The seas around Yakushima benefit from the warm Kuroshiro current 黒潮 which brings a great variety of fish and sea creatures.

I know this first hand as I was a fisherman on a flying fish boat on Yakushima. The 'Shige-maru' was captained by one of the oldest and most experienced crew that fished out of Anbo and we spent many a day battling with the East China Sea for a hold full of flying fish. There is a section in the guide book where I give the daily routine of a flying fish boat crew but suffice it to say - it's only for hardened folk.

Flying fish boat Yakushima
Flying fish boat in Yakushima

Flying fish boat Yakushima
The net drifts for around half an hour

Flying fish boat Yakushima
The captain of the second boat jumps in to scare the fish

Flying fish in Yakushima
Flying fish - 80 to a box

To give you an idea about what is lying underneath the waves - here are some of the creatures that came up in the net when I used to work as a fisherman on a flying fish boat in the seas around Yakushima.


They fly very gracefully just above the water to escape their enemies and can be found where two opposing sea currents meet. There are several kinds and you can tell which ones by their wings and size.


Loggerhead turtle on Yakushima
A loggerhead turtle laying eggs on Yakushima
It was rare that we pulled up a tiny baby turtle in our nets. Whenever it did happen though the captain tossed it back at the end of the catch and we watched it paddle West into the Pacific.

For more about turtles see the turtle section


Dolphin fish
A dolphin fish

They eat the flying fish and have a rather nasty habit of throwing up rotten carcasses on the deck when caught. They can be up to two metres long. No relation to dolphins by the way.


They used to bounce around the deck like footballs.

Here's one that got caught under the other fish and I was too late to throw it back in.

Puffer fish in Yakushima
A puffer fish that I brought home



Out of the water, they are very delicate but in the water they dance like Kings.




Sharks in the East China Sea

Rare. But definitely there. Sometimes the beach is closed at Isso when sharks are spotted too close to land.


These look colorful and cute but are mean as hell and dislike anything that comes into close proximity to them. They tell you this by nipping at you and charging at your face. Watch out at Isso beach.


Leather fish

There I am still soaking wet, leather fish in hand, just returned from fishing.

For more information about Yakushima and the sea - check out the one and only Yakushima: A Yakumonkey Guide