Scuba Diving in Japan

Japan is a kaleidoscope of ancient traditions surrounded by advanced technology. Imperial palaces and samurai castles, majestic skyscrapers and unique natural beauty symbolize modern Japan. Japan has 6 different climate regions, so diving here is possible all year-round. Waters surrounding the archipelago are so clear that the visibility reaches 60 meters.
Japan offers more than 2,000 diving spots. Divers in Japan enjoy an array of sites offering a combination of drift diving, ship and plane wreck diving, and shore dives in a flourishing underwater world. In the diving world, Yonaguni is known for the extraordinary opportunity it offers. Here divers can explore the mysterious underwater ruins of an ancient city, which are now home for many marine animals.
Swimming between tropical reefs, divers observe the daily life of large turtles, stingrays, whale sharks and tropical fish. And if you want to visit Japan in June or October, you can go to the diving festival on Izu Islands and try a group dive.

Reasons to Visit

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The underwater world of Kerama Islands hides more than 400 species of corals and 5 species of turtles. Whale sharks, manta rays and dugongs live here. From January to March is a mating season of humpback whales. Their love songs can last for hours, both solo and in a chorus. The Islands are famous for good ecology and clear emerald water. Underwater visibility reaches 60 metres.
At a depth of 30 meters near Yonaguni island lies a sunken city — the ruins of an ancient civilization. The whimsical but rigid architecture is fascinating. Wide, smoothly turning into intricate terraces, platforms and steep walls, that go far down, make you wonder about the origin of the structure. Against this mysterious underwater structure rises a large pyramid. Divers from all over the world come here to see the magnificence of the underwater ruins. There is also a good chance to meet tiger sharks.
Giant oceanic manta rays come to the shores of Ishigaki island to treat themselves with some plankton. The average size of an adult specimen reaches 4.5 m., and larger manta rays can weigh over 2.5 tons. Colonies of rare blue octocorals are also found here. While swimming over them, you will be greeted by fantastic mandarin-fish and ribbon eels. Seawaters around Ishigaki have bright aquamarine colour, and visibility underwater is 30 m.
The warm climate of Ogasawara Islands, also known as Bonin Islands, favours deep and long dives. 23 species of cetaceans were found in the local waters. Many divers want to take photos of these friendly animals or swim with them. This is only possible with a license that allows you to approach the whales less than a hundred meters. You are most likely to encounter them in the period from August to October. And from February to April you can observe large, up to 13 meters, humpback whales with their calves. After all, Ogasawara is often called a "kindergarten" for whale calves.
The northernmost Japan island Hokkaido is suitable for extreme divers. Ice waters of Hokkaido attract experienced divers and those enthusiasts who want to try diving in extreme conditions. Drifting ice floes are the main attraction here. When submerging into crystal clear water, you can enjoy impressive pictures of icebergs floating above your head. There are also many clefts leading into the abyss.

Diving Destinations in Japan

Okinawa Island is famous for its rich underwater world. You could find thousands of species of solid and soft corals; walls extending into the abyss; underwater caves and even ruins older than the Egyptian pyramids.
The Izu Peninsula has many treasures for divers: shipwrecks lying at a depth of 10-18 meters, splendid coral world and landscapes deserving National Geographic magazine's attention.
In the summer tourists can visit Tateyama fishing town on a Honshu Island, that is a home to a large colony of sharks of different species. This dive site is called "Shark Scramble". Diving and feeding toothy predators is a very popular attraction.

Memo Notes
Currency JPY - Japanese Yen
Languages Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, English
Timezone UTC +9
Phone code 81
Emergency Help 119

Dive Shops in Japan

Dive shops in Japan are located in the capital and in all coastal cities. They organise tours and dives, certify divers, provide equipment for rent. They provide diving training for beginners who do not have scuba diving experience.

Сlimate & Seasonality
Spring

In March the weather is pleasantly warm in Japan. The air warms up to +22 ° C in Naha and up to +14 ° C in Tokyo. The high tourist season starts in April, and crowds fill the streets of Tokyo and Honshu.

Summer

In the summer water warms up to +27 ° C, and dive shops offer up to 3-4 dives per day, taking advantage of the high season. The rain season begins in June, July — is the hottest month.

Autumn

The tourist season in Japan ends in October. This is the time of typhoons and short rains. The air temperature drops from +30 to +10 ° C. Water at the dive sites is cooled down to +18 ° C.

Winter

In Japan island Okinawa it is possible to dive in the winter season. You'll need some kind of thermal protection suit. The air temperature is +11 ° C in Tokyo and +20 ° C in Okinawa. The water is a little colder.

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The Best Dive Sites

Dive site "the stone twins" on Kuro Island. There are two underwater cliffs, inhabited by eagle rays, Crevalle jacks and thousands of fish. "Japanese Atlantis", located near the island of Yonaguni (Yonaguni-jima), in addition to hammerhead sharks, it is famous for its high underwater pyramids, which are up to 182 meters wide. The sandstone structures are man-made and decorated with wall hieroglyphs and bas-reliefs.

Health & Safety

Japan is known worldwide for more than just its technology: in 2017 this country was noted as the best for tourism among Asian countries. The Land of the Rising Sun receives the highest marks for all socially important indicators — health, hygiene, safety. There's no need to worry about being potentially robbed when out in public or in a hotel. People here are extremely tolerant. However, you should take care of your own health in advance and get a medical insurance, since the prices for medical treatment in Japan correspond to its highest quality. But vaccination will not be required, no matter where the tourist comes from.

Dangerous Marine Life

Cone snail is a dangerous inhabitant of Japanese waters. A diver, who touches it, attracted by a brightly-coloured shell, risks dying. Japanese blue-ringed octopus is no less dangerous. It attacks a human, seeing him as a threat. A starfish called "crown-of-thorns starfish" is covered with poisonous spines. Stepping on it can cause death by poison.

Eat & Drinks

Food cooked in a local restaurant or a café is healthy and balanced, so the Japanese cuisine is considered to be the standard of healthy eating. Most Japanese dishes contain rice, vegetables, seafood and sauces. A good example of such combination is sushi and sushi rolls, loved around the world.
In the exhausting hot summer, the Japanese eat Unagi — a delicacy made of river eel. Foodies should try tempura – the Japanese version of meat or fish pieces fried in boiling oil.
Among the non-alcoholic drinks, the Japanese prefer green tea, and the traditional alcoholic treat is the samurai drink — sake. Water in Japan is thoroughly purified and suitable for drinking.

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