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Katsurahama - A Beautiful Beach on the Japanese Island of Shikoku

Katsurahama enchants you with its pebble beach, vertical cliffs, giant rocks, powerful water and peaceful character. It lies between the dragon head and the dragon king.

by Bob Kerstetter

Katsurahama ranks among the top 100 Beaches in Japan. You visit this strip along the retouched-blue Pacific Ocean to enjoy the audio and video—the sounds, shapes and colors of magnificently dangerous waters.

Brilliant water breaks on the rocks of Katsurahama  near Ryūzu Point, marking the northeast end of the beach. Katsura Beach is one of the top 100 beaches in Japan, but not for swimming because of its strong currents.

Brilliant water breaks on the rocks of Katsurahama near Ryūzu Point, marking the northeast end of the beach. Katsura Beach is one of the top 100 beaches in Japan, but not for swimming because of its strong currents.

Katsurahama enchants you with its pebble beach, vertical cliffs, giant rocks, powerful water and peaceful character. The Pacific Ocean—by far the largest known saltwater sea in the solar system—plays its part by power-washing the shore with its brilliant and pounding billows.

Katsurahama beacons you to sit and enjoy the colors and sounds of the waves.

Katsurahama beacons you to sit and enjoy the colors and sounds of the waves.

The Japanese caretakers give the beach a boost by manicuring and maintaining its nature. They provide access to anyone on foot or wheelchair.

While you can stroll along the pebble beach, you can also amble on the paved walkways set back a bit from the water at Katsurahama.

While you can stroll along the pebble beach, you can also amble on the paved walkways set back a bit from the water at Katsurahama.

Katsurahama—Katsura Beach in English—sits on the south coast of the Japanese Island of Shikoku, near Kochi City. It faces west, toward the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. Visitors remember Katsura Beach for its beautiful scenery, pebble beach, strong currents and crashing waves.

The Pacific Ocean at Katsurahama appears as retouched blue when viewed from Ryūō Point at the southwestern end of the beach.

The Pacific Ocean at Katsurahama appears as retouched blue when viewed from Ryūō Point at the southwestern end of the beach.

Katsurahama Park—adjacent to the beach—is also home of a 5.3-meter tall statue to Sakamoto Ryōma—a popular hero who advocated modernizing Japan during the years leading up to the Meiji Restoration. The Ryōma sculpture stands on top of a base 13.5 meters in height.

A monument near Katsurahama honors Sakamoto Ryōma, a late-Edo-era samurai and native of Kochi City.  Called by his given name because of the affection directed toward him by the Japanese people, Ryōma receives acclaim for supporting the movement to end feudal rule in Japan and bring in the Meiji Restoration. The monument stands at Katsurahama Park, set back a bit from the beach.

A monument near Katsurahama honors Sakamoto Ryōma, a late-Edo-era samurai and native of Kochi City. Called by his given name because of the affection directed toward him by the Japanese people, Ryōma receives acclaim for supporting the movement to end feudal rule in Japan and bring in the Meiji Restoration. The monument stands at Katsurahama Park, set back a bit from the beach.

Katsura Beach stretches between Ryūzu Point—Dragon Head Point—on the northeast to Ryūō Point—Dragon King Point—on the southwest.

When you look to the southwest, Ryūō Point marks the end of Katsurahama. You can see Watatsumi Shrine on top of Ryūō Point.

When you look to the southwest, Ryūō Point marks the end of Katsurahama. You can see Watatsumi Shrine on top of Ryūō Point.

Watatsumi Shrine on top of Ryūō Point honors the spirit (kami) of the sea—Watatsumi, the sea serpent or sea dragon—according to Shinto tradition.

Steps lead up and under the torii—Shinto shrine gate—of Watatsumi Shrine.

Steps lead up and under the torii—Shinto shrine gate—of Watatsumi Shrine.

In Japanese hiragana the name of the beach is かつらはま—ka(か)-tsu(つ)-ra(ら) for Katsura and ha(は)-ma(ま) for Beach. 桂浜 is the name in kanji.

A man approaches Watatsumi Shrine near the edge of Ryūō Point. Other shrines in Japan also honor the spirit of the sea.

A man approaches Watatsumi Shrine near the edge of Ryūō Point. Other shrines in Japan also honor the spirit of the sea.

Shikoku is the least populated and least developed of the four largest Japanese islands. It is accessible by rail, auto, ferry, air and foot from Honshu, the largest of the islands. Shikoku consists of green mountains and emerald valleys.

A hawk glides below as you view the emerald waters from Ryūō Point at Katsurahama.

A hawk glides below as you view the emerald waters from Ryūō Point at Katsurahama.

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