BIO DIVER SITY DIVING HOT SPOTS IN JAPAN
Contents Biodiversity & Ocean Currents 4 Hokkaido & Northern Japan 6 Kanto Region 8 Shizuoka Prefecture 10 Kansai Region 12 Chugoku & Shikoku Region 14 Kyushu 16 Kagoshima 18 Okinawa 20
Why dive in Japan? An island nation stretching over 3,000 kilometers (1,900 miles) along East Asia's Pacific coast, Japan’s diverse marine environments create a vibrant underwater paradise that shouldn’t be missed.
Expansive coastlines Among a total of 6,852 islands, the four main islands are Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu. The Ryukyu Islands and Nanpo Islands are located south of Kyushu. Due to Japan's long coastlines, the country boasts extensive marine resources.
Where warm and cold water marine life thrive The Oyashio ("Parental Tide") is a cold subarctic ocean current that flows southward and circulates counterclockwise along the east coast of Hokkaido and northeastern Honshu. This nutrient rich current collides with the Kuroshio ("Black Tide") Current with the warm current from the south, off the eastern shore of Japan to form the North Pacific Current. The nutrient-rich Oyashio is named for its metaphorical role as the parent that provides for and nurtures marine organisms.
Coastal upwelling reveals deep-sea creatures Japan is also a place where you can encounter creatures that are rarely seen in the world thanks to the unique underwater land terrain that causes the “coastal upwelling” from the deep sea.
A biodiversity hotspot A total of 33,629 species have been reported to occur around Japan. While constituting a mere 0.9 percent of the global ocean volume, Japanese waters encompass 14.6 percent of all 230,000 marine species found worldwide.
Kyoto Kobe Osaka
Shikoku Kyushu Kagoshima
1 WIND STRESS
OFFSHORE WATER DISPLACEMENT DUE TO EARTHâ€™S ROTATION
1. Kuroshio (Warm current) 2. Oyashio (Cold current) 3. Tsushima (Warm current)
Hokkaido & Northern Japan
Places to Visit Hokkaido A Whole New World
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Simply Go Outside And Be Among It 16
A northern slice of the far-flung Tohoku region, it’s no surprise that Akita’s attractions are nature-based. Akitans live their lives according to the rhythm of nature, celebrating events to a distinctly agricultural calendar. Throughout the year, trekking, camping, boat cruising, swimming, climbing and hot springs abound.
The northernmost and least developed of Japan’s main islands, Hokkaido is a vision of untamed, epic wilderness. It’s wild bears roaming in the deep green forests, hawks circling above crystal clear lakes and smoking craters, and offshore islands within touching distance of Russia.
Photo©Akita, Yokote winter festival
Yamagata More Than A Winter Wonderland Outside of winter not many people venture into the hills of Yamagata, located in the southwest of the already remote Tohoku region. This is despite the abundance of hot springs, mountaintop temples, natural parks and a giant game of human chess vying for tourists’ attention during the rest of the year. Yes, the skiing at Zao Onsen ski resort, with it’s famous ‘ice monsters’, is epic but it’s not the prefecture’s only attraction. Make the effort to discover the rest—the rewards are plenty.
Photo©Zao Onsen Dairotenburo
Mountain, Mountain, Mountain
Chubu’s Dignified Cultural Center
Mountains are really what Toyama does best. There’s the 90-kilometer multi-vehicular adventure route through the Tateyama mountain range, the sightseeing Kurobe Gorge Railway through tunnels and across gravity-defying bridges and the panoramic observatory on top of Japan’s highest dam.
Ishikawa Prefecture is a thin strip of land in the Chubu region that looks as though it’s trying to offer the Sea of Japan an elegant hand. The cultural center of Kanazawa with its beautiful Kenroku-en gardens marks the peninsula's entrance.
Photo©Crown of Lenten Rose
Kanazawa Kurobe Gorge
Niigata Benefiting from the heaviest snowfall on Japan’s main island of Honshu, Niigata is known for its top-notch winter resorts featuring long gondolas and historic hot springs.
Honshu’s Snow Country
The Lost World
Escape To Tohoku’s Friendly Hub Miyagi prefecture is about as close to a regional hub as you’ll get in remote Tohoku and makes a great base for exploring the surrounding area.
Fukui Hugging the western coast of Honshu between Kyoto and Ishikawa, Fukui’s attractions span millions of years. Four species of dinosaur have been excavated here while the ancient Eihei-ji temple laid the foundations of Soto Zen Buddhism.
