The Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海水族館, Churaumi Suizokukan) is regarded as Japan’s most incredible aquarium. It is the primary feature of the Ocean Expo Park, located on the old grounds of the 1975 International Ocean Expo in Honto, northern Okinawa. In 2002, the aquarium was entirely rebuilt and reopened. In 2010, the aquarium welcomed its 20 millionth visitor since its reopening. The aquarium has 26,000 live animals and 740 distinct kinds.
The gigantic Kuroshio Tank, one of the world’s largest, is the centerpiece of a visit to the Churaumi Aquarium. The tank is named after the warm Kuroshio current, which plays a vital role in the diversity of Okinawa’s marine life. The tank is home to a broad range of animals, the most visible of which are massive whale sharks and manta rays.
The aquarium is divided into three floors, with the entrance on the third and the exit on the first. There is a pool directly after the entry where guests may touch living starfish and seashells with their own hands. Following that is a tank with the world’s first large-scale exhibit of live coral.
There are, a few more spectacular tanks and displays. Including a shark section with real tiger sharks and bull sharks. One of the sites is dedicated to marine life in Okinawa’s exceptionally deep seas. With exhibits of diverse bioluminescent species. The path through the aquarium is then led by the Kuroshio Tank. Where tourists are expected to spend a significant amount of time. A high-definition movie theater on Okinawa’s marine life is located next to the tank. In addition to the main aquarium structure. There are a few outdoor pools along the shoreline where visitors may see free dolphins, sea turtles, and manatee displays.
The Dynamic World of Migratory Fish
A massive 7,500m3 tank can be observed from the Aqua Room and via a wide acrylic panel. There is also special seating provided from which to view this enormous tank. See a school of whale sharks and manta rays gliding through the water. The Kuroshio and California Currents are components of the North Pacific Gyre, the world’s most extensive ecosystem. And Coral reefs form surrounding the Okinawan islands due to the warm sea temperatures. Which average between 20 and 30°C, and a broad range of species travel through the seas.
Getting there and around
The Churaumi Aquarium is part of the Ocean Expo Park on the Motobu Peninsula in northern Okinawa Honto. About 90 kilometers from Naha.
By direct bus from Naha
The Okinawa Airport Shuttle, the Yanbaru Express, and bus line 117. Directly connect the airport and city center of Naha with the Churaumi Aquarium. The one-way trip takes a little over two hours. Costs 2000 yen on the Okinawa Airport Shuttle and the Yanbaru Express and 2440-2550 yen on bus 117. There are 1-2 buses per hour. In central Naha, the Airport Shuttle and Yanbaru Express stop at the Prefectural Office (県庁北口, Kenchō Kitaguchi). While bus 117 stops at the Naha Bus Terminal.
By bus from Nago
Most buses along the lines 65 and 66 connect Nago with the Kinen Kōen-mae (記念公園前). . Note that about one out of three buses runs on a slightly different route that does not serve the aquarium.