Yoshito Kawada / SUP Instructor and Owner of ULTRAMARINE
= a SUP Instructor who loves the ultramarine blue of the Kuroshio current =
In the early summer, when the main stream of the Kuroshio current comes alongside the island’s shore signaling a rise in the atmospheric pressure over the Pacific, the ocean is dyed a deep black ultramarine blue. This powerful blue is much like blood flowing in a major artery and as such it nourishes life on the island.
Such is the description to be found on the ULTRAMARINE home page, an organization that provides SUP and snorkeling tours. SUP (an abbreviation for Stand Up Paddleboard) is a sport that involves standing on a surf-like board and paddling on the water’s surface. In recent years, this marine sport has grown radically in popularity here in Japan.
The owner, Mr. Yoshito Kawada, lives in Issou, a small port town on the north shore of Yakushima. This town is famous for its “kubiore-saba,” a tasty, fresh mackerel. With a sandy beach to the west, diving and surfing spots to the east and the Yahazu cape to the north, Issou is the most popular and active marine sports area on the island.
Mr. Kawada named his business ULTRAMARINE with the ocean’s deep blue color in mind and an image of crossing the ocean. He was also thinking of the Kuroshio Current when it comes alongside the island.
Mr. Kawada first visited Yakushima in 2012. He had come to hike in the mountains. Although Mr. Kawada is a marine sports instructor now, when he was an elementary school student he was interested in birds, and that led him to hike a large number of mountains while still in his teens. So it was not only the ocean, but the power of the island’s virgin forest that deeply moved him.
Mr. Kawada decided to move to Yakushima the following year on the invitation of a sea kayaking company he had gotten to know through marine sports. After three years of training, he started his own business primarily focusing on supping, a sport he had liked even before moving to the island.
While Yakushima is often associated with images of its densely forested mountains, the island also enjoys broad-leaved forests along its rivers and a large variety of fish in the surrounding ocean. Supping is generally possible from March to November and snorkeling from May to October. And in June and July, there is a high likelihood you will encounter a sea turtle because that is egg-laying season.
Even if you cannot swim, don’t worry. You can wear a life vest. Mr. Kawada will never forget the customer who said “The ocean was a frightening place for me, but I had so much fun that I came to love the ocean.”
“A place with a 2000-meter mountain in the middle of the Kuroshio current, could only be interesting. But it would be a shame to enjoy only the mountains on this island where migratory birds and fish gather at the junction of air and ocean currents.” In this season when the ocean’s blue deepens, Mr. Kawada is heading out for the ocean once again.
(written by Mikako Takada of the Issou coffee editorial office)
Address: 295 Issou, Yakushima, Kumage District, Kagoshima, Japan