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Experience the Stunning Underwater Coral Gardens of Wakayama Prefecture

Wakayama Prefecture in Japan hides an underwater wonderland full of colorful marine life and coral reefs, making it the ideal destination for curious divers.
Experience the Stunning Underwater Coral Gardens of Wakayama Prefecture

Wakayama Prefecture in southeastern Japan is surrounded by natural beauty, with the ocean on one side and an impressive range of mountains on the other. This coastal region of Japan is known to offer some of the best snorkeling and diving spots in the country, especially off the coast of Honshu. Here you'll find the most stunning underwater coral garden that attracts an array of technicolor tropical fish. Plus, the rocky walls of these unique reefs lure macrolide and are home to a large collection of sponges and soft coral. All the diversity in marine creatures makes for fantastic underwater photography opportunities. So, every dive in Wakayama offers you an extraordinary experience. 

If you're looking for a place where you can dive among colorful gardens of soft coral or swim with giant grouper and turtles, then Wakayama is the destination for you. The stunning seascape starts at the shore, and an escape to the underwater displays offers divers a peaceful place of beauty and tranquility. This is the place to visit if you're looking for a new type of diving experience that will delight you at every turn.

JAL Vacation Package details

If you're ready to head to Wakayama and experience the stunning underwater coral gardens and tropical sea creatures, you're in luck. Here is all you need to know about the epic diving Wakayama vacation experience:

Price per person: TBD
Destination: Wakayama Kushimoto
Highlights (Point-of-interest): Diving
Length: 1 day or 2 days
Travel Style: Optional tour
Type of Experience: Outdoor Activities
English-speaking assistance: Available
Trip Type: Diving
Age Requirements: 12+
Accommodations: Not included for the 1-day trip. Included for the 2-day tour
Meal plans: Breakfast is included for the 2-day tour
Transportation: Private transfers are included
Recommended season for this vacation product: All year round

Dive in Wakayama: How to get there

Wakayama Prefecture is just south of Osaka and about 30 minutes drive from Kansai International Airport. Most dive excursions from the main city of Wakayama Prefecture, which is Kushimoto in the south. Kushimoto is about a two-hour drive from the airport. Around Kushimoto, you'll find an interesting landscape that's a combination of rugged coastline and white sandy beaches. This particular landscape is not contained to the island but continues on into the ocean, creating an absolutely fascinating seascape for divers to explore. Therefore, diving Wakayama should definitely be on your bucket list.

Kansai International Airport (KIX) provides easy access to this region of Japan. You can fly in directly to KIX from North America, Europe, or Asia with JAL. Alternatively, if you're coming from elsewhere in Japan, you can opt for the JAL Japan Explorer Pass to fly from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport to KIX or even to Nanki Shirahama Airport. Getting around Wakayama Prefecture is easy if you have the JAL Japan Explorer Pass as there is a direct JR train from JR Shirahama Station straight into Kushimoto. However, you may want to opt for hiring a car as it makes it simpler to explore all areas of Wakayama. There are also taxis that frequently operate from Kooza and Kushimoto stations.

What can you experience diving in Wakayama?

What can you experience diving in Wakayama? 

Wakayama is a place of wonders — both above and below the water. A number of shipwrecks in the area have made diving sites quite a treat for those who love exploration and discovery. However, it's the rugged underwater terrain and the coral gardens that truly entice divers. 

Wakayama is not specifically known as a diving spot. In general, Okinawa is more popular with divers. Yes, Okinawa offers great diving experiences, but Wakayama is a really special diving destination as well. Although it is further north than most of the other dive sites in Japan, the climate is temperate, which means diving is more enjoyable than in colder parts of the country. The climate zone of Kushimoto is a subtropical region and one of the warmest regions on the main island of Japan.   

This part of the ocean blends together cold and warm currents to offer a unique mix of temperate and tropical marine creatures. Since it is located near the path of the strong Black Current, the ocean here is clear and calm, which gives divers perfect visibility and an endless amount of sea life to spot. This great visibility and an abundance of sea life make it the best diving destination in the Kansai area. 

Divers can spot over 1200 different fish species throughout the year, which is the reason why this is such a popular diving spot for divers all over Japan, if not the world. Most famously, divers come here from all over the world to see the famous table rock coral (acroporidae) as the largest colony of light green table rock coral can be found here.

