Located on Tokashiki Island, Aharen beach is the cheapest and easiest snorkeling excursion within the Kerama Shoto National Park boundaries. With its clownfish, butterflyfish, bright corals, giant clams and hundred of other marine species, Aharen gives a fine glimpse of Okinawa’s reef life.

Aharen Bay, Okinawa

How to get there?

Naha will probably be your first step in Okinawa: it is also the departure point to Tokashiki Island. Head to Tomari harbor, it is close to the city center (the nearest monorail stop is Miebashi (美栄橋); you will then have to walk for about about 10 minutes to the jetty). There are several options to reach the Kemara archipelago. The express boat is most convenient (35 minutes, round trip about $40) but you might prefer the cheaper ferry (70 minutes, round trip about $25). Schedules depend on the season. Be careful, as there can sometimes be only one or two round trips per day.

Aharen Beach snorkeling map, Tokashiki Island

The easiest way to reach Aharen beach from Tokashiki island jetty is the bus shuttle waiting for passengers each time a boat arrives (about 20 minutes, Y400/single trip). You can also rent a vehicle or take one of the island’s rare taxis. Aharen is a tiny village, you will have no trouble finding its adjacent beach.

Water entrance

Our advice: enter the water on the western part of the beach, on your right when facing the sea.

Exploration

When you leave the beach you will first swim across monotonous sandy areas (↕2-3ft/0.5-1m), then reach the reef area (3-12ft/1-4m). Water depth increases significantly beyond the reef.

Coral reef at Aharen, Tokashiki Island

Aharen beach reefs are overall well preserved, although some areas have regrettably decayed. In the best preserved areas, coral formations build delicate shaped, bright colored gardens. Underwater life thrives in them: fluorescent blue damselfish swimming above coral, couples of butterflyfish, Moorish idols, giant clams nesting in crevices… Several clownfish species can be spotted in the area. You are most likely to see tomato clownfish, which is not afraid of shallow areas (often seen in less than 3ft/1m deep). However, if you love those fascinating fishes, head instead to Furuzamami Beach where they literally abound.

Tomato clownfish at Aharen, Tokashiki Island

Most of the time Aharen bay is sheltered from waves and currents, hence it is ideal for beginners. Mind the boat channel before entering the water: it is located on the spot’s central part, on the left side of the swimming area when facing the sea.

Restaurants and accommodation

Located on the rear side of the beach, close to the bus stop, Aharen village gathers several restaurants and cheap accommodation options.



Species you may spot while snorkeling Aharen Beach
COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME ABUNDANCE FISHBASE WIKIPEDIA
Tomato clownfish Amphiprion frenatus  
Clark anemonefish Amphiprion clarkii  
Pink skunk clownfish Amphiprion perideraion  
Sixbar wrasse Thalassoma hardwicke  
Scissortail sergeant Abudefduf sexfasciatus  
Moorish idol Zanclus cornutus  
Melon butterflyfish Chaetodon trifasciatus  
Blackback butterflyfish Chaetodon melannotus  
Green birdmouth wrasse Gomphosus caeruleus  

 

  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaKerama Shoto National Park
  • Maximum depth20ft/6m
  • Water entranceEasy, from a sandy beach
  • Potential DangersUsual precautions
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersMedium
  • Access costsFree
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersYes

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.