Ready to dive to the bottom of the ocean? It sounds intimidating, but, in fact, Japanese female divers known as ama uminchu have been free diving for centuries to gather seafood from the depths of the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Toba, in the Ise-Shima region of Japan’s Mie prefecture. That long-held tradition is being revived for a lucky few with an adventurous spirit. Bespoke travel operator Remote Lands has curated an immersive five-day itinerary where visitors can learn to free dive following the traditions of the ama uminchu.
The adventure starts with a scenic helicopter ride from Nagoya to Amanemu, a luxurious resort nestled within Ise-Shima National Park where guests will stay in spacious ryokan-inspired suites with private onsen hot-spring baths. Skilled ama will train guests before embarking on an inaugural dive, and later host them in the women’s hut (amagoya) for a fresh seafood lunch of fire- grilled abalone and Japanese spiny lobster. During the stay, guests will find out more about the ama’s history and traditional uniforms, why the majority are female, and how they came to be known as “pearl divers.” Afterward, they can stop by the Osatsu Ama Museum and visit the Toba Sea-Folk Museum, where 10 percent of the trip’s price will be donated to help preserve these women’s history. The journey includes visits to Ise Jingū, one of the holiest Shinto shrines; a hike on the ancient camphor- and cherry- tree-lined Kumano Kodo trails; and relaxation time at Amanemu’s spectacular spa.
Starting at $26,000 per person. Contact Remote Lands at email@example.com for more information.