Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is famous and has a unique exhibiting method, such as a large tank where whale sharks and manta swim gracefully and a tank that recreates a coral reef area. Now we will introduce the highlights of the first to third floors!

What is Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium?

Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

“Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium” in Okinawa is a popular sightseeing spot in Okinawa Ichi on the Motobu Peninsula in the northern area, which takes about 2 hours to reach by car from Naha Airport. One of the facilities in the Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park), originally opened as an aquarium in the form of the Okinawa International Ocean Exposition in 1975. It then closed as it was dilapidated and reopened in 2002.

When you arrive at the aquarium, you will find the area “Uminchu Gate”, an ideal shooting spot, where you can see monuments of whale sharks and Ie island. The The entrance to the aquarium is on the 3rd floor off the escalator from Uminchu Gate. 

The aquarium is a recreation of the Okinawan sea and the starting point is at the entrance on the 3rd floor. The 3rd floor is the “Journey to a Coral Reef” is the main feature that has coral and tropical fish. Continuing onto the 2nd floor, there is “Journey to the Kuroshio” where whale sharks swim in a large aquarium. Finally on the 1st floor is “Journey into the Deep Sea”. It is has been designed so that you can experience the feeling of diving from shallow water into the deep sea.

There is “Okichan Theater” where dolphin shows are held, “Sea Turtle Pool” and “Manatee Pool” in Ocean Expo Park that can be enjoyed for free, so please visit if you have time!

Things to See on Each Floor of the Aquarium 

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium 3/F: Seeing the Creatures that Live Around the Coral Reef 

Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

A floor where you can see creatures that live in the shallow part of the sea, surrounded by coral reefs. The highlight is “The Coral Sea” where you can see approximately 70 species 450 colonies of coral reefs. It was made using coral reef scenery as a reference that was seen by a keeper who actually dove into the sea.

Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

In addition, there is the “The Sea of Tropical Fish“ where the coral reefs of Okinawa have been reproduced faithfully and they keep the tropical fish that live there in conditions close to that of nature. Another must see is “Coral Reef Gallery” where they introduce various creatures that inhabit the coral reefs in 30 variously sized individual tanks.

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium 2/F: See the Great Marine Animals at ”The Kuroshio Sea”!

Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

In the area where migratory fish are the main feature, there is the “Shark Research Lab” where you can learn well about the ecology of sharks, and the “Churaumi Theater” which introduces the ecology of creatures living in Okinawa and more using high-definition video. Here the highlight is the The Kuroshio Sea, where they have a large tank 10 meters in depth, 35 meters wide and 27 meters in length. You can see the whale sharks and the manta rays swimming up close!

Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

The Aqua Room by the large aquarium has an acrylic panel on the ceiling, so you can see the fish from underneath and feel like you are under the sea.

Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

There is also a cafe called “Ocean Blue” where you can take a break while watching the creatures in the large tank “The Kuroshio Sea”. Please enjoy the dishes specific to Okinawa such as purple yam ice cream.

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium 1/F: Discover the Creatures live in Deep Sea 

Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

A floor that reproduces the Okinawan deep sea. Meet sea creatures that live in a quiet world where light does not reach.The highlights are the “Deep Sea World” where you can see precious creatures living from a depth of 200 meters around Okinawa, “Small Life in the Deep Sea” that exhibits small creatures that you do not normally see, and the “Deep Sea Experience Room” which explains about rare creatures living in the deep sea using images and panels

Access to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium 

Meet the giant whale shark! A thorough guide to the highlights on each floor of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

By Rental Car via the Highway

Naha Airport → Prefectural Road route 231 → Turn right at Ashimine Pass Intersection → National Highway route 331 → Okinawa Expressway Nikachi IC → Pass through Nishihara Junction and get off at Kyoda IC → Drive along National Highway route 58 - 449 along the coast → Prefectural Road route 114 (For around 100 km, accessible in about 2 hours)

※When using a car navigation system, you may be unable to search for "Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium" depending on the model of the system. In that case, search for “Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park” or “Ocean Expo Park”.

By Bus

There are two routes to access Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium from Naha Airport and they are as follows.

1. Access without transferring!

Take the Yanbaru Express Bus, Express Bus 117, Airport Limousine Bus or Okinawa Airport Shuttle (Karry Kanko Churaumi Liner)

2. Transfer at Nago Bus Terminal

When using the Highway Bus 111 and general buses, it is necessary to transfer at the Nago Bus Terminal.

When taking the Yanbaru Express Bus, Airport Limousine Bus, Churaumi Liner, Highway Bus 117, Route Bus, Okinawa Airport Shuttle, get off at “Kinen Kōen-mae” bus station. When it rains, if you take the airport limousine bus, there is a roof over the “Centurion Hotel Resort Vintage Okinawa Churaumi” bus stop adjacent to Ocean Expo Park, so it is convenient. The time required to get to the aquarium from Naha Airport is around 2 hours 15 minutes to 3 hours 30 minutes.

Main routes and travel time

  • Yanbaru Express Bus and Expressway Bus 117 (Direct): About 2 hours and 20 minutes from the airport
  • Okinawa Bus Airport Limousine Bus: About 2 hours 40 minutes from the airport
  • Highway bus 111: About 2 hours 10-20 minuites from the airport ※transfer necessary
  • General route bus: About 3 hours 30 minutes from the airport ※transfer necessary
  • Okinawa Airport Shuttle: About 2 hours (Rapid) or 3 hours (Regular) from the airport
  • Okinawa Airport Shuttle (Karry Kanko Churaumi Liner): About 2 hours from the airport

Spot Information

  • Spot Name: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
  • Street Address: 424 Aza Ishikawa, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 905-0206
  • Access: as above
  • Wi-fi: Available inside the facility only
  • Language: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese and Korean pamphlets available
  • Ticket: 8:30-16: 00 (regular fee) 1,880 yen ; 16: 00 until last entry (tickets after 16:00) Adult 1,310 yen
  • Opening hours: October- February 8:30-18:30 (Last entry 17:30) ; March 8:30-20:00 (Last entry 19:00)
  • Holidays: The first Wednesday of December and the following day (Thursday)

* Information accurate September 2020

Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Ocean Expo Park) / Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

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