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About Okinawa

It is the southernmost prefecture of Japan. It a chain of Islands called “the Ryukyu Islands”, which extends southwest from Kagoshima Prefecture on Kyushu to Taiwan. Naha, Okinawa's capital, is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island.
The island is mainly made up of coral. 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.

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.

During your stay, you can enjoy the local delicacies. If you like salads, try “umibudo (Sea grapes)”. This is a kind of seaweed with little bubbles at the end of the stems. They are eaten dipped in soy sauce and vinegar. It’s known to be full of minerals and nutrients.
Also Goya (bitter melon) is widely eaten in Okinawa. If you are interested, try “Goya Champuru (Bitter melon, tofu, egg, and sliced pork and spam)”. It is bitter but tasty. Some people say it is an acquired taste, but I know many first time visitors enjoying this dish for the first time.
If you are a meat lover, you should try “Rafte (pork rib)”. Stewed in soy sauce and fish broth, you can enjoy the tasty, melting pork in your mouth.

Diving Wise, the Island chain offers divers the tropical diving paradise. There are many resort hotels all round Okinawa so you can stay, dive and enjoy your vacation in a very tropical way.

Local Areas

Okinawa Area Map

Areas in Okinawa

Agunijima 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.

Diving Site (Agunijima Island)

What you can see

What you can see:
-Large ball of Bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus)

Shops in the area

OKINAWA DIVING CENTER 沖縄ダイビングセンター

  • Main Island, Okinawa
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Iejima Island

Located off the coast of Okinawa main Island in the north, Iejima is surrounded by diving spot all around the Island. This make it drivable for all weathers. On the northern side, there are caves, tunnels and drop-offs, on the south side, it is white sandy seafloor with coral reefs. It is a popular diving area for local and visiting divers.

Diving Site (Iejima Island)

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OKINAWA DIVING CENTER 沖縄ダイビングセンター

  • Main Island, Okinawa
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Honu Honu Divers ホヌホヌダイバーズ

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Ginoza

Located on the pacific side of the Okinawa main Island, here you can see 6 types 7 types of crown fish found in the Japanese waters. With it's hard coral reefs, the visibility can go up to 25m in this area. Maximum depth is about 20m.

Diving Site (Ginoza)

Shops in the area

Kinwan Bay

Visit Kinwa bay if your into macro diving. Due to it's location, there are many beach entry points here, with choices from mud bottom to dynamic drop-offs. Local divers searching for nudibranch prefers the mud bottom sites offering variety of specimens.

Diving Site (Kinwan Bay)

Shops in the area

Sunabe

Only a 40m drive away from the central Naha, Sunabe is an ideal diving site for local divers. It is located next to a large entertainment facility in Okinawa, it is like diving down town. Underwater, you can see many macro creatures as well as middle size schooling fishes.

Diving Site (Sunabe)

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Honu Honu Divers ホヌホヌダイバーズ

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Piranha Divers Okinawa ピラニアダイバーズ沖縄

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Tonakijima Island

Located 58km off the coast of Naha, to dive here, you need to find a boat heading to this diving point in the weekends. The dive boats usually heads to Aguni Island between April to July, but from August to November, these long cruising day trip boats visits Tonakijima Island. If is a big fish diving destination.

Diving Site (Tonakijima Island)

Onna Village

Visit the beautiful Okinawa diving town

Onna is a village located in Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture.
Onna  occupies a long, narrow stretch of the western coast of the island. The village is located in the rugged Sekiryo Mountains that run from the north to central Okinawa Island.
There are beaches with white sand and clear water such as Minnajima Beach and exciting underwater terrain, underwater cave and tunnels, just outside the reef.
The coastal areas of Onna was declared part of Okinawa Kaigan Quasi-National Park in 1972 after the reversion of Okinawa Prefecture to Japan.
Onna is noted for its coastal scenery, notably Cape Manzamō and Cape Maeda. Cape Maeda is famous among the local divers and snorkelers, because of the "The blue cave".
The incoming ray from the sun makes this cave blue. An experience you can't miss if your diving in this area.

Other popular diving areas
○Manza "Dreamhole" 

A very narrow vertical tunnel going down to the bottom, then turning 90 degrees horizontally, through the tunnel out to the outside reef. If you can handle the darkness, it will be an experience you want to repeat.
 