Hokkaido & Northern Japan
The site has been chosen as one of Japan’s "100 Most Beautiful Seashores.” It is the only Underwater National Park in Hokkaido and is a popular diving spot. Due to it’s location near Sapporo city, many dive shops organize day trips to this dive site. The underwater landscape is very unique as it is filled with mysterious shaped rocks carved by the rugged waves (very typical in this part of the ocean). The visibility is great, reaching up to over 25 meters. There are whale watching tours in this area as well. You can see Orcas (Orcinus orca) in April, Dall’s porpoise (Phocoenoides daily), and Baird’s beaked whale (Berardius birdie) in June by joining the whale watching tours. After diving you can enjoy local seafood dishes. Sea urchin season begins from June to August. People from all over Japan visit to enjoy the tasty sea urchin here. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Macro marine life. December to April: Steller’s sea lion (Eumetopias jubatus) / North Pacific Giant Octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) / Smooth lumpsucker (Aptocyclus ventricosus, Pelagocyclus vitiazi) / Tiny Cyclopteridae / Sculpin (Cottoidea)
Dive the sawtooth shaped coastline at Onagawa-Takeura. Before the tsunami, this was famous as one of the world's major fishing grounds. Due to the mineral rich ocean, the recovery is slowly but surely seen underwater.
From the height of the Tateyama Mountain Range to the depths of Toyama Bay, an upwelling current brings in rare deep water creatures, especially from January to mid-summer. Night divers might encounter rare critters as well.
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimps and Crabs / Macro marine life. Summer: Eyeshade sculpin (Nautichthys pribilovius) Winter: Grunt sculpin (Rhamphocottus richardsonii)
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Macro marine life / Cocktail shrimp (Trachysalambria curvirostris) / Balsu-ibaramo-ebi (Lebbeus balssi)
Sado Island is located off the coast of Niigata prefecture and is the sixth largest island of Japan in area after the four main islands and Okinawa.
An area with an ancient history dating back 7,000 years. The abundance of marine life here is said to be one of the reasons for its fascinating history.
MIYAGI 6 SHIZUGAWA
Besides Alaska and Canada, the Port of Shizukawa in winter is the only place where you have the chance to see the rare and very odd-looking Grunt Sculpin.
Shiretoko is located by the Sea of Okhotsk. This place is famous as a Natural World Heritage and also for unique drift ice diving.
Yamagata Ryutoanjima (Yotsushima)
Akita Oga Peninsula
Ishikawa Noto Island
Fukui Minami Echizen
Toyama Fushikikokubu Kaigan
For more information visit: dive-in-japan.com
Places to Visit Chiba Day-Tripping In Tokyo’s Backyard Chiba’s best known attraction is Tokyo Disney Resort. Made up of two theme parks; Tokyo Disneyland, catering to families and couples, and Tokyo DisneySea, geared more towards thrill-seekers and beer-drinkers. The resort is in Urayasu city (about 30 minutes from central Tokyo) where there’s also a heliport from where you can take a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter cruise over the city skyline.
Kanagawa 19 Photo©Gelli Rosario
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Seaside & Shrines
Kanagawa is a prefecture located just underneath Tokyo that has somehow managed to avoid being swallowed up by the capital’s sprawling urbanization, establishing itself as a leading economic center and cosmopolitan cultural hub in its own right.Pretty much all of Kanagawa’s attractions are located within an easy train ride of central Tokyo, including the hot spring haven of Hakone.
Tokyo Japan’s Electrifying Capital Tokyo, meaning Eastern capital, grew from a small fishing village named Edo in the twelfth century to become the capital of Japan and one of the world’s most populous cities. It’s hugeness means that it has its own special definition as both a prefecture and a city, encompassing 23 special wards that are governed as mini-cities, as well as surrounding areas including the volcanic Izu islands and Ogasawara archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.
A heaven for spotting houndsharks, Ito Tateyama Chiba's “Shark Scramble” has been one of the hottest new destinations in the Japan diving scene for a few years now. We're very lucky to have this wonderful diving spot just a few hours away from Tokyo. To dive at Ito, you can either use the only resort diving shop “Bommie” or searched for diving shops near you and join their excursion trip out to Ito. *Please note that there is another diving area called Ito in Shizuoka Prefecture.
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Macro marine life / Japanese Red stingray (Hemitrygon akajei) / Asian sheepshead wrasse (Semicossyphus reticulatus) / Longtooth grouper (Epinephelus bruneus) / Japanese Banded houndshark (Triakis scyllium) / Japanese Butterfly Ray (Gymnura japonica) / Japanese bullhead shark (Heterodontus japonicus)
Diving Spots 2
Only a 1-hour drive from the center of Tokyo, Hayama is a popular diving destination for city-born divers. You can enjoy beach diving in relatively shallow waters. The maximum depth is around 15 meters. This diving sight is not only popular because of the distance from central Tokyo, but Hayama is also recognized as an area of natural beauty. It’s wide range of nudibranch lures many underwater photographers from all over the country. After diving, there are many restaurants and cafes around to relax and look back on your magic day of diving. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Macro marine life / Whitegirdled goby (Pterogobius zonoleucus) / High-crowned seahorse (Hippocampus coronatus) / Lined dragonet (Synchiropus lineolatus) / Dragon moray (Muraena pardalis) / Frog fish
TOKYO OGASAWARA ISLANDS
Although Ogasawara is technically in Tokyo, it is 1,000 kilometers to the south of the center of the city. Called the Galapagos of Asia, it's famous for the different types of whales and dolphins you may encounter in these waters. If you're lucky, you may have a chance to dive with them.
