Beginner friendly! The Attraction of Snorkeling in Okinawa

Compared to scuba diving, even the inexperienced can safely enjoy the beautiful waters of Okinawa by snorkeling. The ocean in Okinawa is clear enough to offer a view of colorful fish in shallow water, saving you from having to go further offshore. Snorkeling is also an easy way to get into scuba diving. However, the fact is that there are many snorkeling accidents every year. Let’s follow the basic guidelines in order to enjoy snorkeling safely.

Basic of Snorkeling

Must items
Mask, snorkel (a tube for breathing) and fins

Useful items
Wet suit or life jacket, gloves and boots

First, make sure to wear a life jacket or wetsuit over a swimsuit.
Wearing light clothing is preferable even in midsummer to protect your skin from strong sunshine, corals, and jellyfish.
Place a snorkel on the left side of the mask, put anti-fog treatments on the lenses, and put on the mask.
Make sure that your nose is completely inside the mask, avoiding getting strands of hair caught in the mask seal, and make sure the straps are not twisted.
When you on put a snorkel, make a “o” shape with your mouth tightly to avoid letting in water. Before entering the water, you should practice how to breathe on the land. Inhale slowly and exhale vigorously.
In case the seawater comes into the snorkel, exhale strongly to purge the water.

How to Hold a Snorkel in your mouth

How to Hold a Snorkel in your mouth
Hold the mouthpiece in your mouth and shape your mouth as an “o” to ensure a good seal.

How to hold a snorkel in your mouth (X) open mouth widely
If there is a space between the mouth and snorkel, seawater will come into your mouth.
After putting on fins, walk sideways into the water.
Once you get to waist-deep level, insert your snorkel and put your face just above the sea level.
Keep your snorkel upright, so water won’t get in.

Eye Line When You Swim

Eye Line When You Swim
Put your face just above the sea level and keep your eyes diagonally forward.

Eye Line When You Swim (X) look down
Keep your snorkel upright, so water won’t get in.
Straighten your knees and move your foot up and down. Do not kick like pedaling a bicycle as it will weaken your kick and make it hard to move forward.

How to Fin Kick

Keeping your legs straight will give you more power

How to Fin Kicks (X) a pedaling motion reduces your kick power
When returning the beach, keep swimming until you get to waist deep level. Stand on your heels, turn sideways and walk toward the beach.

Recommended Spots

Here we introduce some must-go snorkeling spots to experience the beauty of Okinawa. Since some shops offer tours to these spots, even beginners can enjoy snorkeling safely. Enjoy exploring the beautiful undersea world.

Blue Cave (Okinawa Main Island)

This is a signature point of Okinawa, located at Cape Maeda, Onna Village in Northern Okinawa. You can enjoy the mysterious scenery of the blue cave, where the sunlight seeps through rocks and reflects to the bottom of the sea. You can see Bigscale soldierfish as well as Ryukyu sweepers, a specialty of Okinawa.

Hatenohama (Kume Island)

Located offshore from Kume Island and surrounded by coral reef, this is one of Japan’s biggest sand shoals, measuring 7 kilometers length from east to west. The shoal is divided into Hatenohama, Menuhama and Nakanohama which are included in most tour itineraries. You can enjoy beautiful corals and colorful tropical fish such as Anemone fish swimming right in front of you.

Yabiji (Miyako Island)

One of Japan’s biggest coral reef areas is called Yabiji, and spreads across the northern part of Miyako Island. It is about 17 kilometers from north to south and about 6.5 kilometers from east to west. The corals are usually located below the water’s surface, but they appear above sea level during a spring tide. Not only corals, but clownfish, Redfin Anthias are also must-see fish in this reef.


Have a partner when you go into the water. Just as with scuba diving, you need to use the buddy system to improve safety and reduce risk. When snorkeling be sure to communicate with your buddy and have them close by, it will benefit you both in terms of safety and fun.
Since your schedule might be tight during a trip, avoid snorkeling when you do not get enough sleep or feel sick. Never drink alcohol prior to snorkeling or diving.
Inexperienced swimmers or children should always be accompanied. If you are concerned about going under the water, use an inner tube while snorkeling.