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Photo By: PIXTA/ miurin
Region
Kyushu
Island
Ryukyu Islands
Largest City
Naha
Population
1,318,281

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

From the shallowest waters to the ocean’s deep, learn about sea life at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

By Elizabeth Sok

Opening its doors in 2002, the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium boasts over 11,000 sea creatures, including approximately 720 distinct species spread across four floors. Attracting over 3.5 million visitors annually, this is a must-visit for ocean and nature lovers.

Diving deep

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Photo by: PIXTA/ bee Feel like you’re under the deep blue sea.

As you enter the aquarium on the 4th floor, gaze down from the top of the Coral Sea and Sea of Tropical Fish to catch a glimpse of what’s to come. Continuing to the 3rd floor, get a closer look at over eighty types of coral and about 150 species of colorful tropical fish as they glide effortlessly through the tank.

Moving to the 2nd floor, visitors reach the most popular attraction, the immense 7500 cubic meter tank that several whale sharks and manta rays call home. Showcasing the Kuroshio Sea, you’ll have a chance to learn about the research that the aquarium carries out on the inhabitants of the waters surrounding Okinawa. Climbing up to the 1st floor brings you to the ocean’s deepest depths. See tiny sea creatures and study environments that human eyes have rarely seen.

The aquarium has a couple places to rest and grab a snack or full-on meal. Located on the 4th floor is Inoh Restaurant, the larger of the two options and one with a fantastic view of the East China Sea. The restaurant has several menus, such as breakfast featuring pancakes and sausages, as well as miso soup and onigiri (rice ball), a lunch buffet with over two dozen items and drinks and a late afternoon one filled with steaks, curries and Okinawan noodle dishes.

Catch a Show

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Photo by: PIXTA/ tomo Catch the dolphin show!

Churaumi Aquarium is but one part of Ocean Expo Park. Venturing out from the aquarium, you’ll find attractions easily accessed on foot or by trolley. At the Okichan Theater, grab a seat near the front for a great view of the dolphin show. Kids Adventure Land is a must for families as it houses Japan’s largest net playground. Designed with Okinawan waters in mind, this oceanic jungle gym will keep both kids and adults entertained.

Things To Know

Hours and fees

During the second half of July, the aquarium is open from 8:30 a.m. 8 p.m., while in August it closes at 9 p.m. The rest of the year, the facility is open from 8:30 a.m.  6:30 p.m.

General admission for adults is ¥2,180; ¥1,440 for high school students; ¥710 for junior high and elementary school students; children under six years old are free. 

How To Get There

Address

By bus

The aquarium can be reached from the airport and the city center via the Okinawa Airport Shuttle, Yanbaru Express Bus and Bus #117. Depending on where you embark, the trip can take about two hours. 

By car

Take the Kyoda IC, continue to Route 58, then Route 449, and finally Route 114. Follow the signs for Ocean Expo Park.  

Where To Stay

Royal View Hotel Churaumi
  • 938 Ishikawa, Kunigami-gun Motobu-cho, Okinawa, 905-0206 Japan
  • ¥20,520 - ¥22,000
  • 3.97/5 (729 reviews)
  • 0.0 km
The Villas Machidoya
  • 894-1 Ishikawa, Kunigami-gun Motobu-cho, Okinawa, 905-0206 Japan
  • ¥26,900 - ¥26,900
  • 4/5 (6 reviews)
  • 0.2 km
Yukurina Resort Okinawa Umikaji
  • 799-2 Ishikawa, Kunigami-gun Motobu-cho, Okinawa, 905-0206 Japan
  • ¥8,883 - ¥38,400
  • 4.81/5 (57 reviews)
  • 0.4 km
Orion Hotel Motobu Resort & Spa
  • 148-1 Bise, Kunigami-gun Motobu-cho, Okinawa, 905-0207 Japan
  • ¥35,640 - ¥99,000
  • 4.81/5 (617 reviews)
  • 0.5 km
Adan Resort Lamp
  • 346 Bise, Kunigami-gun Motobu-cho, Okinawa, 905-0207 Japan
  • ¥35,000 - ¥76,000
  • 0.7 km

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