With the right conditions, you may see over 30 types of nudibranch here. You can see many large schools of fish as well. Enjoy diving alongside large cracks and dynamic drop offs. A very shallow beach diving point means you can enjoy a long dive, too. Pure underwater heaven.
What you can see: Macro creatures / Nudibranch / Shrimp and crabs / Sand sharks (Odontaspididae) Winter to Spring : Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) Spring & Summer: Giant school of Dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor)
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrinps and Crabs / Macro marine life / High-crowned seahorse (Hippocampus coronatus) / School of Japanese horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicus) / School of Japanese amberjack (Serial quinqueradiata)
TOKYO IZU OSHIMA
A dynamic landscape formed by an underwater valcano. Izu Oshima is located 120 kilometers south of Tokyo. Visibility is fantastically good all year. The island is surrounded by beach entry points but the most famous would be, “Akinohama.” What you can see: A variety of nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Squid / Sea Horse / Macro marine life / Frogfish Summer: School of Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) during the very early morning dive. If you're very lucky: Pelagic thresher (Alopias pelagicus). Winter: Deep water creatures
TOKYO HACHIJYOJIMA ISLAND
Located 290 kilometers south of Tokyo, the topical paradise of Hachijyojima Island is right in the path of the Black Current. Due to it’s isolated location in the middle of the Pacific, it's popular among Japanese divers for its dynamic underwater terrain and the diversity of marine life What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Macro marine life / Wrought-iron butterflyfish (Chaetodon daedalma) Spring & Autumn: Red tail trigger fish (Xanthichthys mento) / Banded boarhead (Evistias acutirostris)
Tokyo Miyakejima Island
Kanagawa Enoshima/Eboshi iwa
Tokyo Shikinejima Island
Tokyo Kozujima Island
Chiba Hazama Underwater Park
For more information visit: dive-in-japan.com
Places to Visit Shizuoka Resorts Galore Situated roughly at the halfway point between Kanto and Kansai, Shizuoka is a relaxing rest stop for those traveling around the main island of Honshu. Mount Fuji rises in the west of the prefecture, its volcanic foothills extending out to the Izu Peninsula and filing the area with hot springs and an abundance of resorts. The prefecture also produces more than half of all of the green tea in Japan and is the best place to sip sencha straight from the source.
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Shiraito and Otodome Falls
A beach diving area with many diving shops, Osezaki offers diverse experiences from the calm inland bay to the fast current outside open sea. As it is located on the edge of the 2500-meter-deep Suruga Bay, depending on the wind and current situation, you may be lucky to see many types of deep sea creatures in just one dive. If you're really lucky, Mola Mola appear during the winter. Divers here are just as diverse. You can see tech divers, underwater photographers and beginner divers simply enjoying the beautiful underwater views. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Squid / Sea Horse / Macro marine life / Frog fish / Yellow Pygmy Goby (Lubricogobius exiguus) / Yellow-nose shrimp goby (Stonogobiops xanthorhinica) April to June Bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) / Sunfish (Mola Mola) Summer: Sea horse / Yellowstriped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventri)
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimps and CrabsSquid / Sea Horse / Macro marine life / Frogfish / Large school of fish Winter: Cherry anthias (Sacura margaritacea)
Located in the center of the Izu peninsula on the west coast, Tago bay can satisfy all types of divers. The famous "Futone" diving spot is a large rock reef where you can see different types of fish. During the winter, you can the endemic deep sea cherry anthias (Sacura margaritacea) with its beautiful mating colours. Popular among divers as it is rarely closed.
Diving Spots SHIZUOKA MIKOMOTO ISLAND
This is the number one hammerhead diving location in Japan. During the summer months (June to October), Mikomoto Island is a unique diving location near Tokyo where you have the chance to see large schools of hammerhead sharks up close. To dive at Mikomoto Island, you need to book youeself on a diving boat situated close to the city of Shimoda at the south tip of the Izu peninsula. It can be a day trip diving destination from Tokyo with the right amount of planning. Due to the strong current and demanding diving conditions, many dive shops set out a rule of at least 50 tank diving experiences for anyone taking the tour so don't forget your log book to prove your skills. What you can see: June to October: Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) / Many large school of fishes During winter: Angel sharks (Squatina squatina) / Dark brown angel shark / Japanese wobbegong (Orectolobus japonicus)
Formed by volcanic activity, Ito has a dynamic underwater terrain like no other. The popular diving spot just 1 kilometer off the coast of Ito is Teishijima. It raises up like a volcano from the past from depths of 70 meters. The area is chock full of drop offs, arches and underwater canals. What you can see: Nudibranch / Variety of Shrimp and Crabs / Variety of Macro marine life
IZU OCEAN PARK
Izu Ocean Park's dynamic underwater terrain was formed by volcanic magma 4,000 years ago. Complex geography means the site is teeming with underwater life.
