Scuba diving in Japan? Yes, we know that Japan isn’t exactly the first country that comes to your mind when we talked about diving. But, everything seems possible here in Japan. If you must know, there are over 6,000 islands and only 430 of them are inhabited. You should also know that the four largest islands in Japan are Hokkaido, Honshu, Kyushu and Shikoku. Honshu is the largest and the most populated island in Japan. It is also the seventh biggest island in the world.
Four main islands of Japan.
Speaking of islands, there are so many activities that can be done in these great islands. For example, snorkelling, canoeing, kayaking, sun-bathing and scuba diving. In a nutshell, islands are a very calming place to relax after a long tiring day. Did you know that there are over 2,000 scuba diving sites in Japan?
First and foremost, let’s get to know some of the popular island destinations in Japan. Hokkaido Island is known for its cold water diving, which means you can dive in the deep blue sea even during winter. Honshu and Shikoku Island are a combination of cold and warm water temperature. You will see many kinds of sea creatures here. Ryukyu Island is home to 160 islands and 49 of them are inhabited. Lastly, a tropical paradise for most people is the Okinawa Island. In Okinawa, you can dive in the water all year long.
With that amount of places, these are among the top diving spots you should dive in to explore the underwater world of Japan.
Ogasawara Islands. Image Source: Wikimedia.
Ogasawara Islands is known as the Galapagos of the Orient since it is not connected to any continents. In a simpler word, the island lives independently ever since it was found. Other than that, in English, Ogasawara is called as Bonin Island. Located 1,000 kilometres off Tokyo, the only way in is through ferry rides. From Takeshiba Terminal, the journey will take approximately 26 hours to reach this island. Due to their remoteness, the ferry ride runs once every five days during peak season. Meanwhile, during the off-peak season, there is only one ferry ride per week.
Image Source: Life in Tokyo.
There are two main inhabited islands in Ogasawara, Chichijima (Father Island) and Haha-jima (Mother Island). Interestingly, this island is a subtropical climate which means you can visit the island anytime you want. The water temperature is usually from 22 – 25 Celsius. Among the sea creatures you will find while diving here is dogtooth tuna, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins, whales and Wrought Iron Butterflyfish. As for coral reefs, there are Brain Coral, Cauliflower Coral and Frogspawn Coral. Plus, you will also get c chance to see glowing mushrooms if you join in the night time land tours.
Wrought Iron Butterflyfish. Brain Coral.
Glowing mushrooms. Image Source: We Are Star Stuff on Tumblr.
Diving operators in Ogasawara Islands:
2. Papa’s Diving Studio
3. Ogasawara Diving Center
This small volcanic island of Kozushima is an ideal place to see blue water, white sand and do all sorts of outdoor activities. For example, camping, hiking, snorkelling and of course, scuba diving. From Takeshiba Terminal, take a ferry ride and you will reach the island within four hours. For a less consuming time, you can fly from Tokyo Chōfu Airport to Kozushima Airport and the trip will only take 35 minutes.
Akasaki Promenade. Image Source: Bureau of Environment Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
The main highlight of Kozushima Island is Akasaki Promenade. The attraction is a wooden walking path with suspension bridge built around rock cliffs, just a few metres above the sea. Apparently, you can jump off the suspension bridge and dive straight in the water. This area is usually for those who would like to try diving, snorkelling and swimming for the first time. If you haven’t tried scuba diving before, perhaps you can go here first to test out your skills.
Image Source: Scuba Diver Life.
As you swim in the deep blue sea, you will see interesting creatures such as red lionfish, gold-ribbon groupers, clown coris, yellow sea sponges and boxfish. The water’s depth is from 16 to 66 feet and the water temperature ranges from 28 – 30 Celsius. Book any diving operators available in Kozushima Island and they will take you to Hiradan Arch, Sanju or Arima to go scuba diving.
Boxfish. Red lionfish.
Diving operators in Kozushima Island:
1. Tears Blue Diving
Contact Number: 04992-8-0888
2. Aqua Mate Diving Club
Contact Number: 04992-8-1740
Contact Number: 04992-8-0604
Tucked away in the western part of Japan, Yonaguni Island is a part of Okinawa Island despite the 500 kilometres distance between these two points. Surprisingly, the island is much closer to Taiwan, separated by only 100 kilometres. You can come to the island by ferry ride from Ishigaki Island. They will only make two trips in a week and it will take four to five hours to reach Yonaguni. Also, you can take a one and a half hour flight from Naha Airport to Yonaguni Airport, fly out every day.
Yonaguni has one of the clearest sea water in the world and home to hammerhead sharks. Yes, you will easily encounter this shark throughout your diving period. But, not to worry because this shark only hunts for fish, squids and crustaceans. Apart from that, barracuda, butterfly fish, cuttlefish and turtles are among the list of sea creatures you will find here.
Barracuda. Hammerhead Shark.
In 1986, Kihachiro Aratake, a scuba diving instructor, came across a mysterious underwater ruin known as Yonaguni Monument lying on the seabed. Believed to be at least 10,000 years old, no one can actually explain whether the strange structure was manmade or naturally formed. Nevertheless, this mysterious discovery is one of the divers’ favourite spots to explore Yonaguni. In addition, look out for underwater caves and boulders as you swim. The water temperature in Yonaguni is usually 21 Celcius. However, from July to November, it can reach up to 28 – 29 Celcius.
Yonaguni Monument. Image Source: Visit Okinawa.
Diving operators in Yonaguni Island:
1. Sou-Wes Diving
Contact Number: +81-980-87-2311
Contact Number: +81-980-987-2013
3. Yonaguni Diving Service
Contact Number: +81-980-87-2658
Kerama Islands consist of several main islands such as Tokashiki, Zamami, and Aka islands. It is situated around 30 to 40 kilometres far off Naha. To get to these three main islands, board a ferry ride from Tomari Port to Tokashiki Island for 35 minutes. As for Zamami and Aka, it will take around an hour to get to each island from the port.
Image Source: Cerulean Blue Okinawa.
Kerama Islands are also known as ‘Kerama Blue’ due to its sea water. The water temperature is commonly at 20 Celsius, even during winter too! Some of the activities you can do here are kayaking, snorkelling, canoeing and scuba diving. One of the best thing about Kerama is that they offer a world-class diving experience in almost 30 locations. While you are here, you will get a chance to see humpback whales, manta rays as well as three types of sea turtles which are green sea, the loggerhead and the hawksbill.
Manta Rays. Humpback Whales.
Diving operators in Kerama Islands:
Contact Number: +81-98-862-3496
2. Marine House SEASIR
Contact Number: +81-98-869-4022
3. Cerulean Blue Okinawa
Contact Number: +81-98-941-6828