Diving Spots

Find your favorite spot in a variety of seas in Okinawa!

Let’s look at diving spots that Okinawa is proud of in each area including Okinawa Main Island that easy accessible and popular for beach diving, Kume Island that features the endless sand dunes and large species, Miyako region that loved by divers who love to explore caves, Yaeyama region that you can enjoy island hopping on unique islands and Yonaguni Island that has mysterious undersea ruins.

Kerama Islands

Kerama Islands National Park

Kerama Islands are located about 40 kilometers west of Naha City, Okinawa Main Island. The islands consist of 20 big and small islands, and tourists from within the country and abroad visit the islands every year for the ocean that one of the world’s clearest water. Kerama Islands with the beautiful ocean was designated as the 31st national park in 27 years in Japan. Let’s discover the attractions of scuba diving in Kerama Islands.

Amazing Things About Kerama!

Crystal Clear Ocean!
What surprises first-timers to Kerama Island is the crystal clear water that you can see down to the bottom from surface. The water is absolutely the world-class quality that you can not only see through dozens of meters ahead but also recognize the ocean’s blue in the water.

Easy access!
It takes around 35 to 60 minutes by high-speed vessel or ferry from Tomari port, Naha City. Although many one-day diving tours depart from Okinawa Main Island to the islands are offered, there are diving spots that you can only access from Kerama Islands. Let’s spend a night to explore more.

Abundance of coral species!
Akajima Marine Science Laboratory located in Aka Island has confirmed that there are 14 families, 59 genera, 248 species of coral found on the surrounding Kerama Islands. Since there are 400 species of coral identified in Japan, more than 60% of them inhabit Kerama’s water.

Beginners friendly!
You can see colorful and beautiful corals in shallow water, if in Kerama. In addition to the popular Discover scuba diving, snorkeling in the beaches is fully enjoyed by people of all ages, even young children.

A spawning ground of sea turtle!
Zamami Island, which belongs to Kerama Islands, is known as a spawning ground of sea turtles.
Three species of sea turtles – Green turtle, Loggerhead turtle, and Hawksbill – inhabit Okinawa, and all of them come and lay eggs on Zamami Island from April to September.

Sea Life in Kerama

Diving Spots|Kerama Islands

Kerama Islands are located about 40 kilometers west of Naha. It has a long history of being area for diving, and more than 100 spots are here. The entry here is mostly from a boat. You will go back to a port after every single dive, since each traveling time is about 5 to 30 minutes.

1. Ugan
(Zamami Island)

There are a current around Ugan that standing on the ocean, a dynamic drop off and schools of fish. Therefore, the diving style here is mostly drift diving. Since the current occasionally becomes strong, this spot is for advanced divers.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 25 m
CURRENT: Occasionally strong
LEVEL: Advanced
LICENSE: Advanced

2. Cave Nita
(Zamami Island)

There is a fantastical cave to explore. The cave has an entrance underwater and exits to the surface. You can encounter big schools of silver sweeper and Big-eyed red soldierfish in the cave.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 15 m
CURRENT: Moderate
LEVEL: Intermediate – Advanced
LICENSE: Advanced

3. Ijyakajya
(Ijyakajya island)

There are some mantas’ cleaning points, and you can see them cleaning and hovering. If you wish to see mantas, you should come here when middle tide to spring tide from May to October. There is also a high chance to encounter sea turtles.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 30 m
CURRENT: Moderate
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

4. Gina
(Aka island)

There are a sandy bottom and corals as well as schools of fishes. This is known as a sea turtle point to encounter Green turtles and Hawksbill turtles. Try not to surprise them and watch quietly when they are sleeping or eating.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 25 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

5. Nishibama
(Aka Island)

This is one of the best spot in Kerama. Since “nishi” means north in Okinawan dialect, it is called Nishibama. Coral reefs are on white sands, and you can see Green chromis and Pink basslet around them. There are dive limits for saving corals.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 26 m
CURRENT: Occasionally strong
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

6. Amuro Fish Reef
(Amuro island)

Jeweled Finger Coral spreads around artificial reefs, and you can enjoy the unique scenery of it. It is a great point for fish watching because of the diversity of fish. Please try not to damage corals and keep neutral buoyancy.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 7 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

7. Umincyu
(Tokashiki Island)

This point is located offshore of Tokashiku Beach, Tokashiki Island. Many artificial reefs that have been sunk in the sea, and a huge variety of fish can be observed. The underwater is bright because of the high transparency and white sands on the bottom. You can see Pinnate spadefish and Saddleback clownfish.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 25 m
CURRENT: Occasionally strong
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

8. Aharen Lighthouse
(Tokashiki Island)

This is a diving point under Aharen lighthouse. Explore the unique underwater landscape. The light coming in from the gaps in the rocks creates a mysterious blue world. Since there is minimal current, it is a very beginner friendly place.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 20 m
CURRENT: Occasionally strong
LEVEL: Advanced
LICENSE: –

