千里浜なぎさドライブウェイ(Chirihama nagisa driveway) is a only place in Japan that people can drive along the beach. According to Wikipedia, there are three beaches that people can drive in the world including Chirihama nagisa driveway. The other two are Daytona Beach in the US and 90 mile Beach(Waitarere Beach) in New Zealand. Chirihama nagisa driveway is 8 km (about 4.8 miles), and it is also a swimming beach. The Trip advisor announced that Chirihama nagisa driveway was chosen for the best beach in Japan in 2016.
The meaning of 千里浜(Chirihama), and なぎさ(nagisa)
千 means “thousand”, 里 is an old measurement system used in Japan(1里=about 4km/ 2.4 miles).千里 is a figurative word for “a long distance” (It is 4,000km if we calculate 千(thousand) times 里(4km) but the beach is actually only 8km/4.97miles long.) 浜 means beach, andなぎさ(渚nagisa) means the water’s edge.
Why can people drive on the beach?
The grains of sand are usually 0.5mm to 1mm at other beaches, but they are 0.25mm at Chirihama nagisa driveway. They absorb saltwater and harden, and that’s why people can drive on the beach. However, there might be a possibility that tires get stuck in the sand where it is not hard enough. It is safer that you drive on the tire tracks on the beach when you drive there. You can drive by a motorbike as well.
The beach is closed when stormy weather
It is needless to say that it’s dangerous to dive on the beach in stormy weather. Summer is the best season to swim in the sea (Or I should rather say it’s too cold to swim in other seasons in Japan) However, there are many typhoons that approach or hit Japan during summer and the beginning of autumn. You will need to choose the day you go to Chirihama nagisa driveway carefully if you want to drive there. Typhoons don’t come to Japan during winter, but the sea in Japan tends to be turbulent instead, and there are big waves during winter. It’s not a good idea to drive on Chirihama nagisa driveway in that season.
You will not be able to drive on Chirihama nagisa driveway in twenty years!
The beach used to be 50 meters wide in 1994, but it was about 35 meters in 2011. It has been encroached by the sea gradually. Some specialists expect that the beach will be gone in twenty years because of the erosion caused by the rising of sea level due to the influence of global warming. Apparently, Ishikawa prefecture started the project of saving the beach, and they are planning to move dredged sediments from Kanazawa port to the beach. I don’t know if this will work, but I hope Chirihama nagisa drive way will stay as it is, and people can drive there in the future as well.
Chirihama nagisa drive way
Address : Chirihama-machi, Hakui-city, Hakui-gun, Ishikawa prefecture, Japan
You can check the live camera→ http://www.city.hakui.ishikawa.jp/sypher/www/livecamera/