The Okinawa archipelago is well-known as one of the world’s best diving locations in the world. However, finding the best dive spots in Okinawa can be tricky, as there are so many different islands to choose from. The islands of Okinawa offer a vast array of coral species, with over 400 types of coral represented. There are also 5 different types of sea turtles, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, and loads of beautiful tropical fish. So, no matter which dive spot in Okinawa you choose, you’re sure to have an amazing experience. In this list, we’ve narrowed down the best dive spots in Okinawa so that you can find the exact locations that are best for you.
Ishigaki Dive Spots
Ishigaki Island is the main island in the Yaeyama island group. In fact, most of the population of the Yaeyama islands live on Ishigaki, which makes it the political, and cultural hub of the region. The island has beautiful transparent waters, which make for the ideal diving location. In addition, Ishigaki is the premier location in Okinawa to see manta rays. Manta Scramble is the number one location in Ishigaki to see manta rays, and during autumn their presence at Manta Scramble is virtually guaranteed.
Yonaguni Dive Spots
Yonaguni offers a very special diving experience with underwater ruins and hammerhead sharks. The ruins at Yonaguni consist of a platform that is 100 by 50 meters wide, and 25 meters tall. It seems to have been carved out of solid rock at perfect right angles, and would date to around 8,000 years old. Many archaeologists claim that the technology needed to make this construction wouldn’t even match any human timeline. Therefore, some believe that these ruins are alien artifacts, while other geologists assert that they are merely the product of geological processes. However, there are staircases, and writing on the walls that seem to make these ruins appear more man-made than geological. Either way, these mysterious ruins in Okinawa make for great diving photos, and a fantastic story to tell your friends. However, this dive spot is for experienced divers due to the strong currents. There are shops that will run crash courses to take you to the ruins, but this is at your own risk.
Even better, Yonaguni boasts a large number of hammerhead sharks. In December and February it is highly likely to spot some hammerhead sharks on most dives.
Kerama Island Group Dive Spots
The Kerama islands are about 20 miles southwest of Okinawa island. Kerama’s 20 islands are mostly inhabited, which makes for a fun and pleasant vacation while mingling with the locals. In fact, the locals have resisted a lot of modern developments, which means that the Kerama islands are a great eco-tourism destination that offers opportunities to see how the real Japanese live. These islands not only offer fantastic diving, but snorkeling, windsurfing, fishing, and hiking, as well.
The Kerama islands like Zamami, and Tokashiki, and even some of the uninhabited islands such as Kurosima and Maejima, are excellent dive spots where divers have the chance to see a variety of marine life. At any of these spots, you’ll see a gorgeous, living reef, and sometimes sharks, and turtles.
And, if diving with hammerhead sharks and manta rays isn’t your thing, you can simply take a day trip to the Okinawa Aquarium! As you can see from the photo, the aquarium offers excellent photo taking opportunities, and the opportunity to see a variety of sea life up close and personal.