I went to Ushimado Town from Okayama city which usually takes about 50 minutes if you drive on the normal roads. Before getting to Ushimado Town you should turn right at the traffic light written Kashino （鹿忍）heading south. Driving along the narrow road, passing some pensions (resort homes), there is the beach called “Yayori-gahama” in the Nishiwaki area. It is also referred to as ‘Nishiwaki bathing place.
Popular beaches in Okayama are Shibukawa (in Tamano City) or Sami beach (in Kurashiki City). This beach is well-known to locals who are familiar with the area and during any season, it's a good place to help you forget your cares and relax. Along the coast road, the sand stretches for about 400m. The sea is calm and shallow for some distance from the shore. It's a picturesque place, selected as one of the Best Eight Scenic Places of Ushimado.
From here you can see Shodoshima Island as well as the mountains on Shikoku Island.
When I was walking around the area, I met a local man whose house sits only 5 meters from the sand's edge. He was born and grew up there and even though he lived in Yokohama for many years, he always knew he would return to this area. He said, “If you spend time in Ushimado you will never want to live anywhere else.”
He told me the origin of Yayorigahama. Ya is an arrow and Yori means coming near. At the end of the Heian Era, there was a war in Yashima Island (located in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture) between the Genji clan and the Heishi clan. At that time they used many arrows. After the war, they drifted to this beach. But don’t worry if you're visiting today, you won’t be hit by any arrows.
Here you can enjoy swimming in summer, fishing in any season and walking around the hillside to try and find the best viewpoint.
“The rising sun is especially wonderful”, the local man told me. In winter the sun rises just over Shodoshima Island and it's breath-taking every day you see it.