Famous for its caves and tunnels, sunlight through the cracks makes you feel like you're in an underwater cathedral. A special experience for all divers.
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Tropical marine animals Spring: Beautiful seaweed forests / High-crowned seahorse (Hippocampus coronatus) / Bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) / Sunfish (Mola Mola)
Considered to be the mecca of deep water training, you have a good chance of seeing the endemic cherry anthias (Sacura margaritacea).
Enjoy the high visibility of the "Ida Blue." Due to it's quiet natural surroundings, the small port of Ida is full of marine life. Nutrients from the mountains pour into the deep ocean surrounding the port.
Shizuoka Senbon Hama
A port city surrounded by beautiful nature, many diving spots cater to different types of divers. Beach diving is also popular among novice divers.
For more information visit: dive-in-japan.com
Places to Visit Wakayama The Spiritual Heart Of Japan Just a couple of hours south of Osaka, there’s a place where ancient pathways lead to hidden shrines shrouded in mist; where monks worship waterfalls and mystical forests float. The mountains here are a sacred dwelling for the gods and known for their restorative powers, while along the saw-tooth coast healing onsens (hot spring baths) merge with the clear waters of the ocean.
Mie Basho's Ancient Birthplace Is Pure Poetry
Mie is situated in the center of Japan’s main island Honshu, on the Kii-hanto peninsula facing the Pacific Ocean. More than one third of the prefecture is made up of national parks; its craggy mountains, misty forests, and waterfalls were ideal for ninja training which you can still experience today in Akame and nearby Iga.
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Kyoto A Wealth Of Historic And Natural Gems You could spend weeks making endless cultural discoveries in Kyoto City alone but if you can tear yourself away from tradition, the surrounding prefecture also has a wealth of historic and natural gems to uncover.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
Hyogo A Japan In Miniature Hyogo is bordered by seas with mountains in the middle. Varying climates offer outdoor activities all year round, from seaside sunbathing to skiing and onsen. Awaji Island is the mythical birthplace of Japan while the towering Himeji Castle is Hyogo’s historical icon. Fast forward to the 21st century to see the major port city of Kobe—a multicultural revelation and home of the famed Kobe beef.
Tanabe is famous for neon-yellow anemones and its abundant sea slugs. Unlike elsewhere, you can encounter them within recreational diving limits. The site offers a variety of large schooling fish and tiny nudibranch. It is also famous for its table rock coral (Acroporidae). You can see them at the beach entry spot, at depths of around 7 meters. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Variety of squid / Variety of Sea Horse / Variety of Macro marine life / Frogfish / Halcurias levis Uchida aka Ookawari anemones / Whitebait If you're lucky: Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) / Manta (Manta birostris)
Diving Spots 2
Famous for table rock coral (Acroporidae), Kushimoto is a popular diving destination for local divers in the Kansai region. It lies near the path of the Black Current, giving the area great visibility and an abundance of sea life. The largest community of light green table rock coral in mainland Japan is just proof of its stunning ocean environment. The climate zone of Kushimoto is classed as "subtropical" meaning it is among the warmest regions of mainland Japan. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Squid / Sea Horse / Variety of Macro marine life / Variety of Frogfish / Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera picta) / Jaw fish (Opistognathidae) Spring season: Stout chromis (Chromis chrysura) from the south / Variety of Nudibranch Summer season: Due to the Black Current path, the visibility picks up. Many types of tropical creatures from the south arrive. Autumn season: Angel shark (Squatina japonica) / Japanese butterfly ray (Gymnura japonica)
Experience the excitement of a shallow cave diving in Kansai. The actual cave is 25 meters wide and 15 meters high with a 40-meter tunnel. There is a place in the tunnel that is only 5 meters wide. Inside the cave, you can find variety of nudibranch all year round. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Seahorse
Owase is located on the door step of the World Herritage "Kumano Kodo." An underwater visit when you are here is a must. The sea bed is covered with colourful soft coral. Visit the diving point "NECO Ichiban" to see the Japanese bullhead shark on every dive.
There's exciting underwater terrain and recreational wreck diving at "Shirahama" (in Japanese this means "long white beach.") The diving spot varies from the bright white sandy area to the rocky 20 meter drop off wall filled with soft coral. The artificial wreck is not large and the depth is only 18 meters giving you plenty of time to enjoy the sea life, too.
See soft coral forest and the Japanese Giant Salamander in Koza. Dive through the coral forest or enjoy fresh water river diving where you can meet many river creatures including the Japanese Giant Salamander. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Tropical marine animals / Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) Spring: Stout chromis (Chromis chrysura)
Saw tooth sea line with macro to wide range of marine life. Located on the east side of the Kii peninsula, Kuki is a warm ocean with the black current coming into the bay. It is popular due to the many variety of nudibranch and other macro marine life you can encounter.
