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Feel the Coolness of the Blueness: Japan's vast marine preserves.



Summer is usually at its peak in August in Japan with many Japanese returning home to be with extended family, friends, and relatives.  It's almost impossible to get around by car with traffic and packed trains. Many locals stay within greater Tokyo to enjoy the festivities.  Perhaps the most exciting time to be here is summer because I love the cool of summer water off the coast of anywhere in Japan.  




Just the other day we went over our gear to make sure everything was in good condition.  Fins, snorkels, gloves, and rash guards; Japan is notorious for box jellyfish. We hopped on the express called the Tokaido Line from Tokyo to southern Izu - took 90 minutes to reach our destination.   Taxi ride from the station was 1000 yen / $10.00 USD. We found a nice little dive site and got suited up and in the deep blue we went. Our eyes were blessed beyond our expectations!




The summers are hot, humid, and sultry around the entire island, including Hokkaido, which was once a safe haven for those escaping the heat, is now just as hot as Tokyo!   Global warming is being felt as I type. Here in Japan, locals douse the pavement with cold water to help cool their door fronts. Chubby babies eat shaved ice with purple tongues while a doting mother fans it incessantly.   The smell of hot musk permeates the air, like it's be cut through with a knife.   



Japan is blessed with having some of the highest concentration of oxygen in its waterways and oceans.   The oceans are teeming with marine life here and is good for snorkeling and skin diving - surprisingly.   It is said that places like Maui, Guam, and Oceania are vastly more beautiful in both depth and scale than anywhere in Japan, but not so fast here.   Blue Grunts, rockfish, and trumpet fish are all found in abundance an hour from Tokyo Bay! It is true that you most likely will not see giant sea turtles and sharks off the coast of Izu.  And you may not expect to sea sea grass in abundance either, unless you go a little farther out.  



("Japan has over 7000 islands, many uninhabited.") 

There are touristy waters just around the Shonan area - except for Taitei Beach - which are no longer beautiful but were once graveyards 400 years ago - Kamakura.  When only the ruling class could afford a burial site. If you weren't in this class your body was beached after death right where the kids play in the sand today.  



Nah.  What I am talking about is the beautiful cool waters off the rocky coastline of Kotogawa Beach in Manazuru. Dark sea water is often cooler than see through blue ocean water.  The drop off point is fairly steep shortly after entry. Beach entry from a rocky coast is dangerous and you should enter nearest to the water.  




After a long afternoon of snorkeling in the deep blue it's time to eat and drink, so off we went to a local eatery near the station.   We first rehydrated with a few ice cold beers and fresh Japanese sake.




All of Izu is famous for outstanding seafood, especially the sashimi.   The fish is never frozen instead it is made to order and kept alive before cutting.


Fresh horsemackerel

Deep fried mackerel!

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