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Experience the Coastal Legacy and Natural Heart of Japan’s Kii Peninsula

Uncover coastal villages, misty mountains and the legacy of the "ama"—Japanese female divers with a tradition dating back more than 2,000 years.

By 3 min read

In February, the Agency for Cultural Affairs, in cooperation with the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO), revealed additional special content featuring exclusive destinations for its Japan Heritage website.

The content helps provide a more relaxed travel experience—soaking in the local atmosphere and taking a deep dive into Japan Heritage’s unique combination of historical traditions and bold innovation.

The new pages prominently feature photos by a famous Japanese photographer and exquisite high-definition videos. These give readers the sense of being virtually transported to Japan.

As with all Japan Heritage content, there is a strong emphasis on sustainability and preserving the country’s cultural legacy.

Where the land meets the sea: a diving heritage

The storied divers live in close harmony with nature.

Once found across Japan, Ise-Shima hosts many of the country’s remaining ama (divers) who venture underwater to collect shells, seaweed and more.

The ama live in close harmony with nature—plunging into the inky depths without any modern diving equipment. Instead, they rely on their expert knowledge of the sea and weather conditions to successfully make their dives.

A typical catch includes abalone shells, turban shells and seaweed. However, the divers are careful never to take too much and disturb the delicate marine ecosystem—a form of sustainable fishing dating back to at least the eighth century, when ama were mentioned in the Man’yoshu poetry compilation.

Today, you can join ama divers underwater as they practice their craft or sit with them in their amagoya (huts), where they rest after dives, grilling the fresh shellfish and imparting unique tales of traditional diving life.

The observation deck atop Mount Yokoyama offers expansive views of Ago Bay and its many islands.

The Japan Heritage official website

The newly added special content page highlights the harmony between culture and the natural landscape in this place where the land meets the sea.

Hidden on the fringes of the Kii Peninsula, the Ise-Shima area is rife with coastal bays and inlets, intrusions of the Pacific into the land. The blue waters of Ago Bay aren’t just a scenic backdrop, though; they are home to some of Japan’s most delicious seafood, such as the spiny Ise ebi (Japanese spiny lobster).

Experience the centuries-old tradition of the ama divers, fearless women who venture into the ocean’s depths to harvest the region’s bountiful shellfish and seaweed. Though mountainous and remote, this rugged coastline can be visited in comfort, as Ise-Shima also boasts some of the most luxurious and secluded resorts in Japan.

The Japan Heritage Official Website: Japan Heritage is a project focusing on various historic cultural properties across Japan, from those famous divers known worldwide to hidden gems known only to the select few.

The website features in-depth reports, stunning virtual reality presentations and video content, descriptions of the historical backgrounds of cultural properties, and much more. Links are provided to download many of this content free of charge.

Are you excited to travel again? What heritage destinations would you like to visit? Let us know in the comments!

Please direct any inquiries to:

TBS Sparkle
Communication & Business Division, Japan Heritage/Content Bank Project Team
(A project of the Agency for Cultural Affairs Policy Division, Office for Public and Media Relations)
Email: contentbank_info@gr.tbssparkle.co.jp

A project of the Agency for Cultural Affairs Policy Division, Office for Public and Media Relations.

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