japan

Underwater stroll leads to mysterious world

Divers walk on what is believed to be the ancient site of a sunset festival off the coast of Izumo, Shimane Prefecture.


By Kazuhiko Okada - The Asahi Shimbun

“Sea walks” have become increasingly popular at an undersea world here believed to have been the home of ancient sunset worshippers.

Off the city’s Hinomisaki cape, in depths up to 30 meters, various carved rocks are scattered about, resembling an altar, stairs, an approach and turtles. There is also a cave with a gravel-covered floor.

Divers can view these features up close by walking on the sea floor near Fumishima island.

It is really a mysterious world,” said Mutsuko Kobayashi, a 53-year-old care worker from Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, who visits the site once a month. “And the sea walk here makes me feel good.

Tetsuo Okamoto, a 59-year-old local diving guide who has been studying the area near the cape since 1999, discovered the rocks that year.

Since Fumishima island is known for its traditional sunset festival in August, Okamoto concluded that the underwater carved rocks were part of an ancient sunset festival site that became submerged under the sea.

After a diving magazine and other media featured the spot, an increasing number of divers and diving groups have been visiting Fumishima from the Kinki and Sanyo regions, according to Okamoto.