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About Wakayama

Wakayama Prefecture is a prefecture is located on the Kii Peninsula in the Kansai region. It’s best known tourist attraction is Mount Koya (Koyasan), the headquarters of Shingon Buddhism.Just a couple of hours south of the electric city of Osaka, there is a place where ancient pathways lead to hidden shrines shrouded in mist; where monks worship waterfalls and mystical forests float. The mountains here are a sacred dwelling for the gods and known for their restorative powers, while along the saw-tooth coast healing onsens (hot spring baths) merge with the clear waters of the ocean.
Located on the remote Kii peninsula on the southern coast of Kansai, Wakayama prefecture makes up a large part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, linked by the ancient Kumano Kodo.

As Japan’s biggest producer of mandarin oranges and home to, for some, the best ramen (Chuka soba) shops in the country, you will probably not be disappointed with the local food offered here. Chuka soba (Chinese noodle) have been popular in Wakayama from long time ago as a common people delicacy. The popular, soy sauce-based broth (shoyu) or a pork and soy sauce broth (tonkotsu-joyu) you see in Ramen now a days, can be said that, it is from this region. This is to be expected, as “soy souse” itself was born in this area.
If you are a meat lover, you should try Wakayama Beef (Wagyu beef).The Kumanoushi cow breed from Kumano, is something you may want to try. Over the centuries, the breeders here created a top grade Wakayama beef (kumano-gyu) which is now famous throughout Japan.

As for diving, Kii peninsula is a day trip away from the center of Osaka. It is a few hours away but here you can see dive in the beautiful Pacific Ocean surrounded by nature.

Local Areas

Wakayama Area Map

Areas in Wakayama

Shirahama

Exciting underwater terrain and recreational wreck diving

Shirahama area has been the place to go diving in the Kansai region for a long time. "Shirahama" in Japanese means, "Long white beach", and like it's name, this area  is a popular beach destination.
The diving spot varies from the blight white sandy area to the rocky 20m drop off wall filled with soft corals. The artificial wrecks is not large(31m) but the depth is only 18m, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the sea life around the wrecks.

Diving Site (Shirahama)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-Variety of squid
-Variety of Sea Horse
-Variety of Macro marine life
-Variety of Frogfish
-Black spot cardinalfish( Ostorhinchus notatus )
-Chicken grunt(Parapristipoma trilineatum )
-Japanese jack mackerel(Trachurus japonicus)
 

Kushimoto

Famous table rock coral(Acroporidae)

Kushimoto is a popular diving destination for local divers in the Kansai region. It lies near the  path of the Black current, giving the area with great visibility and abundance in sea life. The largest  community of  light green table rock coral in the mainland Japan,  is just a proof of it's beautiful ocean  environment.
The climate zone of Kushimoto is "Subtropical region", the warmest region in main Island of Japan.

Diving Site (Kushimoto)

What you can see

All year around:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-Variety of squid
-Variety of Sea Horse
-Variety of Macro marine life
-Variety of Frogfish
-Harlequin Shrimp(Hymenocera picta)
-Jaw fish(Opistognathidae)

Spring season:
-Stout chromis (Chromis chrysura)  from the south
-Variety of nudibranch

Summer season:
Due to the Black current path, the visibility picks up. Many types of Tropical creatures from the South arrives.

Autumn season:
-Angel shark (Squatina japonica)
-Japanese butterfly ray (Gymnura japonica)
-Common Skete (Raja kenojei)

Tanabe

Rare Deep water anemones(Halcurias levis Uchida, 2004)

Tanabe is famous domestically for the deep-water neon-yellow anemones ,Halcurias levis Uchida, 2004 , and of course its abundant sea slugs.
 In other areas, this anemones only occur below 150m, but in Tanabe, you can encounter them within recreational diving limits. To protect the fragile anemones from habitat destruction, the Japanese local government has listed them as a national monument.
It is a 2hour dive from Osaka and a easy day trip away.  The site offers variety to wide range of Large schooling fishes to and tiny nudibranch.
It is also famous for it's table rock coral(Acroporidae). You can see them at the beach entry spot, at the depth around 7m. 

Diving Site (Tanabe)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-Variety of squid
-Variety of Sea Horse
-Variety of Macro marine life
-Variety of Frogfish
-Halcurias levis Uchida aka Ookawari anemones
-Whitebait
If your lucky:
-Scalloped hammerhead(Sphyrna lewini)
-Manta (Manta birostris)
-Variety of nudibranch

Koza

Salt water Soft coral forest and Fresh water Japanese Giant Salamander diving

Located at the East bank of kushimoto,you can dive through the strong health soft coral forest. Also enjoy the dynamic underwater terrain at the open ocean points. Here you can enjoy fresh water river diving, where you can meet many interesting river creatures, including the protected Japanese Giant Salamander.

Diving Site (Koza)

What you can see

All year round:
-Variety of nudibranch
-Variety of Shrimps and Crabs
-Variety of Frog fish
-Variety of Tropical marine animals
-Japanese giant salamander(Andrias japonicus)   

Spring season:
-Stout chromis (Chromis chrysura)  from the south

Summer season:
Due to the Black current path, the visibility picks up. Many types of Tropical creatures from the South arrives.

Autumn season:
-Angel shark (Squatina japonica)
-Japanese butterfly ray (Gymnura japonica)

Shirasaki

Only about 1.5hours by car from Osaka, Shirasaki is a popular diving destination for Kansai area divers. This limestone area was said to have formed 250,000,000 years ago. The contrast of the white shoreline and the cobalt blue sea are one of the reasons of it's popularity.

Diving Site(Shirasaki)

Minabe

Minabe, like Tanabe is famous for it's  deep-water neon-yellow anemones(Halcurias levis Uchida). Also macro marine life's such as as nudibranch and gobies are a popular here.

Diving Site(Minabe)

Susami

Susami shoreline stretches over 27km and here there are over 30 diving spots, both beach and boat. The visibility and the color of the Ocean is famous and is often referred to as "Susami Blue". Diving here is dynamic as you can see schools of large  fishes like the rainbow runner.

Diving Site(Susami)

Kii Oshima(Sue)

A 28km Island on the tip of the Kii peninsula, Kii Oshima Island is the largest Island in Wakayama. Unlike the diving spot around this area, this Island itself is positioned different from warm black current path and thus offer a different marine life environment. (Still tropical but different)

Diving Site(Kii Oshima(Sue))

Average Water Temperatures