To the delight of divers, and to the chagrin of fishermen, the swarms of giant Echizen kurage jellyfish (Nomura's jellyfish) that invade the coast of the Sea of Japan each autumn are back.
These photos were taken 5 meters underwater just offshore from the coastal town of Echizen in Fukui prefecture, where the jellyfish mobs began to arrive about a month later than normal.
Manabu Nakamata, a 38-year-old diver from Nagoya and an admirer of the monster jellyfish, says, "They are surprisingly hard to the touch. They are big, and extremely impressive." Big indeed -- Echizen kurage can grow up to 2 meters (6 ft. 7 in.) in diameter and weigh up to 200 kilograms (440 lb.) each.
The local fishermen, however, are not impressed. Each year, the giant jellyfish wreak havoc on the fishing industry by destroying nets and crushing, poisoning and sliming other fish in the catches. In the latest move in the war on jellyfish, Fukui prefecture is developing new and efficient weapons designed to pulverize those that threaten their shores.