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DIVING & SNORKELING

3 Best Diving or Snorkeling Trips To Take While Visiting Tokyo

Tokyo may be best known for its cityscape but the surrounding islands offer scuba diving enthusiasts three delightful destinations to discover. Find out more about scuba diving in Tokyo.
3 Best Diving or Snorkeling Trips To Take While Visiting Tokyo

Did you know you could go scuba diving in Tokyo? 

Probably not. 

Most people don't know about the myriad of natural gems that are hidden just past the outskirts of this bustling modern city known for shopping and technology. When thinking about Tokyo Japan, you probably picture an urban jungle. Even though the city is large, it is actually surrounded by nature.

Tokyo is situated in the Kanto region on the southeastern side of Japan's main island, Honshu. In the ocean around the main island are a number of smaller island chains that are sparsely populated and hard to access. Due to the remote nature of these islands, they provide a wonderful opportunity for visitors who want to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the country. These islands are especially popular with ocean enthusiasts who scuba dive or snorkel. However, there is plenty to do for non-diver visitors as well. 

Since these islands are in the path of the warm Black Currents, there are tons of tropical marine life to discover while exploring the ocean depths. While diving or snorkeling, you can expect to see large schools of colorful fishes or even a school of hammerhead sharks. The current path leads these tropical marine creatures up from the warmer southern waters—seeing them in Japan is such a treat. Plus, there are also numerous endemic species of marine animals in the region that you may spot during an excursion. 

Japan: a nation of islands

Japan: a nation of islands

Japan consists of over 6000 different islands, so there is no shortage of destinations for those who love to be underwater. However, because of the vast distance between the northern and southern reaches of the country, the temperature and climate differ greatly from one end to the other.

The southern parts of Japan have a more temperate climate with pleasant weather all year round, making it the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. That means that you can actually scuba dive or snorkel here any time of the year. The crystal clear water and schools of tropical fish make it extra special. The islands near Tokyo offer divers a wonderful underwater playground that's just waiting to be explored.

JAL Vacations diving activity packages

Here at Japan Airlines, we aim to help you discover the best of this special country. Our guides and excursions will highlight the unique experiences that you would never know about if traveling from afar.

You can find a range of incredibly exciting outdoor activities across the country. Japan is a year-round wonderland for those who love the outdoors. Get caught up in the adventure by plunging beneath the waves at the best beaches on some of the most remote islands.

JAL offers some of the best all-inclusive diving tours available on the Japanese market. So, make sure to book one of our exciting excursions and go scuba diving and snorkeling off the coast of our most remote yet beautiful islands. We have a few different packages available. Some are a few days while others are only a few hours - it all depends on what you prefer and what marine life you're hoping to spot.

Here's what you need to know about our top three adventure type trips for diving or snorkeling excursions off the coast of Tokyo:

Trip 1: UNESCO World Natural Ocean Site Ogasawara Island

Trip 1: UNESCO World Natural Ocean Site Ogasawara Island

The first of our three best trips is to the island of Ogasawara, where you can experience a magical dive or snorkel. Ogasawara is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Ocean Site located about 1000km from Tokyo.

This specific tour is open to healthy and physically fit certified divers only. You will be asked to provide your certification card from registered dive training information as well as information about your past scuba diving experience and last dive date.

What you need to know about the Ogasawara island diving trip

Let's start with all the package details before explaining what you can expect on the excursion:

・Destination: Ogasawara Islands
・Recommended season for this package: All year round - each season offers different marine life sightings
・Duration: A 6-day tour and includes 4 days of diving (8 tank dives)
・Type of experience: Diving, snorkeling, adventure, outdoors, beaches
・Travel style: A "private diving" plan - your group will have your own transport and an English-speaking private guide
・Age requirements: Age 12+
・Trip type: For experienced and certified divers
・Accommodation: PAPA'S Island Resort or same standard level hotel
Meal plans: Breakfast and lunch are included. Unspecified or offsite meals are not included
Transportation: This package includes transportation with a private car or van pick up from the meeting point, which can be either Narita Airport (arrival lobby), Haneda Airport (arrival lobby), or Tokyo Down Town Hotel. Location is to be determined after booking. Ferry Fee is also included - the islands can be accessed only via a weekly ferry that departs from Tokyo city. It is about a 25 hour and 30-minute ride
English speaking assistance: Available

Dive in the Galapagos of Asia

Dive in the Galapagos of Asia

Ogasawara Islands is an archipelago called the Galapagos of Asia because it is a place where you can still truly experience all that nature has to offer. The Ogasawara Islands are also known as Bonin Islands. This comes from the Japanese word "Bunin," which means uninhabited, even though the islands have actually had a number of different populations.

