The Ibaraki coast from Hasaki to Mito is long and straight in the north by northwest direction, with concrete jetties every few kilometers. On Saturday 29 June I will lead a car-based TWMC beach and onsen trip to Top Sante in Taiyo-mura. Although Tsukuba is close to the biggest ocean in the world, I regret that I don’t find time to go there more often. The drive from Tsukuba takes about 75 minutes.
The sandy beach at Top Sante is suitable and safe for anyone able to walk down the steps from the parking lot, but note that there are no lifeguards and the surf can be dangerous; furthermore, sometimes rip tides develop along the jetties. Although June is outside the ‘official’ Japanese beach season, this beach is popular with surfers and is likely to be busy if surf is up. There are no public bathrooms on the beach, but there are public bathrooms up the hill about 300 m in the onsen parking lot. It is quite possible that the beach parking lot will be full when we arrive; if so, then we’ll drop off gear and passengers at the beach, and the drivers will park in the onsen parking lot and walk down.
This municipal sports/onsen complex website has a nice video of the onsen and beach: https://topsante-hokota.com/
I’ll bring along a cooler, sun shelter, some beach chairs, a kite and some boogie boards. Waves are not predictable this long in advance, but you can see some relevant information at this site: https://ja.magicseaweed.com/Kashima-Ibaraki-Surf-Report/4014/. The ocean should be substantially warmer in late June than it is now (17C), but those who plan to spend more than a short time in the water will be more comfortable in at least a short wetsuit. Short fins are very helpful to those who body surf or boogie board. It is also fun to walk or run barefoot along the beach.
After enjoying the beach and ocean, we will move up the hill to the sports /onsen complex. The onsen is natural and the water is brown due to the humic compounds it contains. I enjoy the ocean view from the rotemburo. If you prefer to swim in the indoor pool, then bring a swim cap. If you would like to use the fitness gym, then bring indoor-only sneakers and gym clothes.
I expect that we will get back to Tsukuba by late afternoon.
Meeting place: Tsukuba Station
Meeting time: 8 am, Saturday 29 June
The trip might be postponed in the event of bad weather
Wear a bathing suit or, if you will not enter the surf, loose comfortable clothes
Bring the following:
A hat and sunscreen or clothes to cover yourself
Beach toys such as kites, frisbees, boogie boards, surf boards, etc.
Beach chair, wetsuit and short fins optional
Lunch and plenty of water to drink
Change of clothes (for after onsen)
Expected per participant costs:
300 yen club fee
About 750 to 850 yen for onsen (more if you use the pool or gym; I don’t remember the exact price)
A share of the car fuel costs (drivers excluded); probably on the order of 2000 yen to be calculated on the day
TWMC accepts no responsibility for participant safety.
Ivan, Laura, Sarah and Rick (leader) gathered on schedule at Tsukuba Station on time at 8 am on 13 July for the TWMC beach and onsen trip. Three more wanted to participate, but we had only one car/driver available. The drive to Top Sante beach took about 75 minutes on local roads along a scenic route across Kasumigaura Ohashi and along route 354 across Kitaura. The weather was warm and somewhat overcast, but in a pleasant change from recent weeks, it did not rain. The surf was about .7 to 1 m, with occasional slightly larger sets breaking beyond the jetty. After setting up our spot with a large sunshade, several of us ventured into the waves for boogie boarding or body surfing. The water was cool, but it feels great.
After lunch, we filled 3 Tsukuba City burnable trash bags with plastic waste from the beach. I would estimate that our efforts partially cleaned about 30 m along the high tide line. We could have gathered much more if we had either a local place to leave the bags or more space in the car to transport them back to Tsukuba, which we did. I left the bags in my local garbage collection place with the other burnable trash on the following Monday. We asked Taiyo city about trash collection a few days before the trip. They would have allowed us to leave trash bags near city hall, but I didn’t know where that is. In the future, it might be nice to coordinate a beach onsen event with an official Taiyo city beach cleanup day to facilitate collection of more trash. Seeing so much plastic trash on the shore is a discouraging, world-wide phenomenon. In addition to properly disposing of waste plastic, let’s reduce our individual and collective use.
In the afternoon we enjoyed frisbee, some more wave riding, and relaxing before heading up the small hill to the Taiyomura onsen. We left around 5 pm and got back to Tsukuba Center by about 6:30.