Wakayama Kii Oshima (Sue)
Only about 1.5 hours by car from Osaka, Shirasaki is a popular diving destination for Kansai area divers. This limestone area was said to have formed a whopping 250,000,000 years ago. The contrast of the white shoreline and the cobalt blue sea are one of the reasons of its popularity. For more information visit: dive-in-japan.com
Chugoku & Shikoku Region
Places to Visit Yamaguchi A Gateway Between Japan And South Korea Yamaguchi prefecture is the last point on the main island before you reach idyllic Kyushu and the tropical island paradise of Okinawa. The pace is generally laid-back, though thrill-seekers can get their fill petting Iwakuni’s famous albino snakes or trying Shimonoseki’s potentially fatal dish of fugu (blowfish).
Motonosumi Inari Shrine
Rural Traditions And Unspoiled Landscapes
The secrets out in Shimane where the attractions are undeveloped and far-flung. Stretching along the San-in coastline bordering the Sea of Japan, Shimane is about as remote as you can get on Japan’s main island of Honshu. Rural traditions and unspoiled landscapes remain thanks to recent efforts to preserve the region’s cultural heritage.
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Izumo Taisha Shrine Hinomisaki Lighthouse Benten-jima shrine
Ehime Spirited Away Made up of the north-west crescent of Shikoku and several islands extending out towards Honshu and Kyushu, this is the last stop on the Shimanami Kaido, a series of bridges connecting Honshu to Shikoku over the Seto Inland Sea. It also contains 26 of the 88 temples on the circular Shikoku pilgrimage, as well as Japan’s oldest bathhouse, and an island ruled by feral cats.
Shimanto River Valley: Japan’s Best Kept Secret
Kagawa's Array Of Attractions Won’t Let You A way
In the past, Kochi’s inaccessible landscape meant it was cut off from the rest of Japan, leaving the prefecture to form its own distinct personality as strong and untamed as its natural surroundings. Kochi people are resilient, self-reliant and just a little rebellious.
Kagawa might be the smallest of Shikoku’s four prefectures but it packs one diverse sightseeing punch. It’s home to the final 22 temples on the Shikoku 88 Pilgrimage, including Zentsu-ji, the largest of all of the temples, as well as the Shinto sea shrine, Kompira-san, reachable via a calf-shredding 1,368 stone steps. Takamatsu is the northern gateway to Shikoku and also where you can catch the ferry to the island of modern art, Naoshima, or the olive-producing paradise of Shodoshima. Udon is Kagawa’s pride and soy; hop on an udon bus or hire an udon taxi to take you to one of the 800 specialty restaurants across the prefecture.
Usa Shiokaze Park
Sun, Sand And Ski
Raiders Of The Lost Park
From camel-riding to skiing and manga to melons; Tottori is a prefecture that’s full of surprises. The majestic sand dunes are Tottori’s surprising emblem but they make up just one piece of the puzzle of natural wonders within the prefecture.
In a secluded eastern corner of Shikoku, Tokushima has been a prefecture of refuge since the 9th century; it’s high valleys and depthless gorges offering a safe haven to anyone who could make it there from the mainland of Honshu.
Tottori sand dunes
Awa Odori Festival
Chugoku & Shikoku Region
An island off the coast of Nagatoshi in Yamaguchi prefecture, Oomijima is accessible by a bridge. This diving area is famous for otherworldly night diving experiences. During the month of April to May, underwater photographers from all over Japan gather here to shoot mysterious deep critters gathering around divers' torches as they explore the darkness. If you're a keen night diving photographer with an eye for the unusual, then this is the place to visit. What you can see: Nudibranch / Variety of Shrimp and Crabs / Variety of Squid / Variety of Sea Horse / Variety of Macro marine life April to May: Variety of plankton (During night dive) / Variety of macro creatures
KOCHI OTSUKI /KASHIWAJIMA
A popular diving destination in Ehime, you'll find both the sawtooth seashore typical of Japan and also a white sand beach stretching about 300 meters here. Underwater, there is a colony of stony coral and many manmade reefs.
This unique location between the Black Current and the Bugo Channel is a paradise for underwater creatures. The fact that there are over 10 diving services on this 4-kilometer island shows its potential.
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Macro marine life / Asian sheepshead wrasse (Semicossyphus reticulatus)
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Squid / Sea Horse / Gobbies / Macro marine life / Frogfish / Very rare discordipinna griessingeri
Located in the far east of Yamaguchi prefecture, this diving area consists of 30 small islands. This spot is famous for the endangered Zooxanthellate scleractinian coral (Alveopora japonica).
Tsushima is famous for its cultivation of pearls. Facing Oita prefecture over the Bungo Channel, it is a boat diving location and very popular due to the colony of beautiful table coral here.
EHIME 6 AINAN Ainan was designated as the first underwater park in Japan. It hosts a variety of marine life, once counted to 849 species of fish (1/4 of all fish seen in the Japanese waters).