These islands offer many inter-cultural sites that all tell their fascinating history. The first settler were immigrants from the West, including Pacific Islanders and Americans. Their ancestors were brought up as Americans until the islands were returned to Japan a half-century ago. The "Letters from Iwo Jima" film based upon World War 2 was originated from one of the Ogasawara Islands. The World Heritage Committee has named Ogasawara Islands, located about 1,000 kilometers to the south away from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office, as UNESCO's World Natural Heritage site in 2011.

The islands have never been connected to the mainland, so the flora and fauna have undergone a unique evolution, and many endemic species that are valuable worldwide have been able to survive. Many of the species here are only found on these islands, including certain birds and crabs. Ogasawara is famous for the many different species of whales and dolphins you may encounter in these waters. If you're lucky, you may have a chance to dive in with them. The marine life is abundant, so it will surely be an epic experience for any divers around the world. With a subtropical climate similar to Okinawa, visitors can enjoy lovely weather, friendly hospitality, beautiful beaches, a coral reef, and jungle-covered hills in a remote destination.

All you can expect to see during a dive at Ogasawara island

All you can expect to see during a dive at Ogasawara island

All year round:
・A variety of macro creatures 
・Nudibranch
・Shrimps & crabs
・Sand sharks (Odontaspididae)
During winter to spring seasons:
・Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
During spring and summer seasons:
・Giant schools of dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor) 
During the summer season:
・Giant schools of yellow and blueback fusilier (Caesio teres)
・Giant schools of bartail fusilier (Pterocaecio tile)
During the autumn season:
・Schools of giant trevally (Caranx ignobilis)
・Schools of bluefin trevally (Caranx melampygus) 

Coastal hikes and outdoor fun on Ogasawara island

Coastal hikes and outdoor fun on Ogasawara island

There are a few other outdoor activities to enjoy during your visit to Ogasawara, such as:

Coastal hiking - walk along the cliffy coastline of the island to discover some of the most pristine beaches and stunning sapphire waters
Visit nearby islands - Minamijima Island is an uninhabited island nearby that is known for its unusual natural features such as rock arches
Whale and dolphin watching - depending on what time of year you visit, you may end up diving with whales or dolphins, but you can also view them from above the water on a boat trip

A scuba diving trip to Ogasawara Islands is for the adventurous at heart who are looking for a remote destination and a chance to dive numerous times.

Trip 2: Hachijō-Jima Island—the tropical paradise of Japan

Trip 2: Hachijō-Jima Island—the tropical paradise of Japan

The next of our three top Tokyo trips is the island of Hachijō-Jima. Hachijō-Jima is a tropical paradise located about 290km off the coast of Tokyo, where you can dive into the tropical waters for a one-of-a-kind experience.

This specific tour is open to healthy and physically fit certified divers only. You will be asked to provide your certification card from registered dive training information as well as information about your past scuba diving experience and last dive date.

The exciting details about diving at Hachijō-Jima Island

Let's start with all the package details before explaining what you can expect on the excursion:

・Destination: Hachijō-Jima Island
・Recommended season for this package: All year round - each season offers different marine life sightings
・Duration: A four-day tour and includes three days of diving (five tank dives)
・Type of experience: Diving, snorkeling, adventure, outdoors, beaches
・Travel style: A "private diving" plan - your group will have your own transport and an English-speaking private guide
・Age requirements: Age 12+
・Trip type: For experienced and certified divers
・Accommodation: Lead Park Resort Hachijojima or same standard level hotel
Meal plans: Breakfast and lunch are included. Unspecified or offsite meals are not included
Transportation: This package includes transportation with a private car or van pick up from the meeting point, which can be either Narita Airport (arrival lobby), Haneda Airport (arrival lobby), or Tokyo Down Town Hotel. Location is to be determined after booking. Ferry Fee is also included - the islands can be accessed via a  ferry that departs from Tokyo city. It is about a three to four-hour ride
English speaking assistance: Available

