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Visiting Japan’s Largest Aquarium at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Posted By on Sep 12, 2014


At the 1975 world’s fair in the Ocean Expo Park at Motobu, Okinawa drew the attention of visitors all around the world.  In 2002, the world once again turned their heads to this area – this time for the opening of Churaumi Aquarium.


Designed by Yukifusa Kokuba, this four-floor aquarium bears the elegant name of “beautiful ocean,” a name voted upon by the Japanese public.  It has been a popular destination for the nearly three million yearly visitors despite its distance of about 2 hours drive time from the capital of Naha.

There are plenty to see at this beautiful aquarium, it had claim to the largest aquarium in the world until 2005 when the Georgia aquarium in the US took the title.  Storing over 2.6 million gallons of water over its 77 exhibition tanks, you can find over 740 different species that call Churaumi home.


The highlight of this aquarium is their main tank, The Kuroshio Sea Tank.  Named after the western Pacific Ocean current that passes Japan, this tank features many marine animals including the whale shark and manta rays.  Be amazed by the size of the whale shark, as it can be over 10 meters long.  There have also been four manta rays that were born at Churaumi.


There is also a man-made coral tank at Churaumi that features over 80 species of coral.  This is the world’s first large-scale exhibit of coral reproduction, with no roof over the tank; the marine creatures and corals behave differently with the passing of time. In this area, you can also interact with some marine animals in the touch pool that recreates conditions in the Okinawan seas.  Feel the varying textures of starfish and sea cucumbers on your fingers in this family fun activity.


There are also various programs that captivate visitors.  With multiple feedings and shows a day, be sure to catch the dolphin shows in the Okichan theater or the various tank feedings with explanations by the staff.

Address: 424 Ishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa 905-0206, Japan


[post by Beth]

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Beth Williams

Originally from Chicago, Beth got her first true taste of travel when she studied abroad in Japan during her final year of university. She ended up loving Asia so much, she found herself moving right back upon graduating and is currently teaching English full-time in Hong Kong. Armed with her camera and a passion for travel, she is currently on a mission to photograph the world-- proving that you can work the normal “9-5” and still find time to travel on her blog Besudesu Abroad.

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