This relaxing sea kayak tour offers a unique perspective of Kabushima Island, home to 30,000 black-tailed gulls. The undulating headlands of Japan’s Tanesashi Coast have carved out scenic bays and shallow pools ideal for exploring by kayak.
The small island of Kabushima is noted throughout Japan as a significant breeding site for black-tailed gulls. The island is home to a colony of more than 30,000 birds, and only from the water can you get an up-close experience—by kayak is ideal! As you glide along the rocky coastline of Kabushima Island, birds gracefully hover overhead in search of fish, or bask on the rocks just meters away as they protect their hatchlings. Kabushima Island is a designated National Natural Monument as a protected breeding site for black-tailed gulls. It is, in fact, the only place in Japan where you can get up close to observe the black-tailed gulls in their natural habitat and this can only be fully experienced along the water’s edge by kayak. The gulls arrive in their thousands in early March each year to lay their eggs and rear their hatchlings. The birds then migrate around August. The gulls are surprisingly tame and unfazed by close contact with humans. They have been a constant feature at Kabushima Island and revered by local fishermen for the past 750 years at least, since a Shinto shrine was erected in their honor. The gulls are associated with the deity Benzaiten, who is worshipped at the shrine. This unique wildlife experience begins at the north starting point of Sanriku Fukko National Park and Michinoku Coastal Trail. The kayaking area around the island is protected by a seawall, ensuring calm waves and safe paddling for both first-time and seasoned kayakers. It’s an ideal activity for families of all ages to enjoy together. On arrival, all guests will go through a short orientation and health check, then receive a paddling briefing on how to properly handle the kayak on the water. For extra peace of mind, and especially for families with children, two-seater kayaks are available. The 90-minute sea kayak tour glides across the water at a leisurely pace, led by a skilled and informative guide. After the sea kayak tour, you may gather together for a delicious lunchtime feast of ocean-fresh seafood, and then embark on a leisurely trek along the scenic Michinoku Coastal Trail. Before and after the kayak experience all guests have access to changing rooms with showers and toilets.