Mie Prefecture is home to half of Japan's two thousand remaining ama (female freedivers), with a history of freediving in Japan that stretches back 2000 years. For them, freediving is somewhat like a spiritual practice, with their own rituals and superstitions. Learn about the symbols and practices of these incredible women as you hear firsthand from the ama divers themselves and enjoy a meal of local seafood.
During this experience, gather with a group of freedivers in their ama hut and taste their freshly-caught bounty from the Matoya Bay. The ama-san are expert hunters, retrieving seafood like abalone, turban shells, and Ise lobster from 10 meters deep, spending approximately a minute underwater at a time. Keeping up with the times, they use wetsuits; however, they forgo the use of oxygen tanks to keep the traditional spirit alive.
With warm hospitality and everpresent laughter and smiles, the ama-san are welcoming hosts, whether they’re grilling up the day’s catch over a fire pit, telling stories of their past dives, wrapping guests in traditional ama garb, or teaching their traditional folk dance, the Osatsu Ondo.
These impressive women dare to go where (almost) no man has… Although ama have just recently started welcoming men into their ranks, the ama population is declining as more and more young locals move to cities to work.
Freediving is dangerous, but the ama are a resilient and cheerful group. These seasoned diving veterans are in high spirits and have much to teach, and meeting them in their ama hut for an afternoon of dining and dancing is a truly “ichi-go ichi-e” (once in a lifetime) experience.
One of five different course meals (choose from options below)
Commemorative photo with ama-san, while dressed in ama garb
Traditional folk dance lesson
Meeting Point and Meeting Time
25 minutes by car from Kintetsu Toba Station (Set the gas station "Eneos Nagaokaya Oil Store" (エネオス長岡屋石油店) as the relay point and set Osatsu-cho, Toba City, Mie Prefecture as the goal point)
All rooms have barrier-free entrances, wheelchair-accessible toilets, free rental wheelchairs
There is a men's and women's prayer room for Muslims