Kochi Uguru Island/Okinoshima
Yamaguchi Futaoijima Island
Kochi Kashinishi Beach
Shimane Shimane Ota
Shimane Oki Okinoshima Island
For more information visit: dive-in-japan.com
Places to Visit Fukuoka The Lively Gateway To Kyushu And Beyond Perched at the northern edge of Kyushu, Fukuoka prefecture provides the main access point for visitors coming and going from the island and beyond. Fukuoka International Airport is one of Japan’s busiest, while ferries bound for nearby Korea leave from the International Hakata Port.
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Hakata Gion Yamakasa
Small But Prehistorically Formed Sandwiched between the lively cosmopolitan centers of Nagasaki and Fukuoka, Saga’s attractions are refreshingly rural. Visitors are drawn to the picturesque natural landscape, plus the hot springs that come with it, safe in the knowledge that the prefecture won’t be overrun with other tourists. Still Saga’s influence spreads far and wide in the form of its world-renowned pottery which you can experience in the towns of Arita, Imari and Karatsu. Japan history-buffs could get emotional over the acclaimed preservations at Yoshinogari Park, an archeological site from the prehistoric Yayoi period, while the rice terraced fields of Hamanoura are movingly beautiful.
Yoshinogari Historical Ninja Village Hizen Park Yumekaido
Oita Highway To Hell For a serious onsen (hot spring bath) experience there’s no place like Oita, made up of town after town of steaming pools giving the impression that much of the prefecture is constantly on fire. Despite its hellish properties, Oita’s volcanic landscape is extremely beautiful to look at. It’s also fun to explore, offering great hiking, ancient monuments, shrines, temples and more for some rewarding entertainment in between baths.
Best Explored With A Car
Fusion and fire
Kumamoto’s diverse attractions are best explored with a car. You can start at Mount Aso for a hike around the active volcanic peaks before heading for a tour of the traditional baths at Kurokawa Onsen, or a cool down in Kikuchi valley which boasts some of the best waters in Japan for immune-boosting “forest bathing.” Just across the water from Nagasaki prefecture is the bustling prefectural capital of Kumamoto city. Keep traveling south to reach the Amakusa islands, where Christians went underground, and to spot wild dolphins in Shimabara Bay.
A flourishing port of international exchange in the 16th and 17th centuries, Nagasaki prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu was the only place in Japan to continue to welcome foreign trade during the country’s 200-year period of isolation.
Kabeyu Hot Spring
Nagasaki Peace Park Mt Unzen Disaster Memorial Hall
Miyazaki A Rival To Okinawa Miyazaki is a mountainous mango-growing prefecture to rival Okinawa in the tropical paradise stakes. Head to the Nichinan coastline for surfing and shrines, or travel inland to the mountains of Takachiho to hear legends of the birth of Japan.
Hells of Beppu
Ukiha Inari Shrine
Amano-Yasugawara Takachiho Gorge
The sacred shinto of Okinoshima is part of the city of Munakata, in Fukuoka. It is considered as sacred Shinto god. It is famous because of it is off limits to women. For centuries, only 200 men were allowed on the island each year on a selected day after they had "purified" themselves in the surrounding sea. For diving it is a 2-hour boat ride from Fukuoka. This ocean is reputed to be exciting among local divers thanks to its large schools of fish and dynamic landscape. The visibility can go all the way up to 40-50 meters. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Macro marine life / Yellowsail Red Bass (Callanthias japonicus) *Seen at depth of 40-50m: Normal Habitat 70m-200m / School of Scalefin anthia (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) / School of Chicken grunt ( Parapristipoma trilineatum) / School of Yellowstriped butterfish (Labracoglossa argentiventris) School of Dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor)
NAGASAKI OMURA BAY
Omura Bay is located in the center of Nagasaki pefecture with maximum depths of around 5 meters. This is a shallow bay with many local marine life seen only around Japan. If you are an underwater photographer, you will probably love swimming around to capture the beautiful underwater scenes.
A boat diving location in Fukuoka bay, this is a shallow area with 8 macro diving areas on the bay side and 12 outside areas where you can see the larger schooling fish.
Nichinan is famous for its tropical ocean. There are many international surfers visiting this area to catch the perfect waves. For divers, there are numerous diving spots around the area. The soft coral and the diverse underwater geography is a big attraction.
Fukuoka Shikanoshima Island
Nagasaki Kujukushima Island
Nagasaki Goto Island / Kami goto
Amakusa, which means "Heaven's Grass," is a series of islands off the west coast of Kyushu. Here you can enjoy popular dolphin watching tours alongside diving.
