For underwater adventures, head down to the southern islands of Okinawa or Kyushu. The crystal-clear waters and warm temperatures attract many divers, who come not only to see the marine life but also to explore underwater ruins and wrecks from World War II.

Visit Yurigahama sand bar (pictured below) in Kagoshima prefecture for truly sensational underwater (and overwater!) views. The island is actually a sandbar, and appears and disappears depending on the monthly tides. The other magical thing about Yurigahama is its unusual star-shaped "sand" - the grains of "sand" are actually the tiny shells left behind by microscopic organisms.

Yurigahama Beach

Where to go scuba diving and snorkelling in Japan?

Japan, unbeknownst to most people, is a hotbed of tropical islands, beaches and crystal clear waters - meaning there are fantastic diving opportunities all over the country.

Our top three recommendations, however, are as follows:

1. Ogasawara Islands

A group of thirty islands scattered in the Pacific Ocean, teaming with coral and wildlife. The Ogasawara Islands are 25 hour boat ride away from Tokyo, south of the Izu Islands out in the Pacific Ocean. The islands’ remoteness  provides some unique flora and fauna on land and underwater, the crystal clear waters will reveal spectacular marine life and beautiful coral reefs.

2. Izu Shichito Islands

The Izu Islands are a string of seven islands floating in the Pacific Ocean south of Tokyo, forming part of the Fuji volcanic belt. Filled with hot springs, these volcanic islands have a beautifully temperate climate and are the ideal location for a variety of marine sports. Their moderate climate makes them the perfect destination for lovers of scuba diving.

3. Okinawa

Situated to the far south of Japan's main islands, Okinawa is teeming with fantastic snorkelling and diving spots. As well as the main islands, there are world-class diving spots to be found on the smaller islands, such as the Kerama Islands, Ishigakijima's famous "Manta Scramble", Yonagunijima's mysterious submerged monument, and Miyakojima's Yabiji coral reefs - the largest in Japan - and Gakeshita underwater domed cavern.

Islands of Okinawa