Explore Japan's Underwater Monument, Hammerheads and mantas

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Yonaguni Island, mysterious jewel to the southwest, is a glorious place for diving! With over 70 dive sites to choose from, Yonaguni is guaranteed to scratch any diving itch. Throughout the year there are schools of Big eye Trevally and Barracuda, Dogtooth Tuna, Turtles, large Cuttlefish, and much much more. Between the months of April and September, Marlin and Sailfish are on the menu and between December and May, Hammerhead Sharks!

Dag til dag reiseplan

Day 1: Departure from Europe to Japan
Day 2: Arrive Japan and on to Ishigaki. Transfer to hotel
Day 3 & 4: Dive with Mantas Ishigaki (total 6 dives)
Day 5: Fly to Yonaguni - afternoon dive - 1 dive
Day 6-11: Yonaguni diving (total 18 dives)
Day 12: Fly to Naha and transfer to Reef Encounters
Day 13-15: Diving Okinawa (total 8 dives)
Day 16: Fly back to Europe
Day 17: Arrive Europe



Reiserute

Diving JapanOkinawa comprises 160 islands, 49 of which are inhabited. It sits between the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, in the path of the Kuroshio, the world’s largest warm current. Well connected by air and sea, the various islands are also easily accessible. Okinawa is endowed with an abundant natural environment fostered by the warm, subtropical climate. With its own unique history and culture, many visitors come to enjoy East Asia’s biggest resort island. One of the greatest attractions of Okinawa is the sea! Among professional divers, it’s known as one location that everybody wants to visit, and there are many attractive dive points dotted around the islands.

The Blue Cave, which even beginners can enjoy, is very popular. The Kerama Shoto National Park boasts outstanding translucence, with visibility up to 40 or 50m. The appeal of the Miyako area lies in its caves bathed in beautiful blue light and its dynamic topography. In the Yaeyama Islands, known as one of the best places in the world for manta rays, there is a mysterious giant stone structure at Yonaguni Island. In an endlessly transparent sea, coral reefs shimmer in the sunlight and shoals of subtropical fish play.

Elegant manta rays appear before your eyes, large migratory fish visit, and you may be lucky enough to encounter hammerheads and even whale sharks. In the winter, migrating humpback whales visit Okinawa’s life-giving seas. Seawater temperatures are around 28°C in summer, and a warm 21°C even in winter.  From families with children to professional divers, the resort island seas of Okinawa can be enjoyed year-round.

The Yaeyama Islands include wonderful Islands such as Taketomi Island, Iriomote Island, Yonaguni Island and Phontom Island (Hama Island) with Ishigaki Island at their center. You can enjoy an undersea world teeming with life, from the therapeutic spots around outlying islands to dynamic topography. There are many points that attract divers from around the world.

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Yonaguni Island, mysterious jewel to the southwest, is a glorious place for diving! With over 70 dive sites to choose from, Yonaguni is guaranteed to scratch any diving itch. Throughout the year there are schools of Big eye Trevally and Barracuda, Dogtooth Tuna, Turtles, large Cuttlefish, and much much more. Between the months of April and September, Marlin and Sailfish are on the menu and between December and May, Hammerhead Sharks can be seen at certain dive locations. Of special interest are the large schools of Hammerheads (100 or more at times) that congregate around the island from January through March. Most dive sites are located on steep cliff-like dropoffs, allowing for great visibility, big pelagics, and strong currents to drift with.

Naha, the gateway to Okinawa,
is located in Okinawa main Island. Diving spots are dotted along the west coast, and there’s great diving on the outlying islands with their exotic topography.There are many dive spots that are accessible from the beach,
which is perfect for beginners.

Day 1: Departure from Europe² to Japan
Our dive packages to Japan and Okinawa Islands are all available from all major European airport. The total price for this dive packages depends on availability on your preferred dates of travel, but are in principle available all year round with a few modifications. In order to book your dive package please advise us your preferred travel time. Also consider the best time to visit the Kerama Islands as the water temperature can vary a lot depending on the season. The normal route to Ishigaki is via Osaka or Tokyo.

