Diving in Japan, East Asia

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Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago of 6,852 islands in East Asia. Even though its diving is not particularly known to the rest of the world, it somehow rivals the riches of the Great Barrier Reef. Its strategic location also endows it with nutrients rich waters attracting a plenitude of marine life.

If you want to have close encounters with whales head straight to the island of Shikoku. It also sports close encounters with other huge animals such as spinner dolphin, spotted dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, sperm whale, and short-finned pilot whale.

For beginner to novice divers, visit Okinawa for its warm and crystal waters with visibility reaching over 50m deep. There is a myriad of splendid underwater scenery such as various natural underwater landscapes teeming with rich marine life including huge barracudas, schooling hammerhead sharks, and dog tooth tunas.

For wreck divers, visit Amed to explore the sunken WW2 Japanese patrol ship at 45m deep. It is now home to various fishes such as nudibranch and more reef fishes. Another popular shipwreck is the U.S.S. Emmons at 43m deep suitable only for technical divers.

The island of Ishigaki is where you could swim with the magnificent mantas and also marvel at its amazing coral colonies comparable to the Great Barrier Reef. Or, simply enjoy the sight of shrimp, nudibranch, and soft coral in the Kerama Islands. The fact is that all the islands have something unique to offer for all levels of divers.

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The government of Japan is an active participant in marine conservation efforts. The once whale hunters are now whale caretakers. Although in the world arena, Japan has plenty more to grow when it comes to serious marine conservation.

Japan has a four season climate. The North is typically cool while the South has a tropical climate.

The water temperature hovers around 17°C/62F in January to March and around 25°C/77F in June to October.

Japan's diving season is year round but it usually peaks in August to November.

The natural hazards include tsunamis generated by the occasional earthquakes from active volcanoes.

Japan's main entry point for intercontinental flights is either Narita Airport not far from Tokyo or Kansai Airport not far from Osaka. Some airlines also fly to Chubu International Airport not far from Nagoya.

Plane travel is not the only fastest way to travel in Japan, thanks to its futuristic trains.

There are also buses and taxis, but for your convenience, trains are the preferred transportation in mainland Japan.

Most domestic flights are leaving from Haneda going to the outlying islands such as Hokkaido and Okinawa.

General tip: always reserve your tickets in advance to avoid paying hefty price tags.

The general transportation system of Japan is exceptional.

Use the following links for more information about;

- Decompression Chambers Japan

- Foreign Travel Advice for Japan (UK Government)

- More about Japan (Wikipedia)

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