Japan has — without a doubt — a rich culture that is known by all; but while some of those traditions are thriving, there are some who are at the risk of dying out. To date, one of those lesser-known yet fascinating traditions would be of the ‘ama‘ free divers that I have managed to discover lately.
The Ama (海女) or female free divers are found in various areas of the country but they are predominantly found in Mie Prefecture. As a part of a beautiful centuries-old tradition, they plunge underwater with simple gear alone to primarily catch marine life like sea urchins, snails, seaweed and abalone among many others (depending on the season).
Nowadays, it’s a dwindling practice with only about 2,000 ama left; but thankfully, it still has a considerable community that aims to preserve it all especially in the coastal prefecture of Mie. So in order to meet and support some of these amazing free divers, you must head over to Toba — a place that can easily be a part of your itinerary’s day trips from Osaka! .