Shirahama Submarine Observation Tower

Description: 

In July 1970, Kushimoto Marine Park was the very first marine park established in Japan as the convenient way to get close contact with underwater nature, located along Sabiura Coast in Kushimoto, the southernmost point of Honshu. On year later in January 1971, a submarine observation tower opened to get the view of colorful corals and tropical fishes in the background of beautiful underseascape. Thanks to the hot flow, the water around is always clear and warm that has never been lower than 15 Celsius degree even in winter. Standing among pretty reefs of coral, the tower is called Coral Princess of all season who will generously bring you down to his amazing under world.

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Shirahama Submarine Observation Tower

Source: wanderlex

From the hotel Seymour, Shirahama underwater observation tower is located to a point 100 meters offshore. The bridge is white, long and narrow, running alone to the vast ocean in a nice contrast against the blue ground of Pacific Ocean. The bridge will lead you to a white flying saucer shaped deck from which you can get the panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding landscape. The tower with 18 meters in height goes down 8 meters deep to the sea and extends 5 meters below the surface of the sea. The stairs will bring you down with about 40 windows opening to the ocean world with a camera set on the submarine observation tower. Welcome to the dynamic and alive marine world. Through the clear and deep blue water, you will discover various species of fishes by time, day and season. The total number reaches to about 270 species recorded through the windows with about 20 to 40 permanent species that you can always see around such as Green moon wrasse, Butterfly fish, Heavenly damselfish, Anemone fish, and Girella.

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A window looking to the underwater world

Source: wanderlex

It is funny to to find out that it is not you who are watching swimming creatures but they are the ones who are looking back at you through the windows. Can you believe through their tiny eyes, they are fleering our limitted world inside the tower where we can not swim freely like them. Right like what they think, you will surely dream to be out of the glass and join their, swimming in the colorful coral reefs like in ancient fairy tale. You have already known the beauty of Shirahama but it is just a bit of the iceberg. The underwater observation tower is the way unique way to discover the tip of Shirahama iceberg, the hidden perspective of this region.

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A view through a window of the tower

Source: Kushimoto Marine Park

On the other hand, also belonging to the Kushimoto Marine Park, there are some other facilities like an aquarium, a glass boat, and a diving shop near the observation tower. You can find about 400 species of marine creatures in the aquarium from fish to invertebrates. Kushimoto is a leading diving spot in Honshu with a diving boat to bring you to over 20 diving spots around the park. Many undersea trails are set up in the bottom of the sea to discover the coral world.

Open time: 

-From May to September: from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm

-From October to April: from 8:00 am to 5:30 pm

The tower is usually closed during the last week of September.

Admission: 

-Adult: 800 yen

-Child ( under 12 years old): 500 yen

There is a discount for a group of 30 or more.

How to access: 
-From Kii-Tanabe station and Shirahama station: take the Meiko bus to Shin-Yuzaki bus stop in front of Hotel Seamore then take a 1 minute walk to the tower behind the hotel.
 
-From JR Kushimoto Station: take the Kumano Kotsu Bus and get off at Kaichu Koen-mae then take a 5 minute walk to the tower.
 
-The Undersea Observation Tower can be reached by a 10 minute walk from Sandanbeki cliff or Shirarahama Beach and a 5 minute walk from Senjojiki rock.