If you’re looking for the best place to go whale watching in Japan, you will make one of the best decisions if you head to Kerama Islands. Besides being historically involved in the Battle of Okinawa, the island is also home to many wandering whales which have an annual migration as this is where they give birth and raise their offsprings. This provides tourists a chance to conveniently watch the lumbering whales.
Kerama Islands is located in the southwest part of Okinawa which is a group of 22 islands. Among these islands, only 4 are inhabited (Tokashiki Island, Zamami Island, Aka Island, and Geruma Island). Its location played a significant contribution to the Japanese history in the past. It became a staging area for the assault on Okinawa. It is also said that the first civilian mass suicide happened there. A Japanese film entitled, “I Want to See Marilyn,” used the place as a setting for the blossoming love story of two dogs who lived on the neighboring islands.
The island is a popular beach and diving destination for many tourists. The best way to enjoy the emerald blue ocean is to take part in tours which will give you an access to watching whales up-close. Dozens of tours are being dispatched by the Zamami Whale Watching Association especially during the end of the year. Daily tours take 2 and a half hours from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Spotters are employed to look for whales by using binoculars and are situated at the highest observatories of the island. At this point, the boats will then take you to the site of the whales. Most of the time, whales are seen at an 80% probability. If no whales are spotted, the ticket issued will then be for free. Each ticket costs 5,250 yen for adults, and 2,625 yen for children. The usual season for whale watching runs from January to March.
Whale watching is a fun experience to have in Kerama Islands; however, take proper caution if you have sea sickness. If you do so, you may opt to do the activity from the shore instead.