A lovely beach preserved as egg-laying grounds for the sea turtle
On Yakushima Island which is surrounded by sea cliffs, there are a few precious sandy beaches. The white sand that was weathered down from granite and transported from the Okudake Mountains on the island via the Nagata River created this beautiful beach. The area is also known as Japan’s primary breeding ground for the endangered sea turtle which migrates throughout the Pacific Ocean, with 30-40% of the total number of red sea turtles coming to Japan arriving here so that it is the largest egg-laying region for these turtles in the northern Pacific. It has been registered under the Ramsar Convention with the objective of preserving the sea turtle and is a part of Kirishima-Yaku National Park. The egg-laying can be observed between late May and July while the hatching of the baby turtles can be seen between August and September. In an average year, anywhere from 2000 to 3000 sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs taking up to 40 minutes to do so in the sand; 60-100 eggs are laid at one time with as many as 40 turtles on a busy day laying them. 2 to 3 months after the eggs are laid, the baby turtles hatch and head for the sea.
Visit the Sea Turtle Museum before observing them
The Sea Turtle Museum is close to the beach, and it is there that you will come across many valuable exhibits that cannot be seen anywhere else such as photographic panels and models, along with souvenirs that you can take home. Also at any time, staff will provide lectures on the turtles so that you have the proper knowledge when observing them.
Joining a sea turtle-watching party is recommended
Please note that on Nagata Beach between May 1st and August 31st from 7:30pm to 5am the next morning, entry is prohibited in order to protect the sea turtles. Prior reservations are necessary annually from April to July, but there is a sea turtle-watching party from May 15th to July 31st from 8pm-11pm so please refer to the homepage of the Nagata Sea Turtle Liaison Council.