[YouTube] Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium – Your Best Japan Guide
What is Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium?
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is widely considered to be the greatest aquarium in Japan and the best tourist spot in Okinawa. It is located on the Motobu Peninsula, on the north of the main Island of the Okinawa prefecture.
There are 77 tanks in the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, which contain about 21 thousands sea creatures, representing 740 separate species.
In the neighboring area, you can also find other maritime attractions, such as the Okichan Theater, Dolphin Lagoon, Sea Turtle Pool, and Manatee Pool.
Photo: sinnosuke uchida
What to See?
1. Life in Inoh
Entering the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, you are first welcomed by the interactive pool, called “Life in Inoh.” Inoh means “Coral reef lagoon” in the Okinawa dialect, and here you can touch and feel starfish and sea cucumbers.
2. Journey to a Coral Reef
After the Life in Inoh pool, you will proceed to the Coral Sea tank. Here, you can see about 800 colonies consisting of 70 kinds of coral, some of which have been growing here since the opening of the Aquarium in 2002.
The next section is The Sea of Tropical Fish, where about 200 different kinds of colorful fish will draw your attention.
The passageway continues to the Coral Reef Gallery. Here the marine life that live in the coral reef are introduced in each of the thirty individual tanks.
3. The Enormous Kuroshio Sea Tank
The highlight of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is the Kuroshio Sea Tank. It’s 35s meter long, 27 meters wide, and 10 meters deep, and it contains 7500 tons of water.
The Kuroshio Sea Tank features the Kuroshio Current (meaning Black Tide), which nurtures all marine life in the Okinawan seas. In this tank, you can see whale sharks and manta rays swimming sedately by, while tuna and bonitos wander around in flocks.
You can also go up to the observation deck above the Kuroshio Sea tank, and see the top of the aquarium.
4. Dolphin Shows
Next to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is the Okichan Theater where you can see dolphin shows free of charge.
The shows are scheduled several times a day. Each show takes about 20 minutes, and you can watch the dolphins performing tricks, taking huge leaps out of the water, and even singing.
Churaumi means “Beautiful Seas” in the Okinawa dialect. As the name suggests, this aquarium is designed around the concept of experiencing the beautiful seas of Okinawa.
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a must-see sightseeing spot when you visit the Okinawa prefecture.
Did You Know?
Free audio guides are available. But there are a limited number of them, so making a reservation in advance is recommended.
You can buy discounted tickets for about 10% off at convenience stores in Okinawa, such as Lawson and FamilyMart.
They also have “After 4 PM Tickets,” which you can only purchase after 4pm at the entrance lobby and are about 30% cheaper.
In addition, there is an annual passport, which is the same price as two tickets.