashiku Beach then I’d highly recommend taking a tour.

Not only are the tours run by experienced locals and guides, but they’ll take you out further from the shore for a high success rate. One of my favourite tours on the island was actually booked through the Keramas Backpackers Hostel as the owner also owns a water sports store down by Aharen Beach.

The tour starts at their store just up the ramp near the beach and then you’ll be driven by their minivan to Aharen Port just a short drive away. From here they will take the tour group to Aharen Port where you can board a small boat ready to head out to Tokashiku Beach.

The tour guide will lead your group out over the reef and help you find the sea turtles that call this area home. With an extremely high success rate, you’ll be pleased you got to enjoy this excursion.

A sea turtle hiding in the coral near Tokashiku Beach

What Sea Turtles Are Found Near Tokashiku Beach?

Although there are 7 different species of sea turtles in the world, only 3 are really found in the Okinawa region of Japan. Here in the Keramas, and especially Tokashiku Beach, you might be able to see one of the following species:

  • The loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta)
  • The green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)
  • The hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

Luckily for visitors to the beach, there is a small group of turtles that actually live inside this small bay due to the seagrass they like to eat.

Some other beaches in Okinawa where you can see turtles include:

If you’re wondering what other beaches are worth a visit during your visit to the Keramas Islands, don’t forget to visit Okinawa’s only Michelin Grade beach: Furuzamami Beach. There’s no guarantee you’ll see sea turtles as they are only spotted here occasionally, but it’s a stunning beach nonetheless!

Rules For Swimming With Turtles

– Do not follow the sea turtles, always give them space.
– Do not feed them.
– Do not touch any of the turtles.
– Don’t get too close and remember to keep a distance.
– Approach the turtles carefully if they are eating seagrass.
– Do not tread water near them in case you kick them by accident.


habu snake sign

Be Cautious of Local Wildlife!

In the wooded areas across the Island, and in the ocean, you need to be on the lookout for some of the dangerous creatures that call Okinawa home.

One of the most notable animals to be aware of is the habu snake as it is very venomous to humans. Although they typically come out only at night, that’s not to say you won’t come across them at other times.

Make sure to stay vigilant and watch where you are walking to prevent getting bitten by the habu or any other dangerous creature.


Where To Stay Near Tokashiku Beach?

Tokashiki Island may be the biggest in the Keramas Islands, but there are limited accommodation options as the population is rather small. Here are a few of my best recommendations depending on your trip budget:

Tokashiku Marine Villege – This hotel is located on the shoreline at the north end of Tokashiku Beach which means you don’t have to travel far after your sea turtle excursion. It’s a 3-star rated hotel with everything you could need during your stay on Tokashiki Island.

Keramas Backpackers Hostel – This hostel is not located on the beach but it’s roughly a 25-minute walk or quicker by cycling. This property has dorm-style rooms which are great for both solo and budget travellers and is in the village of Tokashiki.

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

Have you been to Tokashiku Beach and seen the turtles yet? How was your experience?

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