When we talk about Japan, we would often relate it to fresh sashimi, sushi, and onsen spots. However, with 34,000 km (21,126.6 mi) of coastline, Japan makes an amazing spot for scuba diving as well! While many may have overlooked Japan as a dive destination, you will be surprised with the clear water and diverse marine life as you explore the country’s diving spots. The peak season for scuba diving in Japan starts somewhere around mid-July, as it is nearing the end of the rainy season, and goes all the way to mid-September when the weather starts turning cold! With many beautiful diving spots, it is certainly impossible to get to all destinations in one trip. However, you can always pick one or two spots whenever you visit this intriguing country! Read on to find out about the best spots for scuba diving in Japan.
1. Chichijima, Ogasawara Islands, Tokyo
Chichijima is a popular diving destination in the Ogasawara Islands as it is a perfect spot for scuba diving all year round - though the water gets a little rough during the typhoon season! The waters are also filled with migratory fishes and beautiful corals, giving you a breathtaking underwater view! Look forward to coming across a number of shipwrecks at the seabed that was left over from the war back in the days! It is no wonder Chichijia is a popular dive destination among many people, given that they are guaranteed to have such a spectacular view both above the water and under the sea.
Kerama Islands are a group of islands that are just one hour away from Okinawa’s main island. This is an amazing spot for you to immerse in Japan’s marine paradise. You can expect coming across tons of beautiful and unique marine animals! Join a full-day diving tour where you can get an all-rounded experience by exploring the three different diving points of Kerama Islands!
Full day "experience diving" trip at Kerama Islands
Duration: 7 hours
3. Miyako Island, Okinawa
Yet another island located at Okinawa, Miyako island is popular for its clear ocean and has also topped the ranking for domestic beaches according to various travel media. A unique island with tons of arches, caves, and tunnels, Miyako is a popular destination for cave dive sites – and you can bet that there is no place like it. While the only way to get to Miyako is by plane, this site will definitely leave you in awe with its alluring condition and marine life.
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4. Yoron Island, Kagoshima
A tropical island that is filled with stunning beaches and unique culture, Yoron Island is located 22 km (13.6 mi) away from Okinawa main island. Despite being located quite a distance from the main island, Yoron Island is a great location for divers with its transparent seawater and amazing marine life. Don’t forget to spot the wrecked boat that had sunk in 1993 while you’re underwater!
5. USS Emmons (Kouri Island), Okinawa
Possibly one of the best diving spots in the world, USS Emons lies 45 m (147.6 ft) down the coast of Kouri Island and is only 15 minutes’ boat ride away. With a long history behind it, USS Emons serves as a resting place for US sailors & Japanese alike that passed during World War 2. A memorial dive is done annually. A must-visit diving spot for all professional divers out there, this place is surely mind-blowing and memorable.
6. Kōzu-shima Island
A family-friendly destination, Kōzu-Shima Island is known for its soft sandy beaches and clear blue sea. The soft sands also carpet the ocean floor, making it a magical diving spot as you get to encounter tons of vibrant-looking fishes. Not to forget, night diving is also a popular option at Kōzu-Shima and definitely makes an experience of a lifetime!
7. Hachijojima Island
Home to black sandy beaches, warm sea temperatures, and diverse marine life, Hachijojima is yet another popular destination for divers, especially in the month of September and October when the sea is warm. This spot is also a hot spot for sea turtles and other Japanese local fishes, making it a diving site marine lovers would definitely not want to miss!
Ishigaki is one of the top choices for divers in Japan. Filled with glass fishes and charming reefs, this diving spot is simply magical. This island is also an escape for many locals as well who are looking for an escape from the usual fast-paced life. Ishigaki is also a well-known spot for manta diving so if you are looking for some adventure, this place is surely a go-to.
Experience diving in Ishigaki Island
Duration: 7 hours
Located slightly further from Okinawa, Yonagumi is only 100 km (62.1 mi) away from Taiwan, which allows you to see traces of Taiwan on clear days. It is also the only spot where you can catch the gorgeous sunset that appears to be at the very end of Japan. Sign up for a three-day PADI Open Water Course to kick start your diver life at this tiny island where you may encounter hammerhead sharks during winter!
Padi Open Water Diver Course in Okinawa
Duration: 3 days
Labelled as the most popular spot for diving experiences in Okinawa, Blue Cave is located right at the middle of Okinawa’s main island. Explore the natural beauty as you dive into Blue Cave where the rays of light shoot into the water, casting a majestic glow across the entire cave – it definitely makes for an unforgettable, magical dive.
2 Dives at the Blue Cave in Okinawa
Duration: 4 hours
Dive your troubles away
If you are looking to have a trip where you can have a break from your usual busy city life routine, scuba diving is certainly a great addition to your itinerary. Dive deep into the water and enjoy the magnificent view while being hugged by the warm ocean water - it is definitely a great way to relieve all your stress! Remember to sign up for diving tours if it is your first time diving at the location so as to get a full-fledged experience of how the diving spot is and what the popular spots of the island are!
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