Cape Maeda is most popular diving spot on Okinawa
By Jun Ikemura
With the arrival of summer, scuba diving is moving to the forefront of the most popular activity on Okinawa.
Scuba diving is more than popular, to say the least. Because of that popularity, tourists visiting Okinawa to dive are finding plenty of places to get both information and equipment. Dive shops are virtually everywhere on the island, and some boast English speaking staff. At the top of that list are Honu Honu Divers in Naha http://hhdivers.com/en/ (098) 988-8877, Natural Blue in Yomitan village http://www.natural-blue.net or Ocean Gate in Ginowan http://ocean-gate.net.
Okinawa has become an international sightseeing island, and with a rapidly increasing number of foreign visitors, many are wanting to try their hand at scuba diving. Kerama archipelago was assigned to International Ocean Park in 2014, and many tourists are visiting Kerama for diving or snorkeling.
Maeda Point, though, is the very, very special diving and snorkeling spot in Okinawa. Its cape location and big reef rocks surround the point. Still, it is easy to dive for beginners and there is very clean ocean and colorful fish swimming just in front of you.
One geographic specialty of Maeda Point is called Blue Cave in the sea. A mysterious cave located at Maeda Point, after you enter the cave, you will see mystic blue light that the sunlight changes to blue because of inflection. It is, of course, nature made and that’s why locals call it a mystic view. Maeda Point is good for beginners but instructors remind divers that nobody should dive alone, recommending visits there at least in groups of three or more divers.
Tetsuro Nagasaka, the owner of Honu Honu Divers, explains that “The blue cave was created by wave erosion, and the surface lighting is blue because of the reflected sunlight.” This is the most popular diving or snorkeling spot on Okinawa’s main island. The fish habitat around blue cave is very friendly and approach divers by themselves.
“Many kinds of fish and coral colonies are around the area,” Nagasaka says. He point out that there’s no fishing allowed in the area so the fish are used to people feeding them.
In the summer time, you can enter the cave from down the point by yourself, but if it is a bit windy or waves are high or surging, you should be accompanied by instructors. It is also possible to approach the cave by boat and the entry into the cave is very easy. In the winter season or times of strong winds, waves at the point would be very high, tough, and people cannot dive or play around the area.
There are also some great hidden beaches around Cape Maeda, such as Beach 51, which has become more popular lately. Beach 51 next to Maeda flats is also where a lot of baby sea turtles are born after the mother turtles come up on to the beach to lay eggs.
There is a pay parking lot and a service facility at the point, and showers and toilets are available. A light meal restaurant is also at the facility. A short boardwalk and playground complete the area, making it perfect for taking a family picnic.
There are also beach spots around Maeda point, where visitors can play on the beach even if they don’t dive or snorkel. After diving or just playing around the Maeda area, visitors can try genuine Italian dishes at the Pizzeria da ENZO that has just opened in April. It offers a superb view of Maeda Point. The restaurant is a nice spot to take a lunch, dinner or just a rest with a cold drink and a nice view.
Roles of snorkeling and real time sea conditions at Maeda in English are at www.maedamisaki.jp/en