Japan is one of the largest island nations in the world, ranked in top 10 globally according to size. Therefore, if there is one thing the Japanese have an abundance of, it’d be water. This, of course, is not surprising given the country’s status as an island nation, but also gives way for many different kinds of activities for locals and foreigners alike to participate in. Many things to do in Japan are outdoors and one such activity is Snorkelling – the perfect mix of swimming and diving.
SCUBA diving is often hailed as the most popular form of diving. However SCUBA diving is not quite simple – in fact it comes with dangers that many are unaware of and therefore requires a license to participate in, which in turns costs money and time to acquire, making SCUBA a serious time investment. Snorkelling, on the other hand, is the far more casual, relaxed alternative. The equipment needed is easily available and can turn a visit to the beach into a fun and safe activity for all ages.
There are many places to go snorkelling in Japan. One such place is Ishigaki Island, located in the Okinawa Prefecture. Ishigaki Island is the second largest island in the Yaeyama Island group and a perfect snorkelling venue. The waters in this part of the nation are renowned for their crystal-like clarity, comfortably warm temperatures and wonderful views. Its reefs are filled with colorful corals, fish and all sorts of aquamarine life. The clownfish is a frequent sight in the Ishigaki reefs, a favorite among children who have seen the popular film Finding Nemo. Even the fabled blow fish, called Fugu, is commonly found here and will definitely blow up to its maximum size if disturbed. Eels and other sea life are also common and sometimes even large sea-turtles can be seen speeding across the ocean floor.
Ishigaki Island is also host to the so-called “Manta Point,” where manta rays tend to congregate. They can be observed by the use of guided snorkelling tours as it is very much frowned upon to swim out there unsupervised due to the high amount of ships passing the area. Sharks are very uncommon in those waters. Some tiger sharks are sighted in areas from time to time, but they stay in the deeper waters. In order to maintain safety, snorkelers should stay within the reef. For those interested in the sea predators, there are plenty of tours to view them from boats.
First image by wsj
Second image by ishigaki-japan