East Asia

Dive into Taiwan: Northeast Coast Treasures

Reef scene at Secret Garden, found along Taiwan's northeastern coast. Photo by Kyo Liu
Reef scene at Secret Garden, found along Taiwan's northeastern coast

Taiwan is a group of Pacific islands surrounded by warm tropical seas. It is easy to get to and get around, and it is also a first-world society with outgoing, friendly, laid-back people. Simon Pridmore gives us a glimpse into the beautiful dive sites and unique marine life that can be found here.

Japan's Miyakojima

Miyako Island abounds with macro subjects, like this Phyllidia varicosa nudibranch photographed with a snoot. Photo by Martin Voeller.

Year 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has confronted the world with an unprecedented situation. Many countries went into lockdown, and as a result, many people were forced to stay indoors, including myself in Japan. Although Japan never went into an official “lockdown”—it instead went into a so-called state of emergency—I could not wait to get out of the Tokyo metropolis as soon as restrictions were lifted.

Japan Underwater Photo Contest 2020 Winners

Gold Medal winner: "Survival," a photo capturing a butterflyfish feeding on spawning corals in Yakushima, Kagoshima
Gold Medal winner: "Survival," a photo capturing a butterflyfish feeding on spawning corals in Yakushima, Kagoshima

From October to Novem­ber of 2020, the Japan National Tourism Organ­ization (JNTO) held its second annual Japan Underwater Photo Contest, seeking photos taken by divers that showcase the undiscovered beauty and artistry of diving in Japan to the world.

Japan's Hachijō-jima

Wrought iron and Japanese butterflyfishes forming a loose shoal, Hachijō-jima, Japan. Photo by Richard Smith.

Japan’s diving scene used to be a well-kept secret, but more and more people have realised that Japan has much more to offer than just sushi and karaoke. The country spans a vast latitudinal range, from the tropical south where coral reefs dominate around Okinawa and the other Ryukyu Islands, into the almost subarctic north. As a result, its biological diversity is great, with many different habitats accommodating a wide array of species.

Okinawa

Okinawa—simply saying the name has so many connotations. The island itself is huge, and yet it’s an oceanic island far from the Asian continent. It takes two and half hours to fly from Hong Kong, the closest point on mainland China, to get here.