You can’t miss this on a trip to Okinawa! How to Enjoy the Super Popular Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
The blue sky, the clear water, and the creatures that live there.... The popular facility Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a place where you can enjoy the natural charms of Okinawa! Here is some information to know so you can enjoy your visit even more!
- What is Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium?
- A must-see! The dolphin show at Okichan Theater
- A spot where you can meet sea turtles and manatees
- Journey to the Kuroshio, where you can see whale sharks from above
- Fully enjoy the colorful Journey to the Coral Reef
- The touch pool, where you can touch live animals
- Journey to the Deep Sea, where you can see a mystical world
- Stop by the cafe and shop
What is Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium?
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a popular spot that's inside one of the the prefecture's national parks, Ocean Expo Park. It's on the northwest part of the main island on the Motobu Peninsula, about 2 hours away by car from Naha Airport, and about 3 hours by highway bus.
You can experience the dynamic world of the ocean where whale sharks and manta rays swim in schools as well as the beauty of the tropical fish living in Okinawa's coral reefs. There are plenty of things to see within and outside of the building, including an aquarium where you can see the mysterious world of deep-sea fish!
Regular admission: 1,850 JPY for adults, 1,230 JPY for middle school aged children, 610 JPY for elementary school aged children
A must-see! The dolphin show at Okichan Theater
Near the aquarium building is the Okichan Theater where a fun dolphin show featuring the park's idol, the dolphin Oki-chan, and friends.
The dolphin show is twenty minutes long and is held 4 times a day (5 times between April and September), and includes impressive high jumps, humorous dances, and choruses. The diver show (15 minutes) is held 3 times a day and you can enjoy a fun explanation of the dolphins' superior athletic ability. You can watch the dolphins underwater through glass.
A spot where you can meet sea turtles and manatees
On the west side of the aquarium are the sea turtle pool and the manatee pool, definitely spots you should check out.
There are about 7-8 different types of sea turtles in the world, and in this pool you can see loggerhead turtles, green turtles, olive ridley sea turtles, black sea turtles, and hawksbill turtles. There is a sand pit in the large aquarium meant for egg laying, and every year the turtles use it for that purpose. The manatee pool is home to American manatees, the model for the mermaid legends, and if you're lucky you might be able to see them have a meal. Both of these facilities let you observe the animals from angles that will let you see both under and above water.
Journey to the Kuroshio, where you can see whale sharks from above
"The Kuroshio Sea" is a huge aquarium that's a main attraction where you can see the animals from many different angles. From the 8.2m tall, 22.5m wide acrylic panel, you can see whale sharks, manta rays, migratory fish from the Kuroshio current (the largest ocean current around Japan), and other scenery that can only be seen here.
The Journey to the Kuroshio program, where you can look at the aquarium from directly above it, is very popular. It's an exciting course above the tank, so please try it.
Fully enjoy the colorful Journey to the Coral Reef
Journey to the Coral Reef is an area where you can enjoy the coral reef and tropical fish that live around Okinawa.
One of the main attractions is the large-scale breeding project of various types of corals called "The Coral Sea." There are about 70 types of 800 colonies of coral curving through the water for an impressive site! Much of this coral have continued to grow since the opening of the aquarium.
You also shouldn't miss "The Sea of Tropical Fish," where plenty of colorful fish swim around. Since it gets direct sunlight, it feels like you're watching them in an environment as close to nature as you can get.
The touch pool, where you can touch live animals
At Journey to the Coral Reef, there's a touch pool where you can enjoy touching live animals!
Inside the tank are 20 different kinds of marine creatures that live in the shallow waters around coral reefs including starfish and sea cucumbers. All of them are safe, so please enjoy touching them.
*Please don't touch any creatures outside of the touch pool.
Journey to the Deep Sea, where you can see a mystical world
Most of the world's ocean is actually at a depth of over 200m below sea level. You can check out some of this mysterious, mystical world through glass in the Journey to the Deep Sea area.
There are about 70 rare creatures that aren't well-known. There are many creatures that you don't see often and have very strange shapes. Make sure to check out the Ocean Planetarium, where you can see fish and coral that light up!
Stop by the cafe and shop
Ocean Blue is a cafe where you can enjoy a break time in a magical space near where whale sharks and manta rays swim. You can enjoy a light meal, sweets, or a drink as you gaze on the huge Kuroshio Sea tank.
Definitely check out the shop, Blue Manta! They have not just original merchandise like snacks, plush toys, and phone straps, they also have Okinawa souvenirs. There is a varied line-up of goods featuring whale sharks and manta rays.
You can download information about the shows and programs from the official homepage. If you know the schedule beforehand, you can have an even better time during your visit!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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