The Amazing Sunken Cities Of The Ancient World

Published August 2, 2011
Updated November 8, 2023

Yonaguni-Jima, Japan

Yonaguni-Jima Japan Sunken Cities Of The Ancient World

ImgurYonaguni-Jima, the lost Japanese civilization.

Some 68 miles past the east coast of Taiwan, off the coast of Yonaguni Islands, a sport diver, swimming in 1995, stumbled upon a field of ancient, sunken ruins.

The ruins are believed to have been the remains of a 5,000-year-old city; a Japanese Atlantis that has been lost to time.

Yonaguni Japan

ImgurThere are some who believe that Yonaguni-Jima is simply a natural formation.

In the center of its ruins is a massive pyramid that once rose 82 feet above the ground. It is an incredibly complex structure, with staircases, hallways, and carved stones; a great building resembling those built in the Inca civilization on the other side of the world.

It must have been a great city in its time. And yet, 2,000 years ago, that ancient civilization was pulled under the water, lost from history, and forgotten.

Yonaguni-Jima Great Pyramid

ImgurThe underwater steps of the great pyramid of Yonaguni-Jima.

Nobody knows how it happened. Little can be agreed upon when it comes to Yonaguni-Jima. Some scientists, in fact, insist that the sunken city isn’t even a city at all. Instead, they say it is nothing more than naturally-formed rock structures shaped by erosion over thousands of years.

Lost Cities Of The Ancient World

ImgurA diver explores one of the great sunken cities of Asia.

When it comes to Yonaguni-Jima, it’s hard to say anything for sure. But to many, those perfectly-shaped steps could only be the remains of a sunken pyramid built by a great civilization, buried under the sea thousands of years ago.

A documentary on Yonaguni-Jima.
Mark Oliver
Mark Oliver is a writer and teacher, and father whose work has appeared on The Onion's StarWipe, Yahoo, and Cracked.