○Onna village "Yamada"
Starting from the white sandy area, heading down slowly to the deep. Here you see the Saddleback clownfish(Amphiprion polymnus),Pikachu nudibranch(Thecacera pacifica),Variety of nudibranch and Frog fish.

○Cape Maeda "Tsubame no ne"
This place was named after the school of longfin batfish (Platax teira) often seen at this location. When you go down into the deeper area,
you can see colonies of Flabelligobius sp,Orange-striped shrimp goby(Stonogobiops yasha),Yellow nose prawn-goby(Stonogobiops xanthorhinica)

Diving Site (Onna Village)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-Large school of fishes
-Variety of sharks
-Redeye goby(Bryaninops natans)
-Orange-striped shrimpgoby(Stonogobiops yasha)
-Yellownose prawn-goby(Stonogobiops xanthorhinica)
-Flabelligobius sp
-Giant cuttlefish(Sepia (Sepia) latimanus)
-All 6 types od crown fish seen in Japan
     Clark's anemonefish(Amphiprion clarkii)
     Tomato clownfish (Amphiprion frenatus)
     Clown anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris)
     Pink skunk clownfish (Amphiprion perideraion)
     Yellow clownfish (Amphiprion sandaracinos)
     Saddleback clownfish(Amphiprion polymnus)
     Ring eye jaw fish (Opistognathus sp.1)

Shops in the area

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Pink Marlin Club ピンクマーリンクラブ

  • Main Island, Okinawa
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OKINAWA DIVING CENTER 沖縄ダイビングセンター

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Honu Honu Divers ホヌホヌダイバーズ

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Piranha Divers Okinawa ピラニアダイバーズ沖縄

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Motobu Peninsula

Located near the famous Churaumi aquariam

The Motobu Peninsula is a peninsula in the Yanbaru region of Okinawa Island. It is surrounded by Nago Bay to the south, the Haneda Inland Sea to the north, and the East China Sea to the west.It is mostly mountainous, with a few plains.
Motobu is a town located in Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture.
The town occupies the eastern part of the Motobu Peninsula as well as two islands: Minnajima and Sesokojima.The beaches has white sand and clear visibility .
Diving spot Gorilla chop is a shallow beach diving spot, where you can relax and spend your time fish watching. Ideal if your a underwater photographer.

Popular diving spot
○"Minna jima(Island)"

A 15min boat ride from the nearby port. Almost all the diving spot are made up by, white sandy bottom, few patches of reefs and reef edges. Due to the white sandy bottom, the ray from the sun are reflected and thus makes this diving site very colourful and blight.

○"Sesoko jima(Island)"
Although connected by a bridge form the main Island, due to the lack of beach entry spots around the Island, to dive here, you need to go there by a diving boat.
The veriations of underwater terrains, such as dropoffs, caves, channels, sandy bottom, muddy bottom and coral reefs, make it ideal for macro marine life lovers.

○"Motobu peninsula"
With many beach entry spots around the shore line, it is more easily accessble than the other boat diving sites. Generally, it is a shallow dive site and if you want to spend more time underwater,especially witha camera, thisis the recommended area.
Make sure you find a divemaster to guide you, if you want to get the most out of your dives.

Diving Site (Motobu Peninsula)

What you can see

All year round:
-Giant cuttlefish(Sepia (Sepia) latimanus)
-Spotted garden eel(Heteroconger hassi)
-Orange-striped shrimpgoby(Stonogobiops yasha)
-Squarespot anthias(Pseudanthias pleurotaenia)
-Sailfin Queen(Pseudanthias pascalus )
-Leaf scorpionfish(Taenianotus triacanthus)
-Bluefin Trevally(Caranx melampygus)
-Mandarin(Synchiropus splendidus)
-Roundface Batfish(Platax teira)
-Red Barracuda (Sphyraena pinguis)
-Bigeye Trevally(Caranx sexfasciatus)
-Rainbow runnerElagatis bipinnulata )
-Whitetip reef shark(Triaenodon obesus)
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-variety of Tropical marine animals

Shops in the area

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Pink Marlin Club ピンクマーリンクラブ

  • Main Island, Okinawa
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OKINAWA DIVING CENTER 沖縄ダイビングセンター

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Honu Honu Divers ホヌホヌダイバーズ

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Piranha Divers Okinawa ピラニアダイバーズ沖縄

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Taketomijima Island

Surrounded by the largest coral reef in japan, Ishigakijima Island is located 6km off the coast of Ishigaki Island. Many diving service in Ishigaki visit this area daily depending on the coastal conditions.
 