Due to the large difference in water temperature during the year, when you dive at Karatsu, you can feel the change of seasons. Also due to the weather situations such as violent currents, there has been many shipwrecks off the shores. The cargo was often porcelain from China, so if you're lucky you may come across a lost treasure from the past during your dive. You can also enjoy the famous "Nanatsugama" rock formation. This rock formation is designated as a national treasure. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Seahorses / Macro marine life Spring: Lethotremus awae Summer to Autumn: Red-belted anthias (Pseudanthias rubrizonatus) Winter: Whitegirdled goby (Pterogobius zonoleucus)
For more information visit: dive-in-japan.com
Places to Visit Kagoshima Traditional, Tropical, Mystical Making up the tip of Kyushu and a chain of islands extending southwards, Kagoshima is an otherworldly blend of the traditional and tropical. Consistent sunshine coats the historic hamlets in the rural north with a bright golden hue, while the south gets its own regular coating of fine volcanic ash from the very active Sakurajima volcano. The incredible cedar forest of Yakushima, the setting for Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, is one of the first of the Nansei-Shoto islands leading down to Okinawa from where you can experience snorkeling, canoeing among mangroves and world-class scuba diving.
Kagoshima 11 2
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10 8 Photo©Takayuki Yamanaka
Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen
Photo©Kagoshima Prefectural Tourist Federation/©JNTO
Diving Spots 1
KAGOSHIMA ISLAND YAKUSHIMA
Yakushima is one of the Osumi Islands in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. The recommended access to the island is by hydrofoil ferry or by air to Yakushima Airport. The majority of the island is within the borders of the Kirishima-Yaku National Park. In 1980, an area of 18,958 ha was designated a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve, and since then, many visitors from all over the world visit. Due to the Black Current, the visibility can be over 20 meters all through the year. If you love nature both on land and underwater, this is the place to visit. What you can see: Nudibranch / Variety of Shrimp and Crabs / Variety of Seahorses / Large school of fishes End of May to End of July: Sea turtle spawning on the beaches / Variety of tropical marine animals
KAGOSHIMA SAKURAJIMA ISLAND/KINKO WAN BAY
The symbol of Kagoshima, Sakurajima is a 55-kilometer volcanic island. With the dynamic drop off made by lava, this Kagoshima diving spot will be a unique experience. Here you can see Red-belted anthias (Pseudanthias rubrizonatus) at depths of just 10-15 meters. This area is designated as the "Sakurajima-Kinkowan Geopark." What you can see: Nudibranch / Variety of Shrimp and Crabs / Red-belted anthias (Pseudanthias rubrizonatus) / Yellow faced shrimp goby (Stonogobiops xanthorhinica) / Blue hana goby (Ptereleotris hanae)
Kyushu's top visibility diving site, Bonotsu is a town located in Kawanabe District, Kagoshima Prefecture. Facing the East China Sea and getting the full benefit from the Black Current, the visibility here is always 15 meters or over and can reach up to 30 meters during the winter months. What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Rainbow runner (Elagatis bipinnulata) / Greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili) / Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata) / Scalefin anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) / Stocky anthias (Pseudanthias hypselosoma) / Bicolor anthias (Pseudanthias bicolor)
KAGOSHIMA ISLAND AMAMI OSHIMA NORTH 4
Amami Oshima is one of the Satsunan Islands, and is the largest island within the Amami archipelago between Kyushu and Okinawa. The island is of volcanic origin, with Mount Yuwanda at 605 metres above sea level at its highest peak. The coast of the island is surrounded by a coral reef. It is surrounded by the East China Sea on the west and the Pacific Ocean on the east. The North side of the island is closest to the airport. You may be able to dive on the day you arrive. You can both enjoy the calm bay and the outsaide ocean, where you have the chance to encounter the big schooling fish while exploring at your own pace. What you can see: Nudibranch / Variety of Shrimps and Crabs / Variety of Macro marine life / Variety of sharks / Large school of fishes / Giant cuttlefish (Sepia (Sepia) latimanus)
Open only between March to August, Kamise has a series of underwater reefs rising up to 6 meters in depth. In spring time, you may encounter large schools of tuna and dolphins and possibly thrasherand hammerhead sharks here.
KAGOSHIMA ISLAND KUCHINOSHIMA
KAGOSHIMA IWOJIMA ISLAND
Still an active volcano, there is no diving shop on the island of Iwojima itself so you need to find a diving shop excursion trip from Kagoshima. Underwater, the marine life is bursting with many size fish schooling around.
KAGOSHIMA ISLAND 8 OKINOERABUJIMA
Located in the Black Current's path, you can see large school of bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) at Kuchinoshima island all year round. If you're lucky, you can snorkel with the mantas here as well. Divers often refer to this island as Palau. The water temperature averages around a lovely 22 degrees celsius throughout the year.
Okinoerabujima is one of the Satsunan Islands, classed with the Amami archipelago between Kyushu and Okinawa.The island is an elevated coralline island with a length of approximately 20 kilometers and a width of 7 kilometers, with Mount Oyama at 246 meters above sea level at its highest peak. You might see a Bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) here.
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Large school of fishes / Variety of sharks / Bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) / Giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis) / Dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor) *not in August & September.
