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Introduction

Most of us probably have a love or curiosity for ocean life –– no matter it be colourful nemo, horrifying-looking sharks, dancing jellyfish, or just corals. That is why we have aquariums, one of the most popular and common destination for both tourists and locals across the world, especially for those of us who live in inland, or those who don’t have a diving licence!

In this article, we’re going to write about the only aquarium in Fukuoka: the Marine World. It is located in the mini “peninsula” of Uminonakamichi (literally, the walk in the ocean). If you have looked at the map of Fukuoka, you probably would notice a strange green elongation intruding into the sea.
Uminonakamichi is decidedly one of the city best known features, and it is difficult to find a better spot for aquariums!
The aquarium has just been renovated and reopened in April 2017, and this is one of the first English articles on it.

Access and Tickets

To get to Uminonakamichi, one can take the JR, the Nishitetsu (a private transport company in Kyushu) and bus. Though we would highly recommend the JR, which has a station right between the Uminonakamichi Park and the aquarium. You need to take a local train from Hakata, changing once at Kashii (香椎).
For tickets, we would highly recommend you not to buy them separately at the ticket counter at the aquarium, but buy the official set tickets. For example, while the normal ticket cost around ¥2,300, the set we bought cost only ¥2,130, and includes the entrance tickets to Uminonakamichi Park (saving ¥580) as well.
Though it is not too expensive in Japanese standards, still it’s not cheap either (also need to factor in the transportation cost from and back to Hakata).

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The Aquarium

Marine World is divided to 2.5 floors, with some external exhibition areas as well. What is the most striking about the aquarium is the big water tank (Open Oceanic Large Tank) that spans across 1–3/F. (But on 1/F, beside the giant water tank, there is just the restaurant, so we think it’s only 0.5 floor.)
The big water tank is designed with care. The light in the tank allows you to see the fish and animals clearly, but the the ambient environment remains very dark somehow. There’re a few benches in front of the tank, though during show times on weekend/holiday, people fill up all three floors.

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The rest of the aquarium is relatively unremarkable, but it certainly has everything that you expect to find in an aquarium. However, as you would expect in Japan, everything is written in Japanese without English translation.

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The Shows

There are several shows throughout the day (the show times vary by the day, so please confirm in advance or in the aquarium). Here are the ones that we saw:


 Name  Where   Duration  Description
 Sardine Typhoon  Large Tank
 15 mins  Feed is thrown into the tank, and the sardine would form spectacular “hurricane” chasing for the bait.
 Aqua Live Show  Large Tank
 15 mins
 A diver will enter the tank, holding a camera (live-feed projected onto the screens). The staff outside the pool will interact with the diver. The main focus of the show is on the sharks in the tank, asking audience questions about sharks.
 Dolphin and Sea Lion  Show Pool  30 mins  After the usual “tricks” with the sea lions (clapping hands, etc.), the dolphin and killer whale will perform with four trainers. There will be interactions with the audience, including a “volleyball” where the killer whale/dolphin will throw a big white ball onto the spectators’ stand.

Besides these ones, there are also cute sea otter feeding time, and during summer there are the “sea firefly” show as well, make sure you check them out! However, as all the shows are in Japanese, non-Japanese speaking visitors might find it a bit difficult to follow, though this is not likely to present a big problem.

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Enormous dolphin (we thought was killer whale) making a big splash of water.

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Interactive “volleyball” game with the audience.

Recommendation

To be quite frank, despite the renovation in April, the Marine World might feel somewhat of a disappointment for those who are really into aquariums. Just like the Kagoshima Aquarium, the tank itself is still small, compared to aquariums in other tourist destinations, e.g., Hong Kong. However, for family visitors, we would still highly recommend visiting the Marine World because children, as we abundantly saw during the visit, loved the ocean life!
We recommend you to combine the trip together with a visit to the nearby Uminonakamichi, which is –– again, not a too exciting tourist spot, but an excellent location for leisured family activities or dating. There are also a small animal zoo inside the park, where you can touch most of the animals!

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Rabbit at the Uminonakamichi Park (free to touch!).

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Hours: Differs between occasion, please check: https://marine-world.jp/en/general-guide/hours/
Address: 18-28 Saitozaki, Oaza, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka-shi