Diving Site (Taketomijima Island)

Chibishi Islands

Just a boat ride away from the biggest city in Okinawa

Chibishi with it's excellent visibility is located about 10km west of Naha made up by 3 small islands of Kamiyama Island, Kuefu Island, and Nagannu Island.
Boats heading to the Kerama Islands often stop by this reef to do a quick dive.
The Island is 10km(30min boat ride) off the coast of Naha. You can visit this area by usuing the many dive shops located down town Naha.

Popular diving spot
○"Nagannu Sanbashimae"

Popular Turtle watching point

○"Nagannu kita(North)"
Stag-horn coral forest just off the coast. Giant cuttlefish(Sepia (Sepia) latimanus) are prequently seen in Spring.
The dynamic 40m drop off is another popular attraction.

○"Tatebashira"
A reef in the middle of the outside Ocean. Here you can watch the large school of fishes glyding past you. Due to it's depth(-24m), it is considered a spot for skilled and experienced divers.

○"Ohama sango(Coral)"
It is a 10m wide 8m high coral(Porites lutea) reef. With many tropical marine life surrounding this area.

Diving Site (Chibishi Islands)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-variety of Tropical marine animals
-Giant cuttlefish(Sepia (Sepia) latimanus)
-Spotted garden eel(Heteroconger hassi)
-Bluefin Trevally(Caranx melampygus)
-Hakusen akahishi kakure shrimp(Periclimenes kobayashii)
-Whitetail dascyllus(Dascyllus aruanus)
-Robust ghost pipefish (Solenostomus cyanopterus)
-Harlequin ghost pipefish(Solenostomus paradoxus)
-Roundface Batfish(Platax teira)
-Red Barracuda (Sphyraena pinguis)
-Bigeye Trevally(Caranx sexfasciatus)
-Rainbow runnerElagatis bipinnulata )
-Whitetip reef shark(Triaenodon obesus)
-Green Turtle(Chelonia mydas)
-Nesting loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta)

Shops in the area

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Pink Marlin Club ピンクマーリンクラブ

  • Main Island, Okinawa
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  • Resort
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Honu Honu Divers ホヌホヌダイバーズ

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Kohamajima Island

Located between Ishigaki Island and Iriomotejima Island, you can take the 30minutes speed ferry over to Kohamajima Island from Ishigaki Island. There are many large resorts on this Island, so if you refer a high-end accommodation, this may be an option for you. Boat diving is the norm here. Due to the superb location, you can reach out to many diving areas around this region.

Diving Site (Kohamajima Island)

Kerama Islands

"Kerama Blue" Ocean for all types of divers

The Kerama Islands are a group of islands(20 Islands large and small) located 32 km southwest of Okinawa Island.
Four of the islands are Tokashiki Island, Zamami Island, Aka Island, and Geruma Island.
It is a 20min to 1hour ferry ride away from Port of Tomarin at Naha city.
It is said that there are over 200 types of Corals with over 100 dive points in this area catering to all types of dives around the world.
One of the Island "Zamami" recieved 2 Stars by "Michelin Green Guide".
The Kerama-shotō coral reef is a Ramsar Site. The The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands Adopted in 1971.
The diving style here is basically, a day trip from Naha city. So you can also enjoy the local city life during your stay.