Dive in a dynamic underwater terrain off Hachijō-Jima Island

Dive in a dynamic underwater terrain off Hachijō-Jima Island

Dive into the clear blue tropical waters of Japan when visiting Hachijō-Jima, which is only a ferry ride away from Tokyo City. This volcanic Japanese island is located in the Philippine Sea and forms part of the Izu archipelago.

There are numerous different diving points all around this 60km wide island, all offering great visibility all year round. Due to its isolated location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, this island is popular among Japanese divers for its dynamic underwater terrain and the diversity of marine life. The beautiful endemic wrought-iron butterflyfish (Chaetodon daedalma) and redtail triggerfish (Xanthichthys mento) are some of the favorites to see. The island's subtropical climate helps numerous plant and animal species thrive. Plus, the volcanic landscape makes it the ideal destination for adventurous souls who love outdoor activities. Besides diving or snorkeling, you can also try your hand at surfing or take a hike up Mt. Hachijo-Fuji, which is the tallest peak of the Izu island chain.

Hachijō-Jima island is most popular for its onsen resorts, and visitors flock to the island from all over to indulge the senses at the relaxing accommodations. So, after a fun dive, divers can warm up their bodies and relax at Uramigataki Onsen - an open-air hot spring. It is a free, mixed-gender hot spring that you can only enter with bathing suits on. There is a cloakroom with baskets to put your clothes in and a garden hose to wash yourself a little before (bring your own soap/shampoo). From the hot spring, you can enjoy a fantastic view of the lush green surroundings. There is also a waterfall next to the onsen, which is accessible from a trail on the side of the road.  

Be mesmerized by these sightings during a dive at Hachijō-Jima Island

Be mesmerized by these sightings during a dive at Hachijō-Jima Island

All year round:
・A variety of nudibranch
・Shrimps and crabs
・Macro marine life
・Wrought-iron butterflyfish (Chaetodon daedalma)
During spring to autumn seasons:
・Redtail triggerfish (Xanthichthys mento)
・Banded boar head (Evistias acutirostris)
During the autumn season:
・Schools of greater amberjack (Seriola dumerili)
・Rainbow runner (Elagatis bipinnulata)
・Dogtooth tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor)
During the winter season:
・Harlequin shrimp (Hymenocera picta)

A multitude of outdoor activities to enjoy

A multitude of outdoor activities to enjoy

The island is full of wonders, and there are a few other activities for you to enjoy during your Hachijō-Jima trip:

Hike Mt. Chibiusa - a hike up this peak will give you incredible views across the island and the unending blue ocean beyond, plus you get a chance to see the diverse plant life
Bird watching - the island is an unspoiled natural haven for numerous species of birds such as the Bonin Honeyeater, making it the ideal destination for twitchers
Jungle trekking - there are a number of trails to follow through the jungle in order to spot the unique plant and animal species on the island

The Hachijō-Jima island tour is ideal for divers who want an incredible adventure and the chance to take multiple dives but are short on time while in Japan.

Trip 3: Dive in Tokyo Bay at Jōgashima Island

Trip 3: Dive in Tokyo Bay at Jōgashima Island

The last of our three best trips is to the island of Jōgashima, which is the closest option to Tokyo. Jōgashima is an island in the municipality of Miura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan which is only about 85km from Tokyo. You can reach this island by car as there is a bridge connecting it to the main island. The transfer takes about 2 hours.

This specific tour is open to healthy and physically fit certified divers only. You will be asked to provide your certification card from registered dive training information as well as information about your past scuba diving experience and last dive date.

