Diving in the Blue Cave in Okinawa, Japan
When you look for scuba diving in Okinawa, the Blue Cave is the first search result for obvious reasons: it has a magnificent view, easy access by boat or from the shore and while suitable for beginner divers, experienced scuba masters can find their treasures as well.
You can often see school of fish just hanging around the reef, octopuses hiding in the cracks and turtles swimming around the deeper parts of the ocean.
How to visit the Blue Cave
The easiest way to dive in the Blue Cave is to find a scuba diving tour operator in Okinawa. There are many Japanese speaking dive shops on the island, but only a handful of English speaking speaking company to choose from and most of the dive shops are offering the PADI Discover Scuba Diving program for first time divers either with 1 or 2 dives. We recommend to choose diving from a boat, rather than diving from the shore, as it’s a lot more convenient and exciting scuba diving experience.
Diving from the shore at Maeda
If you opt to dive from the shore at the Blue Cave instead of boat diving, then you will have to go to Maeda Misaki, a car park on the top of the hill, with steps wind down to the ocean. If arriving with a car, you will need to pay 100 yen/hour for parking.
Inside Maeda Misaki, you can find a small restaurant with hot/cold drinks and basic foods like Okinawa Soba, hot showers( 2 minutes for 100 yen) changing area and toilets. Of course there are also vending machines too, with coffee and a wide selection of cold drinks.
To access the water you will need to use the steps down to the ocean. These steps are long and steep, so they require a lot of work to walk down and then up again with the scuba gear.
Sometimes the steps are also closed due to high winds and waves, so it is always better to check the conditions before driving all the way there.
Can I go to the Blue Cave without a guide?
The short answer is yes, you can. If you have your own diving gear and the necessary experience, so you can explore Maeda and the Blue Cave by yourself from the shore. In general, it’s not considered a hard dive site, so can enjoy it even with a PADI Open Water Diver license together with the right buddy.
After walking down the steps and jumping into the water, just follow the cliff to your right underwater and eventually you will get to the entry point of the Blue Cave. Remember, if you don’t know where you are, just surface in a safe manner -paying very close attention to the moving boats- and look around. There is a good chance that other people, including snorkelers, are heading into the same direction as you.
If you stay close to the wall, then the average depth is going to be between 1-10meters and inside the cave it’s 2 to 7 meters deep. Don’t worry, it is an open cave with snorkelers on the surface, so in case you have any problems while diving, you can always go up with just a short swim.
Can I rent diving gear at Maeda Misaki?
No, you can’t rent diving gear or tanks when visiting Maeda Misaki and planning to dive by yourself.
Diving from a boat at the Blue Cave in Okinawa
Diving in the Blue Cave from a boat is lots of fun and excitement. Most diving shops use the port in Onna Village next to Moon Beach to access the Blue Cave, which is only a short boat ride away from the surrounding dive sites. From here you can easily get to a dive site called: Yamada, an artificial coral farm created by scientists to grow beautiful corals and to learn more about coral bleaching.
If you decide to dive at the Blue Cave from a boat, you will need to find a dive shop first and hire a guide. The local boat captains won’t allow you to join the trip without one.
How to choose the right diving shop in Okinawa?
Choosing the right diving shop in Okinawa depends on your needs and budget. Most Japanese and English diving shops offer scuba diving for first time divers and certified divers as well, but some only deals with beginners, while others do mostly shore dives instead of diving from a boat.So there is a good mix of options to choose from. The same applies for their stock of diving gear too. You can find everything from beat up, standard Aqualung bcd to top quality Dive Rite. If we can recommend, don’t go for the cheapest option when looking for a diving shop in Okinawa. Remember: you get what you’ve paid for.
How much diving in the Blue Cave cost?
The price of diving in Okinawa, Japan is generally not cheap when comparing it to other South East Asian countries. 1 shore dive can cost anywhere between 5-8000jpy and a boat dive cost around 6-12.000jpy. For example 2 boat dives cost 14.000jpy with Sunkissed Divers Okinawa, but the groups are always small and the diving schedule can be tailored around your day.
If you prefer an early morning start, then you can go diving at 07:30 and finish by 12:00, but if you prefer to have a lazy morning with a brunch, then can start as late as 13:30 and be ready by 17:00.
There are plenty of options to choose from, so don’t hesitate to ask.