Diving Site (Kerama Iskands)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-variety of Tropical marine animals
-Giant cuttlefish(Sepia (Sepia) latimanus)
-spotted garden eel(Heteroconger hassi)
-Orange-striped shrimpgoby(Stonogobiops yasha)
-Napoleon Fish(Cheilinus undulatus )
-squarespot anthias(Pseudanthias pleurotaenia)
-Sailfin Queen(Pseudanthias pascalus )
-Pink Basslet,(Pseudanthias hypselosoma)
-Redeye goby(Bryaninops natans)
-Ribbon Eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita)
-Leaf scorpionfish(Taenianotus triacanthus)
-Electric clam(Ctenoides ales)
-Bluefin Trevally(Caranx melampygus)
-Giant trevally(Caranx ignobilis)
-Whitetip reef shark(Triaenodon obesus)
-Whitecap Shrimpgoby(Lotilia klausewitzi)
-Zebra barred dartfish(Ptereleotris zebra )
-Emperor angelfish (Pomacanthus imperator)
-Mandarin(Synchiropus splendidus)
-Blackfin dartfish(Ptereleotris evides)
-Blackfin Coralgoby(Paragobiodon lacunicolus)

Shops in the area

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Pink Marlin Club ピンクマーリンクラブ

  • Main Island, Okinawa
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  • BSAC, NAUI, PADI
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Honu Honu Divers ホヌホヌダイバーズ

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Okinawa-USS Emmons

The USS Emmons (DD-457/DMS-22) started life as a Gleaves-class destroyer in the summer of 1941, but was converted in 1944 to serve as a minesweeper and tasked with clearing Okinawa's coastal waters of sea mines.

It was during this ill-fated mission that it was attacked and hit by 5 kamikaze planes within a two-minute span and suffered crippling damage that prevented it from being manoeuvred. With fires blazing and ammunition exploding the ship had to be abandoned, suffering a loss of 60 crew members as well as 77 wounded, and sunk by its own navy to prevent it falling into the Japanese military’s hands.And this is where the story ended on April 7th, 1945, until its rediscovery in 2001.

Information taken from https://piranha-divers.jp/en/

Diving Site(Emmons) *Not a exact location

What you can see

Wreck Dive(USS Emmons) Depth 40M 
*Please inquire dive shops for skills required to dive at this site

 

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Piranha Divers Okinawa ピラニアダイバーズ沖縄

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Kumejima Island

New Manta cleaning station

Kumejima is an Island located in Okinawa Prefecturen. Kumejima is located approximately 100 km west of Naha.
An area of 119 km2 of land and sea, it is protected as the Kumejima Prefectural Natural Park and the wetland have been designated a Ramsar Site.The The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands Adopted in 1971.
Numerous unique rock formations around the island can be viewed.
In 2017, a Manta cleaning station was found and now you have a chance to see the Mantas all year round.

Popular diving spot
○"Tonbara iwa(Rock)"
It is a major spot in Kumejima. With strong current, you can see large size school of fishes.

○"Imazuni"
South side of the Island, 5min gboat ride to this reef.
With good current runing through, you can see schools of Bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus) and ‎Dogtooth tuna(Gymnosarda unicolor)
Here you may encounter the rare smaller fishes, such as Squarespot anthias (Pseudanthias pleurotaenia),Elegant firefish (Nemateleotris decora),Longfin anthias (Pseudanthias ventralis) and Plectranthias pelicieri.

○"Stew Gama"
Famous for it's dynamic underwater terrain filled with rare macro life.

Diving Site (Kumejima Island)

What you can see

All year round:
North side has drop offs and dynamic landscapes.
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-variety of 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)

The South side is generally shallower and has beautiful coral reefs.
If your lucky:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-variety of Tropical marine animals
-Redspotted Rockskipper(Blenniella chrysospilos)
-Squarespot anthias (Pseudanthias pleurotaenia)
-Elegant firefish (Nemateleotris decora)
-Longfin anthias (Pseudanthias ventralis)
-Plectranthias pelicieri
-Red fire fish (Nemateleotris helfrichi)
-Giant cuttlefish(Sepia (Sepia) latimanus)

Shops in the area

DIVE ESTIVANT ダイブ エスティバン

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Miyakojima Island

Beautiful Miyako blue Ocean

Miyako Island is the largest and the most populous island among the Miyako Islands of Okinawa Prefecture.
The Island lies approximately 300 kilometers southwest of Okinawa Island. Miyako is the fourth-largest island in Okinawa Prefecture. The island is  composed of limestone.
Miyako-jima is well known for its beauty, the popular place to visit on lnad is the Eastern Cape, a nationally designated Place of Scenic Beauty at the southeastern most point of Miyako-jima. It is considered by many as one of the most beautiful spots in Japan.
There is a big coral reef group of more than 100 coral reefs, Yabiji.In the easternmost part of Agari-hennazaki, there are caves and coral diving spots. There are also drift dive sites where you can encounter large school of fishes.
The diving area are affected by the wind. During the summer season, the wind os from the south side so you can dive the north "Irabu Island area". During the winter season, the wind from the south will restrict you to dive on the northern "Shimoji Island"area.

