Okinawa Tourist Attractions: How to enjoy Okinawa’s Churaumi Aquarium



Okinawa’s Churaumi Aquarium is a popular tourist attraction that attracts many visitors from Japan and abroad. Located in Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, in the northern part of Okinawa’s main island, the aquarium boasts one of the world’s largest aquariums, which opened in 2002, and attracts visitors with its scale and variety of exhibits.

The main attraction of the Churaumi Aquarium is its huge “Kuroshio Sea” tank. In this tank, visitors can observe whale sharks, manta rays, and other large marine creatures swimming at their leisure, up close and personal. The whale shark, in particular, is the symbol of this tank and one of the few captive-bred exhibits of its kind in the world. Visitors are sure to be overwhelmed by its powerful appearance.

In addition, Churaumi Aquarium offers a wide variety of themed exhibits, such as “Coral Sea” and “Exploring the Deep Sea,” which reproduce the marine ecosystem of Okinawa. These exhibits provide visitors with the opportunity to learn more about Okinawa’s rich marine life and its ecosystem, providing them with inspiration and knowledge.

Churaumi Aquarium also offers many interactive experiences for children and adults alike. At the touch pool, visitors can actually touch marine creatures to further deepen their understanding. In addition, regularly scheduled guided tours and workshops provide an educational yet fun experience.

Churaumi Aquarium is designed in harmony with the beautiful nature of Okinawa and is surrounded by the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park. Within the park there are beautiful beaches, botanical gardens, and museums to enjoy throughout the day.

This article details the attractions and ways to enjoy Churaumi Aquarium. We have covered information to help you plan your trip, so please visit Churaumi Aquarium and experience its wonderful world.

History and culture of the tourist attraction

Churaumi Aquarium was opened in 2002 to introduce Okinawa’s rich marine ecosystem and its culture to the public. Located within the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park, the aquarium welcomes visitors in an environment that is in harmony with the natural beauty of Okinawa. The aquarium was established to carry on the legacy of the 1975 Okinawa International Ocean Expo and to pass on Okinawa’s ocean and culture to future generations.

Historical Background

The 1975 Okinawa International Maritime Exposition was held as an event symbolizing the reconstruction and development of Okinawa after its reversion from the United States to Japan. The expo welcomed many visitors from all over the world with its theme of advances in marine science and technology. The success of the expo led to the establishment of the Okinawa Ocean Expo Park and the opening of the Churaumi Aquarium as part of the park.

Cultural Features

The exhibits at Churaumi Aquarium are closely related to Okinawa’s maritime culture. The Okinawan sea has long been deeply connected to the lives of the local people, fostering fishing and navigation skills, as well as a reverence for nature. The aquarium’s exhibits reflect this cultural background and convey to visitors the depth of Okinawa’s maritime culture.

In particular, the coral reef exhibit is a symbol of the Okinawan sea, and the Churaumi Aquarium has recreated one of the largest coral reefs in the world. This allows visitors to experience the beautiful marine environment of Okinawa up close. Some of the exhibits also include information on traditional fishing methods and sustainable use of marine resources, helping visitors to understand the culture of living with the sea in Okinawa.

In addition, regular events and workshops held at the aquarium provide visitors with opportunities to learn about Okinawa’s marine culture and the importance of environmental conservation. This allows visitors to deepen their understanding of Okinawa’s rich nature and culture through an enjoyable experience.

The Churaumi Aquarium is a place where visitors can experience the history and culture of Okinawa, providing much to learn and be inspired by. By visiting this aquarium, visitors will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the richness of the Okinawan sea and its culture.


With its spectacular exhibits and wide variety of activities, Churaumi Aquarium is a year-round destination. Here are some suggestions for the best time of year to visit, major attractions, and things to do in the tourist area.

Suggested times of year to visit

Churaumi Aquarium can be visited throughout the year, but the best times to visit are spring and fall. Spring (March to May) is the best time to visit because the weather is mild. Autumn (September to November) is also pleasant and ideal for enjoying the beautiful ocean. Summer (June to August) attracts many tourists, so if you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend visiting in the morning or evening on a weekday.

Major tourist attractions and popular spots

Churaumi Aquarium has many attractions. The following are must-see spots.

