fbpx

Katoku, Japan

© JON TAKAKI

One of the last unaltered and pristine beaches and waves on the island of Amami-Oshima and in all of Japan is under threat from a destructive seawall project.

Save The Waves has joined local partner Association for the Conservation of Amami’s Forests, Rivers and Coastal Ecosystems (ACAFRCE) and other organizations to campaign against the construction of a harmful seawall project at Katoku Beach.

© CHAR FILM

Overview

Responsible Parties

Kagoshima Prefecture and Governor

Ministry of the Environment

Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism

Katoku beach is located on the sub-tropical island of Amami-Oshima in the Ryukyu archipelago. It’s the last beach hamlet in Amami with a natural dune and without a seawall. The Katoku bay also has the last natural river-mouth in Amami-Oshima, one that can freely shift along the entire length of the beach, according to the seasons and sand distribution. It is known as one of the best surf breaks in Amami-Oshima with a biologically rich surf ecosystem.

Currently Katoku is under threat by a 6.5 meter tall, 180 meter long seawall project that would cover most of the beach. The seawall is set to be placed below the dune ecosystem, a high energy zone during typhoon swells.  The seawall would displace the natural sand dune buffer causing severe erosion and eventually lead to the disappearance of the famous surfing beach. 

As the last intact beach and watershed in Amami-Oshima without coastal infrastructure, this campaign is critical to protecting the future of Amami and Japan’s waves and coastal ecosystems.

Katoku is one of those very rare places in Japan where one can feel the unity of nature and the connection between mountains, rivers and ocean. This campaign goes beyond protecting another unique surf spot, it is about drawing a line in the sand and setting a new example for coastal conservation in Amami and Japan.

Jon Takaki

Founder ACAFRCE

CAMPAIGN UPDATES

Campaign Update: Salvemos Punta Conejo

Last year, we launched the Salvemos Punta Conejo campaign and have been working diligently ever since. We know that once a natural phenomenon like Punta Conejo is altered by industry, it is forever lost. We won’t let this gem go down without a fight.

A wave worthy of protection.

#SalvemosPuntaConejo Campaign Update: At the invitation of the local community, Save The Waves headed to southern Mexico to the village of Playa Brasil to listen, learn and collaborate with local community members to protect Punta Conejo.

250,000 Petition Signatures Raised for Punta Conejo

The campaign to protect the famous right-hand point break in Oaxaca, Mexico continues to gain ground and build opposition to a project that could destroy this beloved surf ecosystem. In just a couple of months, the petition started by Save The Waves has amassed over 250,000 opposition signatures.

© CHAR FILM

TAKE ACTION

SIGN THE PETITION!

最後の “ジュラシック・ビーチ”奄美大島・嘉徳海岸を 巨大な護岸建設工事から救おう!

Every signature helps Save The Waves and our local partners in the campaign to protect Katoku.

SPREAD AWARENESS

Post on social media and encourage others to take action. We’ve made it easy: download the image below and copy/paste your platform of choice. 

‼️ CAMPAIGN ALERT! #SAVEKATOKU • One of the last unaltered and pristine beaches and waves in all of Japan is under threat from a destructive seawall project.
 
👉 TAKE ACTION! Sign the petition: https://bit.ly/3ifEmHA
 
Help @SaveTheWaves & local partners #SaveKatoku today 🌊

‼️ CAMPAIGN ALERT! #SAVEKATOKU • One of the last unaltered and pristine beaches and waves in all of Japan is under threat from a destructive seawall project.

🌊 Katoku Beach, also known as the Jurassic Beach for its timeless and ancient natural beauty, is the last natural surf ecosystem with public access on the island of Amami without a seawall.

⚠️ The proposed project includes a 6.5 meter tall and 180 meter long seawall – placed directly over a natural dune habitat, interrupting the natural flow of the Katoku River and ultimately destroying the wave.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

👉 TAKE ACTION! Sign the petition! Link in bio or go to savethewaves.org/katoku

@savethewavescoalition is joining local efforts initiated by the Association for the Conservation of Amami’s Forests, Rivers & Coastal Ecosystems (ACAFRCE) to advocate for the protection of Katoku Beach in Amami, Japan. Help us protect this incredible surf ecosystem.

✍️ Every signature counts. 