Column|Whale Watching (around Kerama Islands)

*Photo: Zamami Whale Watching Association

Kerama Islands is a breeding ground for whales. One of the facts that Kerama Islands was designated as national park is the possession of breeding ground, which shows how precious this place is. The season that migrating whales come around Kerama Islands for courtship, giving birth and nurturing is in winter, from December to March. You can enjoy whale watching from a boat around the season. There is also a chance to see whales even from a boat of one-day diving tour from Okinawa Main Island to Kerama Islands…

▶ THINGS TO DO「Attractions

Okinawa Main Island

Since there are many flights from in and out of Japan, Okinawa Main Island is easily accessible. Scuba diving spots are located along the west coast, and many of which can enter from beaches. Many diving shops are available on the islands and offer a variety of activity. There are also plenty of enjoyable things after diving.

Sea Life in Okinawa Main Island

Diving Spots|Okinawa Main Island

1. Gorilla Chop
(Northern Okinawa)

The diving spot, which represents northern Okinawa, was named after the shape of the rock that looks as if a gorilla was giving a karate chop. It is an easy site, and the popular part about this spot is that you can enjoy scuba diving even when there is a strong north wind. Enjoy scuba diving with colorful fish and the white sands.

ENTRY: Beach
DEPTH: 15 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

2. Cape Maeda
(Northern Okinawa)

This is one of the best diving spot in Okinawa Main Island, which has the Blue Cave, drop off, schools of fish and many coral reefs in the shallow water. You might encounter sea turtles and Napoleon fish occasionally.

ENTRY: Beach, Boat
DEPTH: 40 m
CURRENT: Moderate
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

3. Sunabe
(Central Okinawa)

Enter from the breakwater along Sunabe Seawall. Anybody can fully enjoy scuba diving. Scuba diving lessons and Discover scuba diving are offered here, and it is one of the best spots in line with Cape Maeda. Colorful soft coral spreads throughout the spot, and it reminds of the field of flowers.

ENTRY: Beach, Boat
DEPTH: 25 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

4. Odo Seaside
(Southern Okinawa)

This is also called John-Man Beach. You can enjoy both the inner reef that sandy, 3 meters depth and fish watching can be experienced and the outer reef that you can relish a dynamic drop off and reefs. You have a high chance to see sea turtles.

ENTRY: Beach
DEPTH: 30 m
CURRENT: Moderate
LEVEL: Intermediate
LICENSE: –

Column|Wreck Emmons (Northern Okinawa)

Kouri Island, Nakijin Village, northern Okinawa, has the famous Kouri Bridge, which is popular as a driving spot. In such Island, the world’s top-class sunken ship, named warship “USS Emmons”, still lies undersea. It was discovered by local divers in February 2001. Before the discovery, local fishermen always talked about that there was something in the water, because ofthe oil floated occasionally on the water surface.

Although after nearly 70 years from the sinking in 1945, the 100 meter long Emmons with the huge main battery, the screw and the machine-gun still remains as it was in the wartime. Many divers want to see it closely.

Several dive shops offer a tour to Emmons, yet the spot is only for advanced diver because of the great depth of water and swift current.

Why don’t you go and see the mysterious sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean someday.

Kume Island

Kume Island has a pure white sand beach “Hatenohama.” The entry style here is mostly from a boat. The dynamic drop off is on the north side, on the other hand, there is a relaxing white sandy beach on the south side of the island.

Sea Life in Kume Island

Diving Spots|Kume Island

5. Imazuni

This is one of the best diving spot in Kume Island. You may encounter pelagic fish such as Arrow barracuda, Bigeye trevally and Dogtooth tuna. At the bottom, there are reefs lied complicatedly, which attractive to divers who love to explore underwater landscapes.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 25 m
CURRENT: Moderate
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

6. Tonbara

Dive around the huge rock reef “Tonbara Rock.” The spot has a dynamic underwater landscape, and great fish such as Giant trevally, Dogtooth tuna, Hammerhead shark and Barracuda can be seen. This spot is for intermediate and advanced divers.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 35 m
CURRENT: Occasionally strong
LEVEL: Intermediate – Advanced
LICENSE: Advanced

7. Shichugama

The name was derived from “brassy chub hole.” This point shapes like a cave, and there are “I” and “L” shaped holes. Sunlight which seeps through ceiling creates a mysterious atmosphere. Many macro creatures inhabit here.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 40 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

8. Umagai

A widely jutted reef is the feature of this point. You can experience a dynamic drop off that falls straight down 40 meters from the reef edge at 7-8 meters. Pseudanthias randalli, Leaf scorpionfish and Redfin anthias can be observed along the wall.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 40 m
CURRENT: Moderate
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

Miyako Region

Miyako Region is known as a home of underwater scenery because of the arches and caves. An advanced license is required at some points. The entry style here is mostly from a boat. Please make sure to bring an underwater light with you when you dive here.

