Giant squid captured making rare appearance at Japanese harbour

TOYOMA BAY, Japan - Rarely seen in shallower waters, a giant squid recently delighted visitors at a pier in Japan's Toyoma Bay when it was spotted swimming close to the surface before being led back to the ocean.

The deep-sea creature, reportedly around 3.6m long, was spotted by onlookers swimming under fishing boats in the waters around the bay in Toyoma prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, on Christmas Eve.

Video footage taken using a submersible camera captured the rare encounter with the red-and-white creature, offering a close-up view of its enormous mouth, saucerlike eyes and long-winding tentacles, the New York Times reported on Tuesday (Dec 29).

A local diver also took the opportunity to swim with the creature. "My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and (got) close to it," CNN reported diving shop owner Akinobu Kimura as saying on Monday (Dec 28).

"This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me. I guided the squid toward to the ocean, several hundred meters from the area it was found in, and it disappeared into the deep sea," he added.

Tatsuya Wakasugi, the manager of Mizuhashi Fisherina in Toyama prefecture, told the Wall Street Journal the encounter was the first time a live giant squid was sighted in the bay, where the waters are around 3m deep.

Although it caught the attention of onlookers with its sheer size, the squid is believed to be on the small side and was likely a juvenile, The Times reported. Giant squids can grow more than 12m in length and is one of the world's largest invertebrates.