Hot Spot For Sea Turtles! Head To Hachijojima For A 90% Chance Of Seeing Sea Turtles

4 minutes read

Hachijojima sea turtles
Something I always wish to see when I’m in the ocean, are sea turtles.
The idea of just casually swimming in the ocean and coming face to face with a sea turtle gliding through the water with its large body may seem next to impossible. Nevertheless there is a place that we know of where there is a higher than 90% chance of seeing them – and that place is Hachijojima.

What is Hachijojima like?
Hachijojima Sea Turtles
Hachijojima, Tokyo Prefecture.
Streets lined with palm trees and a relatively warm climate creates a tropical island feel. 2 majestic mountains stand on both sides of the town, and the feel of a tropical island together with the vastness of mountains creates a distinctly Hachijojima-like atmosphere.
A trip to a tropical island may sound like quite the trip, but in fact it’s only a 45 minute flight from Tokyo Haneda Airport. By boat it takes 10 hours, but as the boat travels overnight on the way to the island, you can sleep through most of the journey and arrive around the time that you wake up. Plus, it’s affordable, a round trip ticket only costs ¥15,000-20,000.
Hachijojima sea turtles
A tropical island feel paired with plentiful fresh fish as only possible on an island with an active fishing industry, plenty of activities to do in the mountains and in the water, and onsen hot springs to heal your sun damaged skin… it’s an island loaded with attractions for a perfect way to spend your holiday.
What’s more, at Hachijojima, there is a higher than 90% chance that you will see sea turtles.

What’s the secret to seeing sea turtles at a higher than 90% chance?
So what are the ways in which you can see sea turtles on Hachijojima? There are two ways.
Hachijojima Sea turtles
These are snorkeling and diving.
To be more precise, it’s snorkeling and diving in the summer, and just diving in winter. In Hachijojima, even in the winter the water temperature is higher than 20 degrees celsius. Oftentimes you are required to have a license to go diving, but at Hachijojima there are options to join a guided dive for which no license is required, or go snorkeling with kids and still get to see sea turtles.
There are tricks to reaching the hot spots for sea turtles, so it’s best to go with an instructor to raise your chances.

    Hachijojima Snorkeling Guide – Hachijojima Tourism Association (Only in Japanese)
    Pricing: ¥4,000-7,000
    Hachijojima Diving Guide – Hachijojima Scuba Diving Business Association (Only in Japanese)
    Pricing: ¥10,000-15,000

You are free to go snorkeling without a guide, but for a better chance of spotting sea turtles, or else you aren’t an experienced snorkeler, it’s safer to be accompanied by a guide.

Have your photo taken on a guided dive!
You can hold those memories spent swimming with sea turtles in your heart, but wouldn’t it be even better if you actually have a photographic record? Some of the shops offering guided dives help take photos of you with the sea turtles. Some even give you the data for free.
Hachijojima sea turtles
The diving shop I used this trip is called Arabesque (The website is written in Japanese).
It wasn’t until quite recently that I went snorkeling for the first time in a decade, so needless to say I was quite nervous about trying out diving, a next level up for me. That said, I was given proper training prior to going in the water, and even once in the water the guide stayed close to me so I wouldn’t get scared. I eventually got comfortable enough to swim with the sea turtles, and admire the cute tropical fish swimming by, but most of all I enjoyed the surreal experience of  recognizing that I was swimming inside of the great ocean.
Hachijojima sea turtles diving
All the photos of myself in the water with sea turtles were given to me by Arabesque. I am very satisfied with the quality of the photos.

Go see some sea turtles any time of year!

Hachijojima Travel
Hachijojima is great even for a short weekend trip. With tropical plants, seasonal glowing mushrooms, hiking, onsens and more, there are a ton of activities to be enjoyed.
How about going there next weekend?
Hachijojima Travel
Enjoy a relaxing trip where you can be close to sea turtles and nature.

    Hachijojima Access
    ANA – flight reservations here
    Tokai Kisen – ferry reservations here

Ship Booking

Departure Date
Requests only for return tickets with outward journey starting in Tokyo. This service only handles reservations of return tickets departing from Takeshiba Terminal in Tokyo. Call to make reservations for other ticket types.

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Reservations can be made up to 2 months in advance of departure date.

*For example:
If departure date is August 1st, reservations can be made starting June 1st.
If departure date is August 4th, reservations can be made starting June 4th. Please check ferry schedule, fare and availability of seats before filling in your preferred date and time.
Please check the "ACCEPT" button after confirmation by the above by all means.


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