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7 Exciting Water Sports to Try in Okinawa this Summer

Bring out the sunscreen and head on over to the islands of Okinawa for your fix of this summer’s hottest water sports. Located in the southernmost area of Japan, Okinawa Prefecture is comprised of 3 island groups – Okinawa Islands, Miyako Islands, and the Yaeyama Islands.

 

Feel the breeze in the island’s subtropical climate, pristine, white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. This unspoiled paradise makes it the perfect beach destination this summer.

 

How to Get to Okinawa’s Islands

Most tours will include a speedy boat transfer from the capital city of Naha to your desired island. The Kerama Islands, home to some of Okinawa’s most captivating snorkeling spots, can be reached via high-speed or regular ferry from Tomari Port in Naha.

 

To reach Okinawa’s outlying areas such as Ishigaki Island, direct flights are available from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, Nagoya’s Chubu Airport, Osaka’s Kansai Airport, Fukuoka Airport, and Naha Airport. Your flight will take around 1 to 3.5 hours, depending on your departure point.

 

Some water sports, like parasailing and banana boat riding, are actually located in Naha City itself. The best way to get around in Naha is through the monorail, which spans 12.9km, from Naha Airport to Shuri. You can also book a car rental service within the city or take the bus to reach destinations like Nago City and Blue Cave in Cape Maeda.

 

For a guaranteed smooth sailing experience, you can book your online tours through KKday.

 

Okinawa Water Sports

Check out these thrilling Okinawa summer activities and start planning your beach getaway ASAP:

 

Snorkeling

Discover the fascinating world underwater and go snorkeling. Stay near the surface of the water and witness vibrant coral reefs and tropical fish. If you’re lucky, you can spot majestic sea turtles and other colorful marine creatures. Snorkeling is usually done in shallow reefs, only 3 to 12 feet below the surface.

 

Best snorkeling spots in Okinawa

Kerama Islands (Kuefu Island, Chibishi Island and Nagannu Island), Nago City, Blue Cave (Cape Maeda)

 

What you need to know

Snorkeling in Okinawa is best during the summer season, from June to September.

 

Snorkeling requires no training, making it perfect for beginners. All you need is a snorkeling mask, an L or J-shaped tube attached to a mouthpiece, and swim fins (optional). You only need to hold your breath underwater for short periods of time, unlike with scuba diving.

 

Scuba Diving

For a more in-depth exploration of the ocean, opt for a scuba diving adventure. Get up close to over 200 species of coral reefs. Catch sight of  enormous manta rays at Manta Point in Ishigaki Island. Or head to Yonaguni, the country’s most remote island, and admire schools of hammerhead sharks during your dive.

 

Best scuba diving spots in Okinawa

Blue Cave (Cape Maeda), Kerama Islands (Zamami Island), Kuefu Island, Manta Point in Ishigaki Island, Ginowan, and Yonaguni Island

 

What you need to know

This activity requires training in how to use the breathing equipment, safety guidelines, and what to do when an emergency arises. Naturally, you would need proof of diving certification. There are tours online that includes diving course via books or e-learning module.

 

In contrast to snorkeling, equipment used is heavier and more complex. This includes pressurized gas tank, single hose, diving regulator, and swim fins.

 

Diving in Okinawa is best done in springtime until June. Late fall and winter seasons make the water too cold for longer dives, and June to November is usually typhoon season. Look out for humpback whales singing underwater during the months of January to March!

 

Parasailing

Soar over 50 meters high and marvel at the vastness of the blue ocean. Get fitted to a harness connected to an open parachute, attached to a speedy boat. Feel the sea breeze as you glide through the air on a perfect summer day!

 

Best parasailing spots in Okinawa

Naha Miegusuku Port

 

What you need to know

Travelers with heart conditions, epilepsy, panic disorders, and acrophobia are not recommended to join. Minors must bring a signed waiver from parent/guardian.

 

Paragliding

Paragliding in Okinawa (flickr/Hiroaki Kaneko, used under CC BY-SA 2.0)

Marvel at sparkling waters and golden sand beaches. Get the thrill of a lifetime on your paragliding adventure. Get fitted to a harness and reach up to 200 meters high. Take in panoramic views of the Okinawan countryside on your flight.

 

Best paragliding spots in Okinawa

Urumashi, Yomitan

 

What you need to know

You would need to undergo basic training before paragliding. There’s no need to worry since you would be accompanied by a skilled pilot on a tandem paraglide.

 

Banana Boat

If you’re looking for a fun group activity, then a banana boat ride is your best bet. Hold on for dear life as you ride the waves on a ‘banana boat’ or inflatable raft connected to a high-speed boat.

 

Best banana boat ride spots in Okinawa

Naha Miegusuku Port

 

What you need to know

Wear your life jacket at all times during the activity.

 

Super Marble

Climb aboard the ‘super marble‘, an inflatable circular raft. Sit down with a friend or two and prepare for a bumpy ride! Hang on to the raft as you ride the ocean waves.

 

Best spots in Okinawa

Naha Miegusuku Port

 

What you need to know

Wear your life jacket at all times during the activity. You will also be provided a safety helmet to prevent injuries.

 

Ocean Walk

Glimpse colorful marine life while ocean walking, also known as helmet diving. As the name implies, you are fitted with a special helmet that gives you a fisheye POV under the sea. Encounter stunning aquatic creatures without even getting your hair wet!

 

This water sport can be your gateway to diving, with no special skills required. Even non- swimmers can participate. This activity usually lasts for about 15 minutes.

 

Best spots in Okinawa

Nagannu Island

 

What you need to know

Put on a full wetsuit, boots, and gloves. Head to the ocean walking platform and wear the special helmet before climbing down a ladder to the seabed. Interestingly, you can wear your glasses underwater.

 

Have fun under the sun and feel the adrenaline rush with these top water sports in Okinawa.  

 

 
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