‼️ CAMPAIGN ALERT! #SAVEKATOKU • One of the last unaltered and pristine beaches and waves in all of Japan is under threat from a destructive seawall project.

🌊 Katoku Beach, also known as the Jurassic Beach for its timeless and ancient natural beauty, is the last natural surf ecosystem with public access on the island of Amami without a seawall.

⚠️ The proposed project includes a 6.5 meter tall and 180 meter long seawall – placed directly over a natural dune habitat, interrupting the natural flow of the Katoku River and ultimately destroying the wave.

👉 TAKE ACTION! Sign the petition: https://bit.ly/3ifEmHA

@SaveTheWaves is joining local efforts initiated by the Association for the Conservation of Amami’s Forests, Rivers & Coastal Ecosystems (ACAFRCE) to advocate for the protection of Katoku Beach in Amami, Japan. Help us protect this incredible surf ecosystem.

✍️ Every signature counts.

© CHAR FILM

MORE INFORMATION

11,640 hectares of land in Amami-Oshima have recently been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO and IUCN and the Katoku Beach and River are included in the buffer zone of this designation. The construction of this seawall would be a threat to the natural resources and intact ecosystems that the World Heritage nomination attempts to protect and preserve.

Many of Japans Beaches have been lost to hard armoring.  This campaign is fighting to protect the natural sand dune habitat so that Katoku does not become like the beaches below.

The Threat:

Katoku beach is located on the sub-tropical island of Amami-Oshima in the Ryukyu archipelago. It’s the last beach in Amami-Oshima with a natural dune ecosystem without a seawall. The Katoku bay also has the last natural river-mouth in Amami-Oshima  one that can freely shift along the entire length of the beach, according to the seasons and sand distribution.

Currently Katoku is under threat by a 6.5 meter tall, 180 meter long seawall project that would cover most of the beach. The seawall is set to be placed below the dune, a high energy zone during typhoon swells.  No impact study was conducted by the Kagoshima prefecture, but according to coastal engineers, the seawall would cause scourges and the ultimate disappearance of the beach, putting the village at risk from the loss of the natural beach and dune barrier. It would also make the beach dangerous for beach goers and surfers, with serious injuries and accidents possible.  Seawalls can lead to the deterioration in wave quality as the natural flow of sand is interrupted.

Construction of seawalls requires digging and removing sand from the dunes and in front of the seawall, creating a construction area that would severely impact the surf ecosystem including the Pandanus trees planted by Katoku residents and volunteers to strengthen the sand dunes and protect the local village. Planting pandanus trees on the dunes creates a vegetated buffer zone between the village and the beach and has long been a traditional method for protecting villages from typhoons. 

Save The Waves is supporting the local coalition led by ACAFRCE to stop this seawall project and implore the Kagoshima prefecture to implement nature based solutions to coastal erosion and protection.  While there is ongoing litigation to prevent the construction of the seawall, Save The Waves is supporting the coalition in mobilizing local and international communities to reject this project as it stands.

UNESCO and IUCN  recently granted Amami island the World Natural Heritage Site status, putting increased focus on the incredible natural resources and biodiversity the island holds.  This represents an incredible opportunity to ensure that Katoku, the last uninterrupted natural surf ecosystem in Amami-Oshima is protected forever.

The Surf Ecosystem of Katoku:

In 2002, Katoku became the only beach in Japan where a Leatherback turtle was seen and photographed laying eggs on the beach.  The Katoku Bay also hosts the endemic and endangered Amami Black Rabbit and the river hosts the important fish species including the Ryukyu Ayu.  For its lush tropical valleys, incredible biodiversity ,and ancient character, Katoku is known as the “Jurassic Beach.”

On the surfing side, Katoku is the most popular beach in Amami for beginners and beach-break lovers, as well as kids and families playing in the surf. Indeed, it’s the only sand bottom break in Amami, one that truly qualifies as a beach-break.  Other breaks having rocks and coral heads, Katoku is the only safe haven for beginner surfers on the island. 

Katoku, despite its popularity with small beach break riders, boasts one of the least known and most fascinating big waves during typhoon swells. A beautiful A frame peak forms 600 to 700 meters outside and peels all the way down to the massive shorebreak.

Articles on Katoku

Protect the places you love.

Donate today and make a global impact for our coastlines. 

Scroll to Top