Day 2: Arrive Ishigaki
You must arrive in Japan in the morning in order to catch the onward domestic flight to Ishigaki. Upon arrival at Ishigaki you will be transferred to your hotel and registration. Overnight Hotel Peace Island Ishigaki or similar

Day 3 & 4: Diving the Ishigaki Island (B)
We have included 2 full days of diving with focus on Ishigaki's famous manta sightings. The stay can be extended if you wish to see more of the island and / or explore the underwater wonders with more indepth diving as the island and waters surrod8ing it have plenty more to offer. Overnight Hotel Peace Island Ishigaki or similar (3 nights)
Diving Ishigaki Island
Ishigaki's climate is semi-tropical and the ocean which surrounds the Yaeyama archipelago remains warm year-round. Scuba diving is extremely popular activity with people travelling from both Japan and further afield to dive with manta rays. The most reliable place to view these magnificent creatures is 'Manta Point' (also known as 'Manta Scramble') which is located just off Kabira's coast. Mantas make their way to this point to clean and feed on plankton, however, there are other sites where they are frequently spotted throughout the archipelago.

In terms of diving on Ishigaki there are some other quality sites such as a cave which is located just off the coast of Yonehara. The ocean to the west of the Uganzaki peninsula is also favored by many dive operators on the island. Ishigaki's Hirakubo peninsula, which extends to the north east of the island is also home to serveral dive spots, and manta rays have even been photographed by people paragliding along the peninsula's coastline.

Ishigaki has an abundance of coral in its waters and the ocean teams with life. Indeed, in many cases expansive areas of coral are located so close to the shoreline that a snorkel is often preferred over scuba gear. Shiraho is a town positioned on the south west coast of Ishigaki and the waters off its coast are famed for having one of the largest areas of blue coral in the world. There are also a number of drop-offs and cave diving opportunities to be enjoyed on the island and it is often said that Ishigaki compares well will better known dive locations throughout Asia.

Day 5 - 11: Fly to Yanaguni Island and awesome diving (B,L,D)
On day 5 we take a short flight takes us to one of South East Asia's most mysterious dive sites, Yonaguni Island. The island is undergoing heavy construction of a new radar tracking system so you can expect the island to see more visitors the coming years. Commendation options are very restricted on the island and we normally stay at a local Ryokan on the island in the village of Sonai, with everything in walking distance. The village has a few shops, a couple of restaurants, bars and karaoke bars but is very charming an intimate. Our dive center is within walking distance. Overnight local Ryokan (7 nights)

The Yonaguni Monument
The mysterious underwater monument off the coast of Yonagunijima was discovered in 1986 by Sou-Wes founder and divemaster Kihachiro Aratake when he was scouting the seas around the island for new hammerhead shark-watching points. The discovery sparked a debate as to whether they are naturally formed or man-made structures created by an ancient civilization. If the monument is indeed manmade or modified by man, that would date it back to the last Ice Age, around 10,000 years BC, when the sea level was 40m lower than it is now and Yongunijima was part of a land bridge connecting Japan, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland. This would make the monument the oldest man-made artifact on earth, significantly pre-dating the pyramids in Egypt.

While there are arguments for and against this view, most divers – including numerous scholars as well as the late skin diver Jaques Mayol who visited the island and wrote a book about the monument – are convinced that they are manmade structures when they see them with their own eyes. Key features of the site include perfectly perpendicular terracing reminiscent of terracing at Incan sites, a staircase, two megaliths standing side by side, a triangular-shaped pool with a drainage channel, a room carved out of the rock, decorative rock carvings and a formation which looks distinctly like a face, reminiscent of the famous heads at Easter Island. The precision of the terracing and sheer number of peculiar features gathered in one small area suggest that the monument can only have

Day 12: Fly to Naha, Okinawa mainland (B)
We depart for the capitol of Okinawa, Naha (approx 2,5 hrs flight). Upon arrival we will be transferred to our local hotel or Ryokan and to be ready for the diving next morning. Naha is a rather charming place but you will stay closer to the dive centre as all diving is done from their office on the northern parts of the city (close to the American base on Okinawa). Overnight local hotel or Ryokan.