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimps and Crabs / Variety of Tropical marine animals / Giant cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) / Sea turtle (During May Seaturtle Spawning on the beach)
Kagoshima Tanegashima Island
Kagoshima Tokunoshima Island
Kagoshima Island Amami Oshima Center area
Kagoshima Island Amami Oshima South area
Kagoshima Island Yoronjima
For more information visit: dive-in-japan.com
Places to Visit Okinawa Tropical Paradise White sand beaches and crystal blue waters, jungles and rare wildcats, centuries of unique native traditions, the birthplace of karate—this is Japan’s very own tropical island paradise. Made up of several islands stretching from the southern tip of Kyushu towards Taiwan, Okinawa prefecture offers a remote yet accessible getaway that deserves Bora Bora-levels of holiday brochure stardom. It has some of the world’s best scuba diving, gorgeous hiking, acclaimed music and a distinct food culture centered around medicinal ingredients that sustains Japan’s longest-living citizens.
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Diving Spots 1
OKINAWA ISHIGAKIJIMA ISLAND
A manta ray heaven, Ishigaki Island, also known as Ishigakijima, is a Japanese island west of Okinawa Honto and the second-largest island of the Yaeyama Island group. Much of the island and surrounding waters, including Mount Omoto and Kabira Bay, are protected as part of the Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park. Many times this has been chosen as Japan's best diving spot in several Japanese diving magazines. What you can see: Nudibranch / Variety of Shrimps and Crabs / Variety of Tropical marine animals / Giant cuttlefish (Sepia (Sepia) latimanus) / Manta ray (Cephalopterus manta / Variety of Tropical marine animals
Diving Spots OKINAWA YONAGUNIJIMA ISLAND 2
Yonaguni, one of the Yaeyama Islands, is the westernmost inhabited island of Japan, lying 108 kilometers from the east coast of Taiwan, between the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean proper. The island has an area of 28.88 km2. The average temperature is 23.9 Â°C, and it has an annual precipitation of 3000 mm. It is located at the westernmost point of Japan. Taiwan is said to be visible on a clear day. The dynamic ocean around Yonaguni Island is extremely unique as huge school of hammerhead sharks and the mysterious underwater rock formations attracts divers from all over the world. The visibility can go up to 50 meters depending on the condition. What you can see: Nudibranch / Variety of Shrimp and Crabs / Variety of Tropical marine animals / Giant cuttlefish (Sepia (Sepia) latimanus) Winter season: Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini)
OKINAWA ONNA VILLAGE
OKINAWA KUMEJIMA ISLAND
Onna is noted for its coastal scenery, notably Cape Manzam and Cape Maeda. Cape Maeda is famous among local divers and snorkelers, because of the blue cave. The incoming rays from the sun makes this cave appear blue.
Kumejima is located approximately 100 kilometers west of Naha. An area of 119 km2 of land and sea, it is part of the Kumejima Prefectural Natural Park. The wetlands have been designated a Ramsar Site.
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Sharks / Redeye goby (Bryaninops natans) / Orange striped shrimp goby (Stonogobiops yasha) / Yellownose prawn / Goby (Stonogobiops xanthorhinica) Giant cuttlefish (Sepia (Sepia) latimanus) / All 6 types of clown fish seen in Japan / Clark's anemonefish (Amphiprion clarkii) / Tomato clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus)
What you can see: Nudibranch / Shrimp and Crabs / Tropical marine animals / Bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) / Dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor) / Reef mantas (Manta alfredi) If your lucky: Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) / Scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) / Whale shark (Rhincodon typus)
Okinawa Motobu Peninsula
Okinawa Iejima Island
Okinawa Kinwan Bay
Okinawa Tonakijima Island
Okinawa Irabujima Island/Shimojishima Island
Okinawa Taramajima Island
Okinawa Taketomijima Island
Okinawa Kohamajima Island
A day trip diving site from Naha Okinawa. There are several diving cruise ships heading to Agunijima Island during the large school of Bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) which can be seen in the spring season to the early summer season.
Iriomote is the largest of the Yaeyama Islands. It is covered with jungle and mangrove swamps. As a diving location, it's popular for its beautiful coral and diverse marine life. Many parts are still unchartered.
Okinawa Kuroshima Island
Okinawa Chibishi Islands
Okinawa Kerama Iskands
Okinawa Miyakojima Island
What you can see: Large ball of Bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus)
What you can see: Janunary to August: Manta ray (Cephalopterus manta)
For more information visit: dive-in-japan.com
NPO Japan Diving Experience is a Non Profit Organization granted permission from Kanagawa Prefecture in January 2019 to encourage overseas divers to visit Japan. We are constantly expanding our Support Member Dive Centers for you to choose from for your epic Japan diving experience. Adress 36 Nihon Odori, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web www.japan-diving-experience.com ÂŠ NPO Japan Diving Experience 2019. All rights reserved. Discover diving sites and diving services from all over Japan.