CONTRIBUTED BY QUENTIN RICHARDSON
I never though I would tell someone “I’d wish the fish would stop following me”, especially since I love snorkeling. This place has so many hungry fish that literally stalk you for food as you swim. They know the benefit of human interaction leads to a quick meal. This place has as many, if not more fish than Maeda Point.
Komaka Island is a tiny, pea-shaped island paradise off the coast of Cape Chinen in Nanjo City. The island sits above the very shallow waters of the Philipine Sea. You can explore the entire island in under half an hour.
Upon reaching Chinen Marine Leisure Center, you board the speedboat that takes you out to the island, which is a 15 minute ride. You need a life jacket to speed over teal blue water to reach the tiny port of Komaka. The guides will instruct you on the safety of the island. Be prepared to make a wet landing if the tide is high since part of the ramp is underwater.
Komaka Beach Area
Once on the beach, you will see a shaded area under a small cliff (earlier in the day) so set up your umbrella and beach towel here. Shade will become scarce later in the day due to the lack of trees and amount of tourists, so get to it early. From here, you don’t have to go far to get to the fish.
Komaka Fish 2
From the advice of a friend mixed with personal experience, I brought vienna sausages to feed the fish. Before you can even think about feeding them, they are already expecting you. Within 10 feet of the shore where the water is about 4 feet deep, schools of fish are being fed by tourists.
Komaka Fish 3
The sausages makes them go crazy, so does shrimp chips and regular fish food. You don’t have to snorkel to feed them, but it’s easier to take pictures of them underwater. For safety reasons, don’t feed the fish with food too close to your hands underwater. The fish often mistake the pink sausages for fingertips.
It is highly advised to swim out to the deeper water, about 10 to 12 feet deep where it is sandy so you get to see the bigger fish too. I’ve seen fish that weigh more than 30 pounds sneak up to steal a snack. A larger fish with the ability to change the color of its scales followed me around the entire time I was in the water. If you are afraid of fish, this is not a place you want to visit.
Beside the hungry bunch, there are other types of fish feeding off the coral as well. They are shy, but they will let you get close enough to take pictures if you are patient. You can also enjoy watersports from the rental tent if you don’t want to go snorkeling, or enjoy the glass bottom boat tour as well.
This is a cool trip for families if the sea conditions allow.
Chinen Marine Leisure Center, Nanjo
Price: The cost to get to Komaka island costs 2,500 yen roundtrip and the ferry schedule is posted right in front on the small inlet where the boats leave. You can rent life vests from the nearby store for 500 yen if you don’t have one. You will need to pack a lunch, plenty of water, a large umbrella, a beach towel, snorkel gear, waterproof camera, a gym bag, and plenty of sunscreen. There is also a restroom on the island with a hose to rinse yourself off.
Address: 676 Chinen Kudeken, Nanjo 901-1511, Okinawa Prefecture
GPS Coordinates: 26.1748791, 127.8295186
Directions: To get here, you need to catch the speedboat from Chinen Marine Leisure Center in Nanjo City. Drive south on the Okinawa Expressway and exit the Haebaru-Kita Interchange (A1). Turn left on to Highway 329 and head for Yonabaru/Sashiki. Continue east on Highway 329 until it becomes Highway 331. Follow Highway 331, reaching Nanjo and following the coastline as it wraps around a ridge. After passing Azama Port and Azama-san Beach, look for a yellow and orange statue with dolphins on it and turn left between them and immediately turn right down the hill. You will see the port and parking at the end.
I am so frustrated by this post. Why is there no address to the ferry? Directions are not that helpful. Please can someone post an address
Lesli – I have added the address and GPS coordinates for the Chinen Marine Leisure Center to this post.
Awesome place to go, lots of fish and a little bit of life along the sea floor. I didn’t see it mentioned, but they make you wear life jackets (we rented for 1000 yen on the island) while snorkeling and they also make you stay within a certain area.
is the sand nice and smooth in the water? Or would I have to wear water shoes?
Wear shoes or felt bottom booties.
We took a tour from Kadena ITT this last weekend and had a great time. Great snorkeling, relaxing beaches and only took about 15 mins by glass bottom boat. Some of the best snorkeling I’ve even done. Fish were swimming all around us and no need for fins since you only need to swim out a few feet. Great time!
I tried calling the marina where we would need to take the boat to the island, but they did not speak English. Can anyone tell me if they are open on Sundays and how many people can ride over on the boat at a time? Do you need to make a reservation or do you just show up to the marina and wait for the next available boat to head over to Komaka? Thank you!
We went on Sunday morning, just showed up about 15min before the boat left and it was fine. The glass bottom boat can hold around 12-16 people I’d say.
+26° 10′ 29.54″, +127° 49′ 46.37″
Can any smart phone savvy people provide GPS coordinates?
Very nice name by the way. I’m sorry but no it doesn’t i live right off kadena and my husband had to teach me how to get home when i first got here and i live like 3 blocks from kadena :/ so im really lost !
Which gate on Kadena?
Im sorry I am not too familiar with directions can you please dumb it down for me . I would love to take my husband there for our anniversary.
Jasmine, can you see the pin on the map? Does that help?
Is the boat ride 2,500 a piece? And is that for kids as well?
@April, young children are free… not sure where the cutoff age is though, but 7 is the safe number
This place was spectacular. I had my first experience snorkeling during this trip and I must say I was not disappointed. The beach was not crowded which made the experience all the more enjoyable. The fish swarmed around us and we did get a couple of “nips” now and then but that just added to the amusement. I would definitely put this place on your “Okinawa bucket list”. Remember, you have to carry everything you bring and the boats have only so much storage space so pack light and efficient – necessities.
It’s Kudaka Island, not Komaka. 🙂
No, Ash — it is Komaka. Kudaka is the larger island to the east. Komaka is tiny tiny and next to Kudaka.
Can you rent kayaks from the Chinen Marine Leisure Center and just paddle over on your own?
You can, but kayaking is tough considering the current is very strong in that area
Not to mention the cool little caves on the opposite side of the island..which house a few different shrines. You can also walk the small path along the top of the island for great views. There are lots of hermit crabs up there. There’s even a bunny that lives on the island!
I was really surprised how many fishes you can see right off the rim of the island. My little one got really excited that the fishes are coming for her toes. Too cute! We went there with Kadena ITT on a Sat and there were tons of tour groups. You probably went on a more quite day. I really like your pictures. What underwater camera did you use?
Sunday mornings before 10 usually has smaller crowds and I use a canon Powershot D10… A good sign of a slow day is if you ride the speedboat, the second trip they were using the glassbottam
this is definitely a place you want to visit more than once. so many eager fish that are not shy (like pigeons at a park). bring plenty of vienna sausages …. i brought 5 cans and ran out quick.
Please don’t feed the wildlife. Due to the unnatural feeding, the fish, overtime become dependent and sometimes aggressive towards snorkelers/divers. Regardless of how many people are doing it too, please try to set a good example. I assure you, you can see ample amounts of amazing fish without the use of such tactics.