When I was on the prowl for a beach in Japan, locals rolled their eyes and told me to go to Hawaii. Determined, I poked around a bit and found the sweet Miyajima Island, just off the coast of Hiroshima. Sure the water isn't fit for swimming, but this picturesque shrine lures travelers to hang out along the promenade to watch the sun rise and set as scores of deer chill out around the beach. As the tide rolls in, this shrine seems to float atop the sea.
I wish we had budgeted more than a night to explore this little island's treasures, which include a ropeway, hot springs, hiking and many historic buildings.
Nevertheless, the laid back feel and the yummy okonomiyaki did the trick. Relaxing us a bit before heading back to Tokyo.