What's included in Jōgashima island dive day trip package

Let's start with all the package details before explaining what you can expect on the excursion:

・Destination: Jōgashima Island
・Recommended season for this package: All year round - each season offers different marine life sightings
・Duration: A six-hour tour that includes two dive tanks
・Type of experience: Diving, snorkeling, adventure, outdoors, beaches
・Travel style: A "private diving" plan - your group will have your own transport and an English-speaking private guide
・Age requirements: Age 12+
・Trip type: For experienced and certified divers
・Accommodation: None
Meal plans: Lunch is included. Unspecified or offsite meals are not included
Transportation: This package includes transportation with a private car or van pick up from the meeting point, which can be either Narita Airport (arrival lobby), Haneda Airport (arrival lobby), or Tokyo Down Town Hotel. Location is to be determined after booking. The islands can be accessed via a bridge from Tokyo city. The transfer takes about two hours and 30 minutes
English speaking assistance: Available
Insurance: Included

Discover rare species of sea slugs on a dive trip off Jōgashima island

Discover rare species of sea slugs on a dive trip off Jōgashima island

As it is quite close to the Tokyo area, Jogashima Island is very popular for day trip diving. This lush green island is the perfect destination for a day trip, and it's close enough to easily fit in a dive or two. The island has a gorgeous park that can be explored as well as multiple restaurants that tend to serve fresh seafood straight off the boat.

Here, you can dive the Tokyo Bay, with its complex underwater terrain, filled with both wide to macro beauty. Tokyo Bay, Sagami Bay, and Kuroshio create three tides that get mixed. And Jogashima Island is right in the center of it. This rich combination of currents means that the area is bursting with macro life all year round. 

Jogashima is especially rich in sea slugs! Rare species also appear in the region constantly. You may be lucky to see over 30 different types of nudibranch on the same day. Due to the currents, you can see many large schools of colorful fish as well. The underwater terrain is also extremely diverse, making for an interesting dive experience. You can even enjoy diving alongside a large crevasse (100m long and 10m deep) and dynamic drop-offs during your diving excursion.

The whole island offers a stunning experience both above and underwater. From the island, you can appreciate breathtaking vistas of Mount Fuji, nearby volcanic peaks, the Izu Peninsula, and other islands in the bay, to name just a few. It is a remarkable destination that is also known for its daffodils that bloom in the thousands in the dead of winter, creating a mesmerizing and colorful landscape for visitors to marvel at.

You may spot these marine creatures during a dive at Jōgashima island

You may spot these marine creatures during a dive at Jōgashima island

All year round:
・Stingrays (Myliobatoidei)
・Pipefish (Syngnathinae)
During the spring season:
・More than 30 species of nudibranchs
・Seahorses (Hippocampus)
・Snails and slugs
・Cuttlefish (Sepiida)
・Moss damselfish (Pomacentridae)
・Large schools of black marlin (Istiompax indica)
・Lobster fish (Homarus americanus)
During the winter season:
・Hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna mokarran)
During the autumn season:
・Schools of lionfish (Pterois volitans)

The Jogashima Island day trip is a super option for divers who want an opportunity to go diving in Japan but are only able to dedicate a day to the experience.

Go on an underwater adventure with JAL

Go on an underwater adventure with JAL

There is no doubt about it; whichever option you choose, you're sure to have one great underwater adventure. The vast wilderness and incredible underwater landscapes of Japan are just waiting to be explored by you. Since Japan is covered in volcanic mountains, the underwater seascape is dominated by rocky formations, crevices, drop off, and a fascinating topography that will appeal to any adventurous diver.

Now that you're aware of what magical land and seascapes there are in Japan and especially around the Tokyo area, it's time to plan your underwater adventure. Scuba diving in Tokyo is most definitely a bucket list experience regardless of which of the three destinations you choose. Whether you want to go diving in Ogasawara, snorkeling in Hachijō-Jima, or do both off the coast Jogashima, JAL can arrange it all for you and your entire group. Our all-inclusive diving packages offer travelers a taste for adventure an unforgettable vacation that is unique to Japan and its island chains.

You may book a diving activity by itself or as an addition to a hotel + flight package or hotel reservation. We offer diving activities in select cities (Hokkaido, Sapporo, Tokyo, Osaka, Wakayama, Kagoshima, Amami Oshima, Okinawa) Please choose either a flight destination or a hotel in these cities to see diving tour options.

Getting There