Popular diving spot
○"Maou no kyuden"

Average depth of 25m, it's a 2 room structure, starting from the entrance hall followed by the Main hall and Bed room. The cave is full of Macro marine critters.

○"Panata"
If you choose your timing correctly, you may encounter a giant ball of Bigeye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus). You can also see, dog tooth tune(Gymnosarda unicolor) and Napoleon fish(Cheilinus undulatus).
In the deep area, you may find Randall's fairy basslet‎(Pseudanthias randalli).

○"Tsunami ishi(Rock)"
Underwater rock arch structure. Beautiful fan corals (Melithaea flabellifera reticulata) fills the walls and the residing sea turtles welcoming visiting divers.

○"Hon Drop"
Here you can witness a meter over Giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis). In the early summer season, you may see them in school of tens.
In the deep area, pigmy seahorse(Hippocampus japapigu), in the shallow wates, many nudibranch.

○"Shiratori Yochien(Kindergarden)"
You can enjoy the beauty of thousand and thousands of Fairy Basslet(Pseudanthias disper) together in one place. The area is filled with Macro marine animals.

○"W Arch"
In the Irabu Island area, this place if famous for the variety of nudibranch found in one place.

Diving Site (Miyakojima Island)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-Variety of Tropical marine animals
-Redspotted Rockskipper(Blenniella chrysospilos)
-Zebra barred dartfish(Ptereleotris zebra)
-Mandarin fish(Synchiropus splendidus)
-Elegant firefish (Nemateleotris decora)
-Giant cuttlefish(Sepia (Sepia) latimanus)
-Schools of dogtooth tuna(Gymnosarda unic)
-School of jackfish(Carangidae)

Ishigakijima Island

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 Iriomote-Ishigaki National Park.
Many time chosen as the "Best Diving Spot" in Japanese Diving magazine, Ishigaki Iskand is famous for it's chance to meet them underwater.

Diving Site (Ishigakijima Island)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of 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

Shops in the area

MEGLOOP メグループ

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Prime Scuba Ishigaki プライム・スクーバ石垣

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Yonagunijima Island

Hammer Head Shark River
 
Yonaguni, one of the Yaeyama Islands, is the westernmost inhabited island of Japan, lying 108 km  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 °C, and 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 50m depending on the condition.

Diving Site (Yonagunijima)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-Variety of Tropical marine animals
-Giant cuttlefish(Sepia (Sepia) latimanus)

During the  Winter season :
Scalloped hammerhead(Sphyrna lewini)

Yonaguni Jima: Unique Diving Site

This was an article published by Xray Magazine December 2013(Issue 54) Text and Photos by Farhat Jah https://xray-mag.com/content/yonaguni-jima

Iriomotejima Island

Japanese Galapapos Island
 
Iriomote Island is the largest of the Yaeyama Islands, and the second largest in Okinawa Prefecture after Okinawa Island.
Majority of the island is covered by jungle and mangrove swamps. 80% of the island is protected by the local govenment, and over 30% of the island forms the Iriomote National Park.
Iriomote has a tropical rainforest climate . The average yearly temperature is 23.6C, and the average monthly temperature ranges from 18.3C in January to 28.9C in July.
 As a diving location, Iriomote Island are very popular amoung the Japanese divers for its beautiful corals and diverse marine life. Many parts of the areas are still unchartered area.

Diving Site (Iriomotejima Island)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-Variety of Tropical marine animals
-Madder Seaperch(Pseudanthias disper )
-Giant cuttlefish(Sepia (Sepia) latimanus)
-Pajama cardinalfish (Sphaeramia nematoptera)
-Mandarin fish(Synchiropus splendidus)
-Asian leaf fish(Pristolepididae)
-Variety of Tropical marine animals

May to September(Few day after each full moon):
-Coral spawning(During night dive)

Janunary to August:
-Manta ray( Cephalopterus manta)

Shops in the area

DIVE lateequ ダイブ・ラティーク

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Average Water Temperatures