Top 10 Okinawa Dive Spots
There is no shortage of great diving sites in Okinawa and a small number of truly exceptional scuba spots you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The tropical climate of these southern Japanese islands along with crystal clear waters helps make it a popular destination among snorkelers and divers from around the planet. This is why we will reveal all the most unforgettable dive sites in Okinawa – including everything from sunken American warships to 10,000 year old underwater ruins.
The USS Emmons
Just off Kouri Island’s north coast sits the USS Emmons which was sunk by Japanese kamikaze pilots during World War 2. The 384 foot long USS Emmons’s stern sits at a depth of 150 feet and the bow at 138 feet. It’s also regarded as a war grave and therefore no diver is allowed to enter the actual ship or take any souvenirs.
Even though there are many dive shops who will take you on this incredible expedition, diving the wreckage is seen as a rare privilege. Excursions to the wreckage depends on water clarity, there is a long waiting list and it’s only for advanced and skilled wreck divers. All this makes it undoubtedly the most in demand diving spot in Okinawa.
The Manza Dream Hole
The Manza dream hole is an L shaped cave situated just off the coast from Cape Manza. Divers go out by boat and drop down into a narrow opening before reaching a large chamber filled with various fish species. From there they will travel approximately 28 meters through the tunnel until they reach the exit on the other side.
Once reaching the end, divers can descend to the ocean floor where they will see garden eels sticking out the sand or follow the stone wall to a colorful coral reef. The maximum depth is 30 meters and there are sections of the tunnel that are pitch black.
The Mini Dream Hole
The Mini Dream Hole is located right next to the Manza Dream Hole and is considered to be a smaller version of it. It offers a very similar experience to the neighboring Manza Dream Hole with the exception that the tunnel is much shorter and its maximum depth is about 18 meters. Also, at the entrance is a stunningly beautiful and colorful coral reef. The mini hole is usually the preferred choice for beginner divers before taking on its larger neighbor.
The Yonaguni Ruins
The Yonaguni ruins are believed to be the remains of an ancient civilization from 10,000 years ago. The structures, which consists of gigantic steps and other monoliths, are all underwater just off the coast of Yonaguni island. It’s believed that the sea level rose by approximately 400 feet at the end of the last ice age which is why these incredible structures are below water.
The waters here are said to be the third clearest in the world and the structures are not far below the surface, but there are days when strong currents prevail which is why such a diving expedition is not for the inexperienced. Nevertheless, it’s one of the best Okinawa dive spots. See pictures and get more information on this ancient and mysterious site at diveplanit.com.
The Nita Cave can be found by the Kerama islands and is home to scores of soldierfish and Ryukyu sweepers. The conditions in the cave are ideal for beginner divers who can enjoy the magical views caused by sun rays shining through the cracks of the cave.
The Sunabe Seawall
Sunabe is the ideal Okinawa diving spot for beginners near Cape Maeda on the main island. You enter at the Sunabe seawall before descending to a vibrant coral reef similar to a flower field. There is a minimal current and the maximum depth is 25 meters.
The W-Arch which is located in the Miyako islands are a set of double underwater arches with one being in the shape of a heart. It’s one of the most popular Okinawa dive spots thanks to the clear calm waters and low depth of 18 meters. The cavern is also home to beautiful fish species such as Japanese red pine umbrellas and oyabitcha.
The Tonbara Rock sits off the Kume island coast. It can be recognized by the large rock formation sticking out the waters surface but the best parts lie underneath the surface. There are many beautiful rock structures below and there are a wide variety of fish species. The only downside is that strong currents make it off limits to inexperienced divers and it has a maximum depth of 35 meters.
The Blue Cave
The blue cave is the most popular diving and snorkeling spot on the main island. The water is shallow and it radiates a bright luminous blue light which helps create a stunningly beautiful and surreal environment. There are many varieties of fish species within the cave which will swim right up to you while you are snorkeling or diving. It’s possible to visit and enjoy the blue cave anytime of year but its recommended to avoid it on most weekends and during July and August. Reason being there are too many people and its not unusual to see crowds lined up outside the actual cave waiting for space to open up.
Just off Hateruma island sits a diving spot known as Hateruma Blue. The waters are fairly shallow, crystal clear and on the surface you will find snow white sand and spectacular coral reefs. Currents are minimal which makes it great for beginner divers as they explore this incredible underwater world while having feelings of weightlessness. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Okinawa dive spots for beginners.