The remote Ogasawara islands offer great scuba diving sites. The waters in August reach 25 degrees C (77 degrees F) and visibility is good to great between 30-50 meters. The main island of Chichijima is a popular dive destination of the Ogasawara chain. Chichijima is the island that offers the most amenities and where the ferry from Tokyo delivers visitors. Chichijima means “Father Island” in Japanese and it is the largest of the Ogasawaras. The second week of August hosts a festival on the island, and August is also a prime time for water temperatures, visibility and whale watching/listening. However, the Ogasawara islands are ideal year round. Typhoon season creates rough waters and sometimes severe weather; however, the season's range is between May and November, prime scuba time!
You can spot bottlenose dolphins while diving off the northern shore of Chichijima in the Anijima Straits at the dive site known as Nagasaki Washington, named for the two beaches that the dive site lies between. The dive site sits in clear waters with a white sandy bottom and scattered islands of reef and fish. It is common to see Blotched faintail rays, also commonly called Speckled stingray. The dive site is best known for its many coral species: Brain Coral, Starburst Coral, Cauliflower Coral, and the large polyped stoney Frogspawn coral some reaching the size of small cars. The colorful Schlegel's parrotfish, also known as the Yellowband parrotfish is a colorful inhabitant of the reef along Chichijima.
The small island of Minamjima, off the southwest coast of Chichijima, is a beach lover's paradise. There is a famous and classic arch of rock and a protected white sand beach that makes its way into the interior of the island. The blue lagoon that the arch protects is amazing and there are lots of pictures of this stunning place online. The majestic albatross, known as ahodori in Japanese, inhabits the island. The best dive sites are out in the bay where it’s common to spot white tipped reef shark, abundant coral and dolphin.
The island known as Anijima is just off the northern coast of Chichijima. Off the large bay known as Takinoura, there is a wreck dive site where American dive-bombers sunk the Yayoi Maru in about 25 meters of water. After 50 plus years, its bow is covered in coral. The wreck is swarmed with Almaco jacks and striped Amberjacks, making this a spectacular dive. The strong current makes the site accessible to advanced level scuba divers. However, the high visibility and relatively shallow bottom (just 25 meters) along with the warm water makes this dive relatively easy as far as advanced dive sites go.
The wreck Daimi Maru is in Chichijima's main harbor Futami Bay near Kaname Rock. The Japanese vessel was sunk by Allied aircraft and sank in just 33 meters of water, making it another dive-able wreck. This wreck is in clear waters and lies on sand coral. It is common to spot nurse sharks at the Daimi Maru wreck site.
Because the Ogasawara Islands have never been connected to a continent, many of the islands' animals and plants have undergone unique evolutionary processes. This has led to the given nickname of the “Galapagos of the Orient". Some 40% of the plant species on the islands is endemic. There are very few animals on the islands and the Bonin flying fox is a unique and endangered bat species visitors are lucky to see. The “goats gone wild” are much easier to spot! The islands are also home to over a 100 native land snail species, amazingly 90% of which are endemic to the islands.
The surrounding waters of the Ogasawara Islands host abundant tropical fish and coral reef species. Marine animals such as Humpback and Sperm whales, dolphins, and loggerhead turtles thrive. Whitetip reef shark are also common around the islands. It is common for scuba divers to hear Humpback whale songs echoing through the water. The Humpbacks migrate through the region each spring.
Scuba divers exploring the Ogasawaras will spot many tropical, colorful fish. Spotted garden eels buried in their sandy homes with snaky heads are a common sight off the island ledges. There are also Spotted snake eels that freely swim in their sinuous pattern along the sandy bottoms. Bull rays and the bright endemic Japanese pygmy angelfish are also typical sights for scuba divers.
A Giant squid was filmed off the Ogasawara Islands for the first time in the wild and got international attention in September 2005; a year later the Japanese resident was captured on film again. The Giant squids that inhabit the Ogasawara Island area are most likely the same species that inhabit most of the world's oceans. While it is unlikely for a scuba diver to see a Giant squid, it is possible.
Another dive location is accessible through the dive shop Urashima. The shop offers boat excursions that take divers to the uninhabited Keita Islands north of Chichijima. There is a dive site known as Tuna hole off Mukojima, where divers carefully wedge into a rock fissure and often drop in on resident sharks. This is an advanced dive and once inside the hollowed rock, it is common to swim with a school of tuna that circle and circle giving the site its name.
Today (18 May) I had a very bad experience with your company, agency Sunrise Tours I did the 'morning tour' in Tokyo with Kumie guide, car 11. The first stop was the Tokyo Tower, where there is no time to contemplate the view. Kumie did not use microphone and the group were large. Impossible all to hear it. She promissed free time. But that is not true, the time was exactly to run all over the place, we cannot stop. The guide also did not ask if somebody had questions and let us no time to...