Find out why Japanese Gardens is so popular for Koh Tao divers

For those looking to dive for the first time at all, or after a long time of inactivity, Japanese Gardens is the best dive site in Koh Tao to do so. Nestled in a serene bay at beautiful Koh Nang Yuan island, this site provides all the necessary resources and conditions for beginners.

japanese gardens koh nang yuan
Japanese Gardens is on the right top bay

About Japanse Gardens dive site

The Japanese Gardens dive site is situated on the east side of Koh Nang Yuan, opposite of Twins Pinnacles only separated by the sandy bar of Koh Nang Yuan that links the two marvelous islands’ peaks.

Japanese Gardens, a highlight of Koh Tao’s shoreline, is the ideal spot for snorkeling and diving. Its shallow depths and negligible current throughout most months combined with its convenient beach access make it an aquatic paradise characterized by remarkable biodiversity.

Dive plan for Japanse Gardens in Koh Tao

As you make your way from the beach toward the dive site, take notice of the roped-off zone. This area is off-limits to boats and serves as a safeguard for divers and marine life alike.

The maximum depth of Japanese Gardens is 49 feet or 15 meters. Divers could wander off deeper but that’s as far as the coral reef stretches.

The coral reef itself is divided by a sandy path almost straight down the middle. To the south, you will get to or get from the Red Rock dive site, and to the north experience a nice rocky swim-through. The dive site is quite big and has plenty to explore and see. Thanks due to the shallow depth of Japanese Gardens, divers have enough time to enjoy the reef for up to 60 minutes.

boulder coral japanese garden koh tao

Japanese Gardens dive site brief

  • Access: From boat
  • Maximum depth: 49 feet/ 15 meters 
  • Visibility: 16 – 66 feet (5 – 20 meters)
  • Dive time: 60 minutes 
  • Certification level: Open Water
  • Type: shallow reef

What’s to see at Japanse Gardens dive site?

The bay is home to an astounding array of corals, sponges, and other ocean life. From the majestic large Lobe coral with its vibrant Christmas tree worms to Staghorn and Lettuce varieties. Brain coral, Table Coral, and towering Barrel Sponges join forces with Sea Anemones and Giant Clams for a stunning display at every turn. Towards the east side lie Funnel Mushroom corals that further contribute to this remarkable underwater world.

At Japanese Gardens, you may witness a diverse array of fish bustling about their daily activities. Pufferfish, Batfish, Sargeant Majors, Damsel Fish, Banded Sea Snakes, and Rabbit Fish scoot around the coral reef. Dainty Parrotfish nibble on algae while crimson-breasted Wrasse search for Molluscs or Crustaceans. Moreover, there are numerous varieties of Butterfly and Bannerfish such as Weibels and Lined Butterflies.

sea snake japanse gardens koh tao

Learn scuba diving at Japanese Gardens in Koh Tao

The pristine, shallow reef makes this area an ideal spot for beginners and those who are just testing the waters with a Discover Scuba Diving experience. New divers and snorkelers alike can explore the vibrant marine environment. Divers can stay at depths of less than 33 feet (10 meters) or explore the edges of the reef at up to 49 feet (15 meters). Usually, only mild currents and good visibility of 33 feet (10 meters) on average, are great learning conditions. The sandy patch in the middle or shore allows for skill training during the Open Water course.

For advanced divers with good buoyancy control, there is a nice swim-through on the south side of Japanse Gardens.

Advanced Divers, make it two-in-one

Speaking of experienced scuba divers, take advantage of the Red Rock dive site off the eastern coast of Koh Nang Yuan. Planned as a drift dive, you can explore the underwater rock pinnacle and set your compass westward after circling the pinnacle and exploring the cracks full of hiding fish.

Then, ascend towards the shore, and shortly after you will arrive at Japanese Gardens.

Don’t miss out on this amazing chance to discover two dive sites in one go. Just watch your air consumption, Red Rock is a little deeper.

What certification is required to dive at Japanese Gardens?

Japanese Gardens is a shallow reef and only requires the Open Water certification. In fact, this dive site is often used for training courses, as well as discover divers.

Similar dive sites

Other dive sites suited for beginners as well as more experienced divers is Twins just opposite Japanese Gardens, as well as Hin Ngam, Aow Leuk. or White Rock

If you enjoy the rocky pinnacles of Koh Tao and are deep dive experienced, check out Hin Pee Wee or Chumphon Pinnacle – here you have the highest chance to find a whale shark. And don’t forget a night dive at the Junkyard and a wreck dive at the HTMS Sattakut.

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