KANAGAWA / SHONAN
Shonan - This stretch of coast could be called the home of Japan surfing. The whole area is dotted with surf shops and surf clubs and there are a huge number of breaks to surf. The residential population is huge and so is the surf population. Tokyo is a daily commute and close enough for hordes to race to Shonan every time there is a swell.
Geographically it runs East to West from Kamakura to Atami, and includes reefbreaks, beachbreaks and rivermouths. The Sagami trough is a deep water trench that funnels SE ~ NW right into the bay and just a kilometer off shore its 1000m deep and drops to 9000m over 10km. Mount Everest could sit on the bottom and the summit would still be underwater.
Proximity to Tokyo and the other cities in this metropolis guarantees that when the waves are breaking - it is BUSY.
However, if you’re keen to look around and or can surf the dawn or mid week sessions you can find waves that are not too crowded. In general there are so many people here that the locals are mellow and its not uncommon to share waves.
The parking along the beach is around ¥2000 for the day or ¥300 per hour.
Shonan has a massive variety of waves to choose from within a small area. While we here at Surfing in Japan are 100 % focused on Typhoon days a huge portion of the surfing population are geared up for small clean waves and stay out of the water when it gets much overhead. One feature of the area is its ability to turn small wind swells into rideable waves at the drop of a hat. Often the wind will blow into the bay overnight and switch to offshore just before dawn grooming the swell into perfect knee to head high waves for 3-4 hours before blowing flat again. You've got to live here to get it and 100,000's do live here and do get it when ever it turns on.
Typhoons: Surprisingly Shonan also has some of the best setups in the whole Kanto area for when the swells get huge, including, reef breaks, river mouths, sheltered sand bottom points, harbour walls and inside-harbour beach breaks.
Shonan is deep inside Tokyo Bay and protected to the South by the Izu peninsular and to the North East by the Chiba Peninsular and to top it off the Ogasawara island chain also has a blocking effect.
Most of the waves Shonan gets are short period wind swells that are driven in by storms close to shore. The secret is that as these storms pass by Tokyo the winds turn into northerlies and blow offshore. Sometimes the whole coast lights up but often for only 3-4 hours.
Winter see swells predominately from the North and because of the blocking by Chiba they dont get into Shonan.
Typhoon Season is what everyone waits for - the typhoons often drive long period swells from the Philippines up and through the islands and into Tokyo Bay.
Often as the Typhoons pass over Tokyo the winds on the West side blow directly offshore.
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