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Mysterious Giant Metal Orb Washed Up On Japanese Beach Causes Commotion

The beach was cleared over fears the orb might explode.

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Rachael Funnell

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Rachael Funnell

Writer & Senior Digital Producer

Rachael is a writer and digital content producer at IFLScience with a Zoology degree from the University of Southampton, UK, and a nose for novelty animal stories.

Writer & Senior Digital Producer

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japan beach mystery orb

The authorities have to be wary around unidentified metal orbs as sometimes the seas can throw up old contact mines like this one, with the capacity to cause devastation. Fortunately, it seems Japan’s mystery orb (not pictured) is likely something far more mundane. Image credit: seeshooteatrepeat/Shutterstock.com 

A giant metal mystery orb recently washed up on the shore of Enshu Beach in Hamamatsu, Japan. The buoy-like object is 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) wide and is being described as an “iron ball” in the press, though exactly what it is remains a mystery at time of writing.

Authorities were first made aware of the orb’s arrival after a resident called it in on Tuesday, and swiftly set about cordoning off a 200-meter (656-foot) radius among fears that whatever it was might explode. Footage shared online shows investigators in specialist suits taking a closer look at the enormous object, which was marked as safe after X-rays revealed there was nothing in its hollow core. Restrictions on Enshu Beach were lifted the same day, but the orb’s identity is still up for debate.

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Twitter has thrown up suggestions ranging from exciting things like unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and Dragon Balls to the more mundane, including spy balloons and mooring buoys. The latter is arguably the most likely as these metallic objects can break free from the cables that bind them at sea, and eventually beach when they meet the shoreline. 

When it comes to unidentified flotsam, the answer is rarely worthy of the silver screen, though strange and valuable treasures do sometimes wash ashore (would you know if you were looking at precious ambergris?).

Unidentified objects are big in the press in 2023, as just two months into the year we’ve seen a slew of news relating to off-course weather balloons and UFOs all receiving the “shoot down” treatment. Everywhere from Romania to China and the US has been reporting the arrival of mysterious objects, though mostly they’ve turned out to be weather balloons. The spike in reports is probably less to do with their increased usage and more to do with the news focusing everyone’s attention, but who among us can resist the allure of a good Giant Mysterious Thing? 


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natureNaturenatureenvironment
  • tag
  • mystery,

  • environment,

  • beach,

  • mysterious,

  • unidentified,

  • object,

  • weird and wonderful

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