Day 13 - 15: Diving Okinawa Islands (B,L)
During your stay in Naha, try and get 2 dives on the impressive WWII wreck of the USS Emmens. Almost intact, it is a mighty sight when you drop down to the bottom at 40m+. The dive is very difficult to do due to bad weather and sea conditions for most f the year.
Apart from the USS Emmens, Okinawa and the surrounding islands offer fantastic diving and a great variety. You normally will do dives around Naha, 3 dives in the Kerama Islands and 3 dives around Chibishi Island and Ruken Atoll.

Day 16: Departure from Naha (Okinawa) back to Europe² (B)
Departure either via Tokyo or Osaka and back to Europe. Normally departure in the afternoon from Naha.

Day 17: Arrival in Europe²
Tour ends upon your arrival at your chosen destination.


Bilder

Viktig Informasjon

Package includes:

  • Flight Europe² - Ishigaki - Yonaguni - Okinawa - Europe on Lufthansa/Qatar Airways/ANA/Japan Airlines/Cathay Pacific or China Airlines
  • All airport taxes
  • 30 kilos checked luggage on some airlines (ask DIVEplanet on which airlines are offering this)
  • Arrival and departure transfers on Ishigaki Island, Yonaguni Island & Naha
  • 3 nights Hotel Peace Island Ishigaki or similar including breakfast
  • 7 nights accommodation on Yonaguni Island with full board
  • 4 nights accommodation in 4**** hotel on Naha with breakfast
  • Dive package includes 6 dives on Ishigaki Island, 18 dives on Yonaguni Island and 9 dives in Naha with air, weights, transfers (all dives from boat)
  • English speaking (but don't expect too much here)

Not included:
  • Tips
  • Travel and cancellation insurance
  • Transfers not mentioned above
  • Dive gear rentals

Other useful information
Price: is based on per person sharing in twin/double room (surcharge for single room upon request). All dive packages with DIVEplanet / DYKKEbazaar is based on the use of scheduled airlines and price wil depends on availability and season you prefer to travel. All fares are based on the best available airfare. This package can of course be modified to your preference and is also combinable with our other packages in the area.
Europe² departure from all major European gateways possible (London, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Paris, Oslo & Stockholm + others)
Best time for this destination: Okinawa and the outer islands can be dived all year and offers great visibility during the cold season and during this period we recommend min 5mm wetsuits as temperatures drop to approx 20ºC and also cold above water temperatures. In the summer months (October) the water can reach 30ºC. The only period to avoid is probably mid sept-mid nov which is the typhoon season for the area.
Destination good for: Great beaches, caverns, soft corals, great general fish life, macro, hammerheads, mantas, drop offs
Visibility: Summer months +/- 25m and in the winter +/- 40m
Food: Okinawan food is exotic even for Japanese people so be prepared to try some strange looking and tasting food. There is very little western food available apart from a few good restaurants in Naha, but the food served in the Islands and at and our hotels (there is no local restaurants on the island) is very good and varied.
Life on Yonaguni Island: There is an ATM on the island to withdraw cash (this can only be done at the post office on the island). There is also a few grocery stores and a couple of bars for entertainment, but it is a very charming little place There is no beaches to speak of on Yonaguni but good swimming off the cliffs/rocks is possible when the sea is calm.
See description of dive sites in the Okinawa Main Island - click here
See description of dive sites in the Ishigaki & Yonaguni Island - click here

See our dive video from the Yonaguni Island:

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Vi vil komme tilbake til deg med et tilbud på den forespurte reisen/pakken I løpet av 48 timer. Alle tilbud er uforpliktende og er vanligvis gyldige i 7 dager. Vi gjør oppmerksom på at reserverte tjenester kan bli kansellert innenfor disse 7 dagene og at pris kan endres inntil en endelig bestilling er mottatt.

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