When you want to vacation in the summer, it's at the beach! And when you think of Japanese beaches, it's Okinawa! Okinawa, with its sunny blue skies, clear blue waters, and white sand is Japan's leading resort area where you can enjoy the atmosphere of the southern islands to your heart's content. Here are some diving spots to check out while you're here.
- 1. Zamami Island, easy access from Naha
- 2. See clownfish like Nemo on Tokashiki Island!
- 3. Check out ruins under the sea! Chatan Undersea Ruins
- 4. What wish do you want granted in Manza Dream Hole?
- 5. Them manta scramble of Kabiraishizaki
1. Zamami Island, easy access from Naha
Zamami Island is a 50 minute high-speed boat, 90 minute ferry ride away from Naha's port. It's part of Kerama Shouto National Park, so it's home to a variety of living things. It's a famous sightseeing spot thanks to its white sandy beaches, emerald green coast, and clear blue waters. The sea teems with a huge variety of seaweed and coral that is very easy to see so it's an extremely popular diving spot. On the island there are a number of diving shops that don't just have tours but also promote ecotourism starting with the preservation for the coral reefs. This is also one of the few places within Japan where you can whale watch. You can wait for your chance to see the majestic humpback whales from an observation deck, but they also have tours where you can get closer to the whales by ship. This island is perfect for first-timers since it's close to Naha. Why not enjoy the ocean trip focused around diving with the whole family?
2. See clownfish like Nemo on Tokashiki Island!
Tokashiki Island is in the same Kerama Island chain as Zamami Island, and around it there are many diving spots. Among them, the west side of the island has multiple diving spots for people of all experience levels. In the northern-western area of Ariga there's the Ariga Cable, a diving spot aimed towards beginners who can reach the depths of the ocean by following the cable. You might see spotted garden eels and orange clownfish poking their heads out from the white sand. If you're lucky you might even see a sea turtle! Also in the north in Nozaki you can see coral and the schools of fish that live there! This area, one of the world's leading spots for diving, can be enjoyed by beginners and experts alike all year round!
3. Check out ruins under the sea! Chatan Undersea Ruins
"These ruins off the coast of Chatan on the main island is a diving spot where you can see what's left of steps and rocks shaped like pyramids. Since it's difficult to excavate ruins at the bottom of the ocean, the investigations of what they are have not gotten far. Because of that, when or why the buildings were made is unknown but a popular theory among researchers is that they're BC-era ruins. Also, they've been identified as having a connection to the ruins off the coast of Yonaguni Island. There aren't many opportunities to dive by ruins that are shrouded in mystery. On top of that, there are areas that even beginners can reach, so if you get the chance this is definitely somewhere to try! People who want to dive in a mysterious sea, this is the place to go! *Photo is for illustration purposes."
4. What wish do you want granted in Manza Dream Hole?
"Manza Dream Hole, on the west side of Okinawa's main island, is a beautiful diving hole near Onna-son. It's relatively close, as Manza Beach is only about an hour and a half away from Naha Airport by car or bus. The 5m deep entrance is narrow, but it widens as you dive past 20m. It's exciting to meet a school of sweeper fish that live near the Dream Hole! This dive is aimed towards experienced divers. As the name suggests, it's said that if you wish for something while on this dive, it will come true. If you're confident in your diving, please try this spot! There is another diving spot in Manza called ""Ao no Doukutsu"" (""The Blue Grotto"") off Cape Maeda. It's also popular as a regular beach, so you can get your fill of the waters so blue it's almost mystical. This would be a good place to dive as well! It will definitely be a lovely experience. *Photo is for illustration purposes."
5. Them manta scramble of Kabiraishizaki
"Ishizaki on the western side of Ishigaki Island is known around the world as a place where there's a high chance of meeting manta rays when you dive. They call that the ""manta scramble."" It's a very popular spot with divers. Recently they created a point called New Manta City, and though it has relieved the congestion a little bit, in high season there are many boats and divers around. You'll get goosebumps at the sight of a creature bigger than you elegantly swimming above you as though it's flying in the sky! Now, when you're diving, make sure to honor the manta watching rules. You can learn them at a dive shop! It takes a little less than an hour to reach Ishigaki Island from Naha by airplane. There are also regular flights from Narita Airport and Kansai International Airport. *Photo is for illustration purposes only."
6. Head to the devil king's palace in Irabu Island!
"Last but not least is one of Miyako Island's diving spots called ""the devil king's palace."" It's on the west side of Irabu Island. This impressive name comes from the sight of reaching the wide, distinctive terrain of the area after making your way through the dark, narrow alleys and arches to get there. As you pass through the narrow paths, you'll reach spaces that seem like they're broken up into rooms such as the throne room. The blue light reaching the bottom of the sea is enchanting and one of the reasons why this spot is so popular. One way to reach it is by flying to Miyako Island, and then crossing the Irabu Bridge to reach Irabu Island. Another way is to fly to the airport on Shimoji Island from Haneda Airport or Kansai International Airport and then take the land route since the two islands are connected by a bridge. The devil king's palace is aimed towards intermediate divers. People who are confident in their diving should consider checking this spot out. *Photo is for illustration purposes."
There are tons of diving spots in Okinawa outside of the ones in this article. When you travel to Okinawa, why not dive among the colorful schools of fish and watch the large sea animals swim in the clear waters?
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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