Thursday, June 16th, 2022

Shioashiya Beach: a photowalk before the rains come

Photograph of a sun shelter slightly offset to the left. There's a no swimming sign in front of it and the hint of a person sat on the benches

The rainy season was on its way. In a few days, the forecast promised, we would experience a month long torrent of wind and rain. Days trapped inside, or daring to venture out if willing to be soaked.

Our plan was simple: head to the Shioashiya Beach. The sun was out, the temperature climbing and a light breeze offered a calm, bright day. It was about 30 minutes by car, and would make a change from our usual haunt of Okura.

Shioshiya Beach is tucked away on a corner of an artificial island. It, and the adjacent parkland, take up almost a quarter of the reclaimed land. The rest is residential housing, a couple of supermarkets and a marina. The latter is on my “list of places to go back to” at some point after the rains have passed.

Photograph of a beach in Japan. The beach is in the bottom third, the sky above. To the right are trees and flood defenses vanishing in the distance, and in the background the tall spires of a suspension bridge
Don’t turn around, or you might be reminded you’re in a busy Japanese city

There are plenty of these beaches dotted around Kobe, offering a place to escape from the bustle of city life. Many are quirks of flood defenses, or designed to create a suggestion of nature in an artificial environment. You’ll usually find a mix of families, couples and groups of friends wandering around or playing on the sand. Small “wind cheater” tents appear to be as essential to the Japanese as a bucket and spade is to the British.

Photograph of a beach in Japan with the yellow sand in the bottom third, the sea in the middle third and sky in the top. In the middle ground are small tents with people relaxing, and in the background the mountains behind Osaka
The “wind cheater” tent is as essential on a Japanese beach as bucket and spade in the UK

We chose a seafront walk. The concrete flood defenses have become promenades to enjoy, offering views across Osaka Bay and the Inland Sea. There are busy docks all along the seafront, so expect to see the occasional ferry or container ship.

Photograph of a concrete walkway with the sea on the left and trees barely visible on the right
Flood defenses have been turned into a promenade for a relaxing walk
Photograph of a seafront in Japan. In the foreground is a sliver of rocks acting as a flood defense for a beach on the right, in the background are a complex of buildings making up a dock
Kobe’s docks beyond the entrance to the beach’s bay

Getting to the beach is a bit of a trek without a car. That said, if lounging around on the sand is your thing, it’s worth a visit.

I’ll be going back when the rains end.

Photograph of a white building in a Japanese style with blue patches and people sat outside enjoying coffee
A cafe set back from the seafront offers a break for the weary walker
Photograph of a tannoy on a pole with trees in the background
A reminder of Japan’s nervous relationship with nature
Photograph of a CCTV camera on a beach front
Watching them watching me
Photograph of a black power box against an off-white concrete wall

All photographs were taken on my Fujifilm X-T20 with a 35mm prime lens. Post production in Affinity Photo limited to crop/resize and watermark with my “cool blue” filter applied.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.