Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium - Meet Sea Turtles And Manatees
Written by Keisuke Yamada
This article features the Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa, which is renowned for its various exhibitions of marine creatures.
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, famous for its display of whale sharks, is a popular sightseeing spot in Okinawa. Many tourists visit Okinawa to see the whale sharks swimming gracefully in the huge water tank.
The dolphin show is another feature of the aquarium, along with the whale sharks. This article introduces the exhibitions in this aquarium, along with a video of the dolphin show.
Inside the Aquarium
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located in the northern region of Okinawa Prefecture. It displays reproductions of the sea surrounding the islands and its creatures. It takes about two hours by bus or car from central Okinawa, but it's worth the time.
Let's take a look inside.
The Kuroshio Sea
The whale shark is swimming in the huge water tank titled Kuroshio Sea (Kuroshio no umi). The writer, awed by the sight, stood still for a few minutes in front of the tank.
The other tanks display the wide variety of fish living in the Okinawa sea.
The exhibitions, such as this mangrove forest display, offer a glimpse of Okinawa's natural environment.
The Shark Research Lab
The Shark Research Lab displays gigantic jaw and tooth models along with the actual sharks themselves.
Although feared as a tyrant of the sea or man-eater by many people, the shark is a light eater, and only a few species attack humans.
The visitors can enjoy a wide range of exhibitions in this aquarium.
Outside the Aquarium
The view of the actual Okinawa sea awaits the visitors outside. The aquarium is located inside a large site, so everybody can take a leisurely stroll while enjoying the seaview.
Okichan Theater (The Dolphin Show)
This is the popular dolphin show, held at the Okichan Theater. It is held daily from April to September, free of charge, with shows at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Okichan the dolphin, along with his friends, will perform for the visitors against the backdrop of the blue Okinawa sea.
The visitors love this show, and the seats are often filled. Take a look at the video.
Sea Turtle Pool
Five species of the sea turtles are bred at the Sea Turtle Pool. The visitors, looking down from above, can see the sandpit where the turtles lay their eggs, along with the sight of them swimming about in the pool. From the observation room, they can watch the sea turtles swimming underwater.
Manatees are said to be the model of mermaids, and they are bred at the Manatee Pool. A herbivorous mammal on the brink of extinction, the manatee has been designated an internationally protected animal. The visitors can watch them from the observation room, but on the day of our visit, the manatees looked relaxed and did not move at all.
The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium entertains its visitors both inside and outside the facilities. That may be the reason why many people come here, although it is located away from the urban area. If you have the chance to visit Okinawa, be sure to go to this aquarium.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Address: Okinawa, Kunigami, Motobu-chō, Ishikawa 424
October to February 8:30-18:30, last admittance at 17:30
March to September 8:30-20:00, last admittance at 19:00
Closed: On the first Wednesday and Thursday of December.
Credit Cards: VISA, MasterCard, American Express, JCB
Other Languages: -
Menus Available In: -
Access: 2 hours by car on the expressway from Naha Airport
Adults 1850 yen; High School Students 1230 yen; Junior High and Elementary age Children 610 yen
**After 16:00, the fee changes to 1290 yen for adults, 860 yen for high school students, and 430 yen for junior high & elementary age children.
Official Website: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium