From spring to autumn every year, the southern shores of the Atsumi Peninsula lure big crowds of surfers from across the country. There are some 10 major beaches along the Pacific; particularly popular for its big waves is Akabane Beach, located roughly midway down the peninsula stretching to Cape Irago.
Much of the Atsumi Peninsula is idyllic, pastoral farmland, dotted with greenhouses for the region's specialties: melons and chrysanthemums, grown under incandescent lamps so they flower a little later than usual. Along the coast are long, sandy beaches, bordered by hilly belts of unspoilt greenery.
As dusk approaches on Akabane Beach, young surfers lay down their boards and listen pensively to the sound of waves.
On weekends during the surfing season, the region transforms itself into a surfers' mecca. Cars pack the free parking lots along the beach and spill over onto the adjacent roads, sometimes hampering traffic. A quick glance at the license plates reveals that these aficionados come here not just from Aichi but also as far away as the Kansai and Kanto regions hundreds of kilometers away.
"I surf almost every weekend," claims one visitor from Osaka, who drove with friends for five hours through the night to get to Akabane. "I check the wave reports and head down to where the best beaches seem to be. I guess I wind up coming here a lot in the summer, though." For serious surfers, the time spent reaching the sea seems not to matter, as long as they have good waves to ride on.
As vast as the ocean may be, no two waves are exactly alike, so surfers are perpetually challenged to raise their skills. Offering myriad opportunities for both improvement and just plain fun, Akabane Beach is sure to become an even more popular destination for surfers of all levels.
(Photos by Yuzo Tsubouchi, Text by Setsuko Matsuda)