  • Kuroshio Sea: A highlight of the Churaumi Aquarium, this giant tank features whale sharks and manta rays swimming at their leisure. The overwhelming scale and power of the exhibit will captivate visitors.
  • Coral Sea: This exhibit recreates one of the world’s largest coral reefs, featuring colorful corals and a wide variety of marine life. Visitors can experience the beautiful marine world of Okinawa up close.
  • Exploring the Deep Sea: This area exhibits rare creatures that live in the deep sea. Visitors can learn about the ecology of deep-sea fish, jellyfish, and other creatures that are not normally seen.
  • Touch Pool: An interactive area where visitors can actually touch marine creatures. This hands-on exhibit is suitable for children and adults alike, and allows visitors to touch starfish, sea cucumbers, and other sea creatures.
  • Dolphin Show: Dolphin shows are held regularly at the Oki-chan Theater in the museum. The dolphins’ spectacular performances are a must-see.

Points of Attention at Sightseeing Spots

When visiting Churaumi Aquarium, keep in mind a few things to keep in mind.

  • Purchase tickets in advance: Since crowds are expected during the tourist season, it is recommended to purchase tickets online in advance. This will avoid long waiting times.
  • Appropriate attire: The museum is air-conditioned, so bring a light jacket for comfort, even in summer. Wearing comfortable shoes is also recommended.
  • Consideration for Environmental Protection: Churaumi Aquarium places great importance on protecting the marine environment. Please enjoy your visit with good manners, including taking trash home with you and not touching the exhibits.

Churaumi Aquarium is a wonderful tourist attraction where visitors can experience the richness and beauty of the Okinawan sea. When you visit, please enjoy these attractions to the fullest and create wonderful memories.


Access from Okinawa Airport

Churaumi Aquarium is located in the northern part of Okinawa’s main island and can be accessed from Okinawa Airport (Naha Airport) in Naha City. Here are some convenient ways to get to Churaumi Aquarium from Okinawa Airport.

If you use a rental car.

  • The most free and convenient means of transportation is to rent a car. There are several car rental companies at Okinawa Airport, and cars can be rented upon arrival at the airport. The drive to Churaumi Aquarium takes about 2 hours, and you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the main island of Okinawa.

If you take an express bus.

  • There is a direct bus service from Okinawa Airport to Churaumi Aquarium. The Yanbaru Express Bus is convenient, taking approximately 2 hours from the airport. The bus is comfortable and a convenient means of transportation for tourists. It is recommended to check bus schedules and fares in advance.

If you take a public bus.

  • When using public buses, first go from the airport to the Naha Bus Terminal, then transfer to bus No. 65, 66, or 70 and get off at the “Kinenkoen-mae” bus stop. This is a good option for those who want to save money, although it will take a little longer due to the bus transfer.

If you choose to take a taxi.

  • Cabs are a comfortable and convenient means of transportation, but they are expensive. A cab from Okinawa Airport to Churaumi Aquarium will cost approximately 20,000 to 25,000 yen. This is recommended if you are traveling in a group or if comfort is important to you.

If you use a tour bus.

  • Many travel agencies offer tour buses to Churaumi Aquarium. These tours include round-trip transportation and admission fees, allowing visitors to enjoy sightseeing efficiently. It is recommended to book online in advance.

Opening Hours, Admission Fees

Churaumi Aquarium is a year-round tourist destination with its wonderful exhibits and wide variety of activities. Here are details about the opening hours and admission fees for visiting Churaumi Aquarium.

Hours of Operation

Churaumi Aquarium is open daily during the following hours

  • Regular hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (last admission at 5:30 p.m.)
  • Extended summer hours**: 8:30 am to 8:00 pm (last admission at 7:00 pm)
  • Extended summer hours are from July through September.

Hours are subject to change due to special events or maintenance, so visitors are advised to check the official website for the latest information before visiting.

Admission Fees

Admission fees for Churaumi Aquarium are as follows.

  • Adults (18 years and older): 2,180 yen
  • High school students (15 to 17 years old): 1,440 yen
  • Elementary and junior high school students (6 to 14 years old): 710 yen
  • Infants (under 6 years old): Free


Located along the beautiful coast of northern Okinawa, the Churaumi Aquarium attracts visitors with its huge aquarium tanks and diverse exhibits. The best times to visit are spring and fall, and weekday mornings and evenings are recommended to avoid crowds.

Churaumi Aquarium is a place where visitors can observe the rich marine life of Okinawa up close, including exhibits of coral reefs and deep-sea life. Visitors can also enjoy interactive experiences such as touch pools and dolphin shows. Access is convenient, taking approximately two hours from Okinawa Airport by rental car, highway bus, or tour bus.

Churaumi Aquarium is an ideal destination for visitors to gain a deeper understanding of Okinawa’s nature and culture. With its rich exhibits and convenient access, the Aquarium provides visitors with an inspiring and educational experience. We invite you to visit the Churaumi Aquarium and experience all that it has to offer. We wish you a wonderful stay in Okinawa.