As comedian and noted lover of cinnamon rolls and burritos Jim Gaffigan famously said, going whale watching is kind of boring. It’s a handful of hours of waiting around, a brief glimpse of “something I wouldn’t even watch on television,” and then your most likely drunk tour captain whisking you back to shore in time for happy hour.

And maybe Jim’s right. Sure, whales are the most majestic of creatures, but is it really all that fun to spend all day on a swaying deck for a half-second glimpse of a tail or something? Scuba diving with whales would be much more exciting, but that’s sort of dangerous and you need a license. If only there were a place where whales would come right up to you on the beach and hang out for a while…

Oh, that’s right! That’s exactly what happens at Wakayama’s easy-to-read-and-pronounce Higashimuroguntaijichou Whale Beach.

You can meet one or both of two whales at the beach as they’re released into a netted-off area for 15 minutes at a time a few times a day during the official beach season. Lest animal rights activists fear the animals may beach themselves or regular swimmers be concerned that an enormous whale might be dangerous in shallow waters surrounded by humans, rest assured the two grampus (grampi?) whales – which are actually a species of large dolphin classified as whales in Japanese – measure only around three meters in length and weigh about the same as four healthy adult humans.


On the other hand, though, animals rights people may not be entirely pleased to learn that the whale/dolphins are kept in an enclosure when not swimming freely around the bay, although they obviously get frequent breaks from their confines, which is more than can be said for a lot of captive sea creatures.

If you’d like to see Cosmo and Satsuki, the two whales, in the flesh, you’ll need to make the trek out to Higashimuroguntaijichou in Wakayama Prefecture’s Southern tip between July 12 and August 24 and be in the water at either 11 am or 1 pm. Unfortunately Japanese-only and really rather old information can be found here.


Source: Naver Matome
Photos: Benefit StationAngel Bee blog