Types of marine life in Wakayama

Types of marine life in Wakayama

With the prospect of over 1200 different types of fish as well as other marine life, it's clear that Wakayama is a destination of note for anyone who loves to dive. Diving Wakayama is ideal for divers who spend time underwater just for the fun of it, underwater naturalists with a love for marine life, and underwater photography lovers. 

Since this is a year-round dive spot, you may want to plan your visit around the type of marine life you wish to see during your dive. 

Here is what you can expect to see while diving Wakayama:

All year round:
・Variety of nudibranch
・Variety of shrimps and crabs
・Variety of squid
・Variety of sea horse
・Variety of macro marine life
・Variety of frogfish
・Harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera picta)
・Jawfish (Opistognathidae)
During the spring season:
・Stout chromis (Chromis chrysura) from the south
During the summer season:
・Due to the Black Current path, the visibility picks up during the summer months and many different types of tropical creatures arrive from the south.
During the autumn season:
・Japanese angelshark (Squatina japonica)
・Japanese butterfly ray (Gymnura japonica)
・Common skete (Raja kenojei)

The best season to dive in Wakayama

The best season to dive in Wakayama

You can really visit and dive Wakayama any time of the year. Although the summer months are generally busier, Wakayama is still not as crowded as other diving regions in Japan. However, there are more people at the beaches and diving over weekends than during the week. 

One thing to keep in mind is that summer is the rainy season and there may be typhoons. Winter is colder, but it is also drier, and the ocean is calmer. The warmest month is August and the coldest month is January. The water temperature varies between 18° C and 29° C in the spring and summer and 16° C to 20° C in autumn and winter. A thin wetsuit will do during the warmer months, but a thicker one is definitely needed during the colder months. 

However, diving and land activities are available for you to enjoy during any season. Therefore, you may want to choose which season to visit based on your personal temperature preferences and also which marine creatures you want to spot during a dive.

Why book a JAL Vacation Package

Japan Airlines offers the only inbound diving tour available on the Japanese market. Only JAL can provide you with a comprehensive all-inclusive tour that takes care of every aspect of your trip so that you can simply have fun and enjoy the experience. 

The JAL dividing Wakayama vacation package gives you flexibility as well so that you can choose the options that are the best fit for you. You can choose between one-day or two-day tours, which will also determine the number of tanks and dives you have. When you opt for the two-day tour, your accommodation and breakfast are included. For all the tours, transportation in the form of private transfer is included. Plus, you are always in good hands as you have your own private underwater guide for your dives.

More popular diving sites in Japan

More popular diving sites in Japan

We get it, Wakayama seems like a dream destination for you to go diving, but you're an underwater enthusiast so you're always on the lookout for even more dive spots. No need to limit yourself — Japan is full of amazing diving sites that you'll want to explore. Each and every one of them is unique in its own way so there are plenty of options for you, especially if you're searching for a truly unique diving experience. 

The long Japanese coastline provides great variety, and you're sure to find the perfect dive spot at one of these locations:

Izu Peninsula - Only a few hours' drive from Tokyo is this warm diving location made up of a number of islands. The two most popular ones are Oshima and Hachiojima, where you'll find underwater caves and beautiful tropical fish.
Bonin Islands - This place is also known as Ogasawara Islands and the Galapagos of Asia. Divers here enjoy swimming with a variety of larger marine creatures such as tuna, stingrays, and even dolphins — depending on the season.
Ryukyu Islands - These islands near Okinawa are in the far south which means warmer weather, warmer ocean water, and excellent tropical marine life sighting during dives any time of the year.
Kerama Island - There are beautiful islands where divers can enjoy crystal clear waters, swim with sea turtles, discover stunning hard corals, and explore immaculate stretches of beaches.
Chibo Ito - This is the ideal dive spot for divers who want the excitement of diving with sharks and where you can experience the famed shark scramble which is a one-of-a-kind dive encounter only available in Japan.

Dive the colorful underwater coral gardens of Japan

Wakayama is an underwater wonderland just waiting to be explored. The undersea environment is full of dramatic terrain and diverse marine life species. There is plenty of ambient light, clear water, terrific visibility, and an unbelievable amount of sea life. You'll want to return to this dive site over and over again just to be able to take it all in. 

Make sure to add diving Wakayama to your list of things to do when visiting Japan. JAL makes it simple, easy, and fun with our comprehensive vacation packages. Add a vacation package to your trip by opting for an affordable Japan Explorer Pass.

Getting There