Compared with other diving areas in Japan, Ishigaki isunique as it is located in Sekisei lagoon, and forms complex geometry that provides ideal natural environment for diving.
Most of the dive areas are 5-30m deep with little current,and ideal for any level of divers. Complex geography
formed by the nearby islands of Yaeyama creates wind shelter from most directions, and diving is generally available except under conditions of extremely strong wind such as that of typhoon.
Prime Scuba covers wide area of Ishigaki and nearby islands of Yaeyama such as Taketomi, Kohama, Iriomote, Kuroshima, Panari, etc.
Kabira Manta Point (Depth : 8-20m)
The most famous diving points of Ishigaki are the Manta points. located north west of Ishigaki (Kabira Ishizaki). Manta rays come fromthe west, hover over at the top of the cleaning stations here, and go back. If you can get to these points, there is probably 70% chance you will see them (sometimes 5-10 at the same time!)
The best season for watching manta rays here is May-October, as the wind blows from the south and accesibility to the area is high.
Diving style at Kabira’s Manta Points is unique. Go with your guide to the nearby reef, and stay on the reef (no floating around). There are strick local rules such as “Don’t touch manta”, “Don’t chase manta”, etc. Make sure you know the rules before you dive!
Sukuji Area (Depth : 10-30m)
Sukuji bay is located directly to the west of Kabira manta point. Its general tranquility makes it a perfect place for a relaxing diving and lunch.
The area has a shallow sand bottom and reef points that go beyond 30m under water. Square spot fairy basslet may be spotted around 25m. Enjoy relaxing dives with beautiful curtain of sunshine.
Osaki/Nagura Area (Depth : 5-30m)
Located on the west of Ishigaki island, in between the city port and Kabira area. On the map above, it looks like a big mouth of Ishigaki.
There are so many colorful fishes such as goldies and purple queens. In spring, giant cuttlefishes come to this area and lay eggs in between the coral branches. Nagura bay is also famous for the world’s third largest pavona clavus, a type of coral.
There are many unique gobies at some deep points, and you will probably see a school of batfish.
Taketomi Island Area (Depth : 5-40m)
One of the closest island from the ishigaki city port, and Taketomi island is also one of the most popular visitor point for those who visit Ishigaki (only 20min ferry ride).
There are many dive points around Taketomi island. Watch garden eels swinging their bodies and feed, or millions of glass fishes around corals. Enjoy the reefs, and sometimes school of tunas come pass by.
In the winter, you should stop by underwater hotspring to keep your body warm!
Kohama / Iriomote Island Area (Depth : 5-30m)
Iriomote Island (population 2,500) is the largest island of Yameyama. It is known for rare animals such as Iriomote Wildcat or Crested Serpent Eagle, both of which are nationally protected.
There are variety of dive points for this area – some reefs, some caves, some sand, and a reck diving point. You may find millions of small cardinal fishes in the cave showing us a group dance. Also, if you are lucky, you may spot manta rays on their way to Kabira manta point
Kuroshima / Panari Island Area (Depth : 7-30m)
Kuroshima (population 220) is a heart shaped island located south west of Taketomi. It is known for growing cows, and there are 10 times more cows than people. Aragusuku, also known as Panari (meaning annex in local language), consists of two small islands.
This area is known for relatively high visibillity through out a year. Many small reefs are spread around on white sand, and provides homes for small creatures. You can find longnose hawkfish at 7m deep. As the name of one of the dive point “Therapy” suggests, this isan area where you just want to melt your soul in the relaxing world of Kuroshima ocean.
Hateruma Island Area (Depth : 10-30m)
About 1.5 hours from Ishigaki, and Hateruma (population 500) is the southern most island of Japan that civilians can visit everyday. The name Hateruma came from “Hate no Uruma”, meaning remote island of Ryukyu (Okinawa).
As it is a bit far from Ishigaki, access is limited on days with good ocean conditions (best around rainy season of May). Hateruma’s blue water, however, is something that you should see once in your lifetime. River of fusiliers, tunas, turtles, napoleon fhshes, etc…
If the condition is good and you get a chance, it is worth trying for extra time and cost.