The creature swam under fishing boats and close to the surface of Toyama Bay, better known for its firefly squid, and reportedly hung around the bay for several hours before it was ushered back to open water.
It was captured on video by a submersible camera, and even joined by a diver, Akinobu Kimura, owner of Diving Shop Kaiyu, who swam in close proximity to the red-and-white real-life sea monster.
“My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and go close to it,” he told
“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.”
Yuki Ikushi, the curator of Uozu Aquarium in Uozu, Toyama, told CNN that there were 16 reports of Architeuthis squid trapped by fishing nets last season, and this one is the first sighting this season, which runs from November to March.
“We might see more in this season, but it’s very rare for them to be found swimming around (the fishing boats’) moorings.”
The Toyama squid is a fairly small example of the species, estimated at around 3.7 meters (12.1 feet) long, and may be a juvenile. Giant squid are thought to grow as large as 13 meters (43 feet) long. They typically inhabit deep waters, and it is unclear why this one wandered into the bay.
A giant squid, rarely seen outside of deep waters, has been filmed swimming near a pier in central Japan. The 3.7-metre-long squid was spotted swimming under fishing boats at Toyama Bay on Christmas Eve.
It reportedly lingered around the moorings for several hours and was captured on video using a submersible camera.
It is not known why the squid ventured so close to shore, but local dive shop owner Akinobu Kimura, who joined the squid in the water to guide it back out to sea, told CNN it seemed “lively”.
“My curiosity was way bigger than fear, so I jumped into the water and [went] close to it,” he said.
“This squid was not damaged and looked lively, spurting ink and trying to entangle his tentacles around me.”
Much remains unknown about the species, which typically inhabits deep waters, but they are thought to grow as large as 13 metres long.
In October marine biologists captured three young giant squid, weighing less than 450g and 12-33cm, off south-western Japan.
A dead giant squid, nearly two metres long, washed up on a beach in Kaikoura, New Zealand, in May.