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Ama: Freediving Women with Years of Tradition

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Ama: Freediving Women with Years of Tradition


Learn the secrets of free-diving from ama divers at Satoumian

Obama Tourism Bureau



For more than 2,000 years, ama women divers have explored the sea bed to gather shellfish, without the aid of scuba equipment. Often romanticized and always admired, some ama can free dive to depths of around 20 meters, holding their breath as they search for seafood and more.


Mie Prefecture has the highest number of working ama divers in all of Japan. To hear their stories and enjoy the wealth of seafood they gather, visitors are invited to Satoumian, a faithful replica of an ama hut, where divers traditionally rest and warm themselves by a fireplace.


Satoumian is open for lunch and dinner and can host up to 77 people in its three eateries, all with an ocean view. Mingle with locals and try fresh catches that could include abalone, spiny lobsters, and turban shells, grilled on an open hearth and served by an ama diver.


A nearby museum space also offers exhibits showcasing the history of ama, who keep their form of fishing sustainable by maintaining the tradition of free diving, limiting hours and not harvesting undeveloped sea creatures.


How to get there

Take the train from Kintetsu Nagoya Station to Ugata Station, which takes about 2 hours. It is about 1 hour by bus from Ugata Station: take a bus bound for Goza and alight at Azuri-hama bus stop, from where it is a 3-minute walk to Satoumian. Alternatively, it takes about 30 minutes by taxi from Ugata Station.


2279 Koshika, Shima-cho, Shima-shi, Mie-ken


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