Monday, October 10, 2016

Okinawa (Japan): Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium & Ocean Expo Park 沖縄美ら海水族館 & 海洋博公園

When I told others about our Okinawa trip, the first thing they usually said was "There is an aquarium with whale sharks!" So you can tell how famous Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium 沖縄美ら海水族館 is!



Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located inside Okinawa Ocean Expo Park 海洋博公園. Other than the aquarium, there are other areas like Okichan Theater (where the dolphin show takes place), Traditional Okinawa Village, Omoro Arboretum, and so on. In fact, Okinawa Ocean Expo Park is so big that you may have to spend one whole day to explore every part!



Other than the usual touch pool and other fish tanks that we can see in Singapore's S.E.A Aquarium (read our experiences here and here), what are the highlights at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and Ocean Expo Park?


Whale Shark Feeding at Kuroshio Sea Tank (Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium) 

There are only two feedings in a day - 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

I didn't rotate the photo, the whale shark actually swam vertically during feeding!



There is narration in Japanese, and there is a screen showing the mouth of the whale shark viewed from the top of the tank.



Exploring the Kuroshio Sea Tank (Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium)

From 10 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. and from 5.30 p.m. to closing time, you can get to explore the gigantic tank from the top! Take the lift from level 1 next to the Kuroshio Sea Tank.




Look out from the window to get a nice view of the sea!



Dolphin Show (Okichan Theater)

The dolphin show is absolutely free, and it is a fantastic performance! Be there at least 15 minutes before the show time to get a good seat!





The children had a close encounter with the dolphin.



Churaumi Plaza 

This is a rest place located at level 1 of the aquarium, and it is free entry! But we didn't get to rest because there were so many exhibits of sea creatures for us to see, for example, fossil of the sea creatures.



Mantee Pool and Sea Turtle Pool

These are also free entry! They are actually quite small so we only took a short while to walk around.



Playground

This is the "obstacle" as we walked from Car Park 7 towards the aquarium! If it was not raining that day, I believed that we would have spent quite a fair bit of time here.



Paid Souvenir 

The machines that sell souvenir coins are located at the exit of the aquarium. Guess which one we purchased?



Free Souvenir

There is photo taking service at the entrance. You can receive a free pocket size photo at the exit. Or you can purchase a bigger print with a nice folder at 1000+ yen.

While you are walking around inside the aquarium, collect all these cards to learn more about marine life. They are free!



At level 1, there is a station for souvenir stamps! Grab a brochure and turn to the last page to collect all 3 stamps!




Tips for Visiting Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and Ocean Expo Park
  • Purchase your admission tickets to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium at at discounted rate with OTS Rent-a-Car or at  道の駅許田 (Michi no eki Kyoda)
  • Enter the aquarium after 4 p.m. for further discount! If you have purchased your tickets from OTS Rent-a-Car or at  道の駅許田, just approach the counter to get refund in cash.
  • If you are driving, park at the multi-storey car park no. 7, it is the nearest car park to the aquarium.
  • If you are visiting Ocean Expo Park on a rainy day, bring along raincoats. The wind from the sea is so strong that the umbrellas can be broken (based on our true story)!
  • There is an annual summer firework display, usually in mid-July.

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium and Ocean Expo Park
Address: 905-0206 424 Ishikawa, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture
Website for Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium: https://churaumi.okinawa/en/
Website for Okinawa Ocean Expo Park: http://oki-park.jp/kaiyohaku/en/
Mapcode for GPS: 553075768*42 (Car Park 7, which is nearest to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium)



Schedule of activities:
https://churaumi.okinawa/en/userfiles/files/program/en/program_table.pdf

Opening hours:
October to February 8.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. (last admission at 5.30 p.m.)
March to September 8.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last admission at 7 p.m.)

Admission Fee:
Regular rate 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Adult  - 1850 yen
High school student  - 1230 yen
Elementary / Junior high school student  - 610 yen
Under 6 years old - free

After 4 p.m. rate
Adult  - 1290 yen
High school student  - 860 yen
Elementary / Junior high school student  - 430 yen
Under 6 years old - free


Our Okinawa Travelogue


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2 comments :

  1. Looks like fun! Okinawa is definitely going into my list of places to go!

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    Replies
    1. It is also our list of "places to go again" too!

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