Sea Life in Miyako

Diving Spots|Miyako

9.W-Arch
(Irabu Island)

This is a point where you can see two arches of big and small on the reef edge. You can see a heart shape if you look up from the bottom of arches. It is a great place for beginners who want to try a cave diving since the water is shallow and the tunnel is wide.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 18 m
CURRENT: Moderate
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

10. Satan’s Palace
(Shimoji Island)

Derivation of the name is a complicated terrain which has a huge vertical hole called “palace” after going through narrow and dark walkways and arches. A beautiful blue light which seeps through the ceiling is impressive. A cave diving that unique to Miyako Island can be experienced here.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 27 m
CURRENT: Moderate to strong
LEVEL: Intermediate – Advanced
LICENSE: Advanced

11. Antoni Gaudi
(Shimoji Island)

This is a diving spot called “Antoni Gaudí.” Several caves are intricately-intertwined with arches, and these remind of the Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudí’s beautiful works. This maximum depth is 30 meters or deeper, so keep neutral buoyancy.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 33 m
CURRENT: Occasionally strong
LEVEL: Intermediate – Advanced
LICENSE: Advanced

12. Toriike
(Shimoji Island)

Because of freshwater in the upper layer and salt water in the lower layer, chemocline phenomenon is observed in the pond. It reveals numerous layers of colors. This is a tourist spot as well, thus sometimes divers face tourists when they come up to the surface.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 45 m
CURRENT: Occasionally strong
LEVEL: Intermediate – Advanced
LICENSE: Advanced

Yaeyama Region

Yaeyama Islands composed of Ishigaki Island that you can see mantas, Iriomote Island that has over 50 spots around the island, Kuro Island that is peaceful and has beautiful corals and Hateruma Island that is Japan’s southernmost habited island. Visit several islands since each diving spot has its own unique features.

Sea Life in Yaeyama

Diving Spots|Yaeyama

13. Manta Scramble
(Ishigaki Island)

This is one of the best diving spots on Isgaki Island. This spot is located off the coast of Cape Kabira Ishizaki and covered from 600 meters wide and 200 meters long in east-west south-north direction. Please do not get close to or touch mantas to avoid causing stress to them.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 25 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

14. Taketomi Submarine Hot Spring
(Taketomi Island)

This is a mysterious spot that has a hot spring gushing from a basin-like sandy land. Although you need to be careful when reaching out the water since it is quite hot, it is nice and warm in winter. You can see a geyser and enjoy fish watching around this area.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 20 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

15. Nakanokami Island (Nakanougan Island)

It is located approximately 15 kilometers southwest of Iriomote Island and also called “Ogan.” “Higashinone,” where you can see pelagic fish such as Dogtooth tuna, Giant trevally and Barracuda, has a quite strong current. This is a spot for advanced divers.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 30 m
CURRENT: Occasionally very strong
LEVEL: Advanced
LICENSE: Advanced

16. Nishinohama
(Hateruma Island)

This is a spot where you can enjoy the crystal clear ocean called “Hateruma Blue” and fine and white sand. You can closely see a school of colorful fish around corals, and it is a beginner friendly place as well.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 15 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

Yonaguni Island

Yonaguni Island is located on the westernmost point of Japan. Drift diving which entry from a boat is the main diving style here. Undersea Ruins, which discovered in 1986 by the local diver Kihachiro Aratake, is one of the best spots in Yonaguni Island.

Sea Life in Yonaguni

Diving Spots|Yonaguni

17. White World

This spot gives you a feeling of floating on a pure white sandy land in the crystal clear blue ocean. The scenery of ripples spreading on white sands is fantastic. You can see Sea goldie and Bluestripe snapper here.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 20 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

18. Hammerhead Rock

This is a point where you can see “Hammerhead shark” which is a synonym for winter in Yonaguni Island. They appear in school of fish from November (at the earliest) to Golden Week holiday in early May. You can do drift diving here because of a swift current. Make sure not to be apart from an instructor.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 35 m
CURRENT: Occasionally very strong
LEVEL: Advanced
LICENSE: Advanced

19. Sabachi

This spot is also known as “clownfish castle” or “clownfish garden.” A community dominated by Sea anemones spreads out on the flat parts of reefs, which are placed at depths of 12 to 14 meters. A number of Tomato clownfish inhabit here all the time. It is a gentle landscape, and the current is minimal. Therefore, it is a great spot for beginners as well.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 30 m
CURRENT: Minimal
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –

20. Underwater Ruins

This is a popular scuba diving spot which represents Yonaguni Island and was discovered in 1986. However, it is still a mystery whether it is artificial or natural landscape. Some spots, which remind of the ruins including “city gate,” “stairs” and “main terrace,” are here.

ENTRY: Boat
DEPTH: 25 m
CURRENT: Occasionally strong
LEVEL: Beginner
LICENSE: –