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About Niigata

Diving in Niigata Prefecture offers an exciting opportunity to explore the dynamic underwater landscapes and abundant marine life of the Sea of Japan, particularly around Sado Island. While Niigata may be renowned for its sake, rice, and winter skiing, its coastal waters are also a hidden gem for diving enthusiasts.

Sado Island, located off the coast of Niigata Prefecture, is a popular destination for local divers seeking underwater adventures. The island's surrounding waters boast a rich diversity of marine life, including the iconic Asian Wrasse, which was featured in the movie "Oceans." Diving around Sado Island provides divers with the chance to witness this vibrant underwater world firsthand, with dynamic underwater terrain and an array of colorful marine species.

The underwater landscapes around Sado Island are characterized by rocky reefs, underwater rock formations, and clear waters, creating an ideal environment for diving and underwater photography. Divers can expect to encounter a variety of marine life, including fish, crustaceans, and other fascinating creatures endemic to the local ocean.

While diving infrastructure in Niigata may not be as developed as in other coastal regions, there are opportunities for guided diving excursions and equipment rental for those interested in exploring the underwater treasures of Sado Island and beyond.

Whether you're a beginner diver or an experienced enthusiast, diving in Niigata Prefecture offers a unique and unforgettable experience that combines the beauty of nature with the excitement of underwater exploration. So pack your gear, dive into the crystal-clear waters surrounding Sado Island, and immerse yourself in the captivating underwater world of Niigata Prefecture.

Local Areas

Niigata Area Map

Areas in Niigata

Sadoga Island

Niigata Prefecture, Japan’s fifth-largest prefecture by geographic area, is located in the northern part of the Chūbu region of Honshu. It stretches about 240 km along the Sea of Japan, with a coastal plain between its mountains and the sea.
Sadogashima, or Sado Island, is a popular diving spot located west of Niigata. Touched by the warm Tsushima current that passes through the surrounding waters, the island’s winter is warmer than that of mainland Niigata.
The island is also notable for its history of mining. In 1601, miners discovered gold and silver veins in the Aikawa Tsuruko Ginzan. Sado Mine became the largest gold mine in Japan until its closure in 1989.

An Adventurous Dive at Sado Island

The warm Tsushima Current that runs strong in the summer season makes for a warmer climate than the mainland. During the other seasons, when this current runs weaker, the colder waters of the Japan Sea creep in around the island, making it a cold-water diving destination where cold-water marine life flourishes.
The seafloor is basically flat at 30 meters, covered by sand and small rocks, with large reefs reaching up towards the surface. The tide difference is minimal, as Japan’s water mass is much less than the Pacific Ocean. The difference is between 40-70 cm, making this a very pleasant area to dive.

The area can have excellent visibility, with an average of 20-25 meters, reaching upwards of 30 meters between August and September. However, between March and June, visibility can drop as low as 5 meters due to the 
nutrient-filled runoff from the melting snow feeding plankton.

Diving Areas
Akaiwa/Red Rock (Max depth 27 m)
The number one diving spot as recommended by local dive guides. 
This is where you can see the famous Asian sheepshead wrasse (Semicossyphus reticulatus) in large numbers, both male and female.
The seafloor, 27 meters down, is sandy and flat, with reefs rising up to 15 meters below the surface. On the seafloor you can see schools of Japanese jack mackerel (Trachurus japonicus) and pearl-spot chromis (Chromis notata) and many other marine animals such as the red-spotted grouper (Epinephelus akaara ). If you're lucky, you may even catch a Devil stinger (Inmicus Japonicus)!

Kofukujido (Max dept 24 m)
This site offers a small underwater cave diving experience.
Upon entry, you are guided down to the sandy seabed (24 meters). There you can observe the natural behavior of small creatures such as the jawfish (Opistognathidae) and bottle-tailed cuttlefish (Euprymna morsei). You will enter a small, well-lit underwater cave from the seafloor and ascend up to 18 meters, where you can enjoy the beautiful underwater terrain. 

Soft Coral (Max depth 30m)
This location takes you to beautiful colonies of soft coral. You will find these colonies after diving down below 20 meters. They are at their most colorful from May through October. 

Hirane Onsen/Hirane Spa (Max depth 18 m)
This site offers the unique experience of diving in an underwater onsen, or hot spring, located on the seabed at 18 meters deep. Be careful, though; the hot spring is boiling hot--about 80-90 degrees Celsius—and you will seriously be hurt if you touch the sand in the area. When you request this dive site, your dive guide may bring along some raw eggs to boil while you are under. You can enjoy these onsen eggs after returning to the surface. Besides the hot spring area, there is also a beautiful green eelgrass (Zostera marina) patch around 10 meters deep. 

Akagame/Red Turtle (Max depth 26 m)
Akagame offers an exciting wreck diving experience for experienced Deepwater divers. Although the history of this 100-meter cargo wreck is not clearly known, it is said to be a cargo ship that washed ashore in the 1950's. From the rear, you can enter as far as 20 meters into its hull. The wreck is surrounded by a large school of fishes all year round.


What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrinps and Crabs
-Variety of Macro marine life

April to June: 
-Sea kelp jungle

July to September:
-Asian sheepshead wrasse(Semicossyphus reticulatus)

October to December: 
-School of Japanese amberjack(Seriola quinqueradiata)
-Red seabream(Pagrus major)

January to March: 
-Smooth lumpsucker(Aptocyclus ventricosus,Pelagocyclus vitiazi)
-spear squid (Loligo bleekeri)

Shops in the area

Ogi Diving Center 小木ダイビングセンター

  • Niigata-Sadoga Island, Niigata
  • Japanese, English
  • Cash
  • Resort
  • PADI
  • Shop link


Enjoy both Macro and Wide water diving at the No.1 Beach point in Niigata

Oyashirazu seashore is located in Niigata prefecture where it wa famous for it's steep precipice reaching into the Ocean, Due to it's landscape, it is also famous for it's visibility.
The recommended diving seasons are from Spring to Autumn. During Winter the waves are higher and more violent.

What you can see

All year round:(Winter not recommended due to sea condition)
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrinps and Crabs
-Variety of Macro marine life

Spring months: 
-Beautiful seaweed forest

Summer months: 
-School of Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata) 
-School of horse mackerel(Trachurus japonicus ) 
-School of barracuda(Sphyraenidae)
-School of pearl-spot chromis (Chromis notata)
-largescale blackfish (Girella punctata)
-bigfin reef squid; oval squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana)


A shallow beach diving area. There is a guide cable from the entry point to guide you underwater and the maximum depth is only 10m. The water temperature goes up to 25-27c from the early summer to the autumn season. Here you can enjoy the smaller marine animals of the ocean of Japan.

Average Water Temperatures