Skip to Content

Under the Sea – Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Under the Sea – Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

If you like aquariums, visiting this one needs to go on your bucket list. It is unlike anything you have ever seen before, and the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a must-see!

This world-famous aquarium is home to some of the most incredible marine life on the planet, including giant manta rays, sea turtles, whale sharks, and more than 10,000 other fish.

With so much to see, it’s no wonder that the Churaumi Aquarium is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Okinawa.

If you’re looking for a unique and unforgettable experience, be sure to check out the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium! You won’t regret it!

What is Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium?

Churaumi aquarium
Photo: Janne Moren

The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa, Japan, has the second-largest aquarium tank in the world. It is a famous aquarium in the beautiful Okinawa Prefecture.

The facility was built to commemorate the 25th anniversary of reversion and has welcomed visitors since December 21, 2000. It is one of Japan’s most popular attractions for tourists and locals alike.

The Churaumi Aquarium specializes in exhibiting and breeding rare and endangered species of marine life from all over the world.

In addition to the various exhibits, the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium also offers a variety of educational programs for visitors of all ages. Several restaurants and shops are on-site, making it the perfect place to spend a day with the family.

The magnitude of size, shape, and importance comes clear in the presence of these beautiful animals. For aquatic enthusiasts, it’s a must-see.

Ocean Expo Park

The Ocean Expo Park is a theme park in Okinawa, Japan. The park hosts a variety of marine life exhibits and gardens, and an aquarium.

The aquarium, the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, is the main attraction of the Ocean Expo Park and is one of the largest aquariums in the world. The aquarium has different marine life on display, including sharks, dolphins, and whales. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a must-see for any visitor to Okinawa.

How to get there?

The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located in Okinawa, Japan. 

You can get to the aquarium by taking a bus from Naha Airport. The bus will drop you off at the aquarium. Or you can also book a Churaumi Aquarium bus tour.

Admission to the aquarium is 2,000 yen for adults and 1,000 yen for children. The aquarium is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Get your aquarium admission ticket now.

See Related: Best Places to Travel Around the World

What to expect?

When you visit the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, you can expect to see beautiful fish and other aquatic creatures from all over the world.

The aquarium is one of the largest in the world, and it features a variety of different habitats, including coral reefs, mangroves, and kelp forests.

You can also expect to see sharks, manta rays, and dolphins at the aquarium. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is home to the world’s most giant fish tank.

Why is Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium a popular tourist destination?

The aquarium is one of the most popular tourist destinations because they have more than 550 different species and over 18,000 individual animals!

Out of the 60 million people that visit Okinawa every year, over 3 million come to this theme park. In addition to a trip to the beach, some tourists heading to Okinawa might make time for a family outing to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

The Churaumi Aquarium is located within the Ocean Expo Park in Motobu, and it is one of the largest public aquariums in the world.

The facility was built in 2002 and expanded in 2005, and it currently houses over 550 different species of marine life. The main attraction is the Kuroshio Sea tank, a massive aquarium home to more than 10,000 fish and other aquatic animals.

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium Travel Tips

Okinawa Aquarium
Photo: M.M.Meeks

The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a must-see if you’re in Okinawa. It’s home to some of the most beautiful and exotic fish across the globe. Here are a few tips to help you make the most out of your visit:

  • Plan ahead. The aquarium can be pretty crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Make sure to check the aquarium’s website for information on admission prices and opening hours.
  • Get there early. The best time to visit is before 11 am when the crowds are at their peak.
  • Take your time. There’s a lot to see at the aquarium, so don’t try to cram it all into one visit. Make a plan and take your time exploring the different exhibits.
  • Stay for lunch. The aquarium has a few restaurants, including a sushi restaurant and a cafe. They offer decent food at reasonable prices, so it’s worth staying for lunch.
  • Check out the gift shop. The gift shop is a great place to find souvenirs for friends and family. They sell many Okinawa-themed items, including clothes, whale sharks-themed keychains, and magnets.
  • Enjoy the view. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located in a beautiful setting. Make sure to take some time to enjoy the views of the ocean and the nearby islands.

See Related: Best Tropical Vacations Spots in the World

Top Attractions

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
Photo: M.M.Meeks

Many attractions are featured in the aquarium, such as Kuroshio Sea Tank, Coral Sea tank, Open-Sea Tank, Tropical Reef Tank, Deep-Sea Tank, and Marine Mammals Exhibit.

Kuroshio Sea Tank

Kuroshio Sea, the main tank, is 115 ft long, 89 ft wide, and 33 ft deep. It is home to three whale sharks, each at least 41.5 ft long, and weighs 47,000 lbs. Manta rays, 80 different species of coral, and other types of fish share the space with the whale sharks, creating an underwater scene that parallels nature.

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea. Seeing their slow-moving glide gives the illusion that you view the tank in slow motion. 

Standing before the massive acrylic panel and watching the fish move together also makes you feel like you are inside the gigantic tank with them; it makes you feel like you are a part of nature. 

Coral Sea Tank

The coral sea tank at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is a beautiful sight to behold. It’s home to beautiful coral and fish of all shapes and colors. The tank is massive, and it’s easy to spend hours marveling at the beauty of the sea life inside it.

Open-Sea Tank

The Open-Sea Tank is a massive aquarium designed to show the public the beauty and diversity of the open ocean. It’s home to more than 10,000 fish, including sharks, manta rays, and dolphins.

The tank is also one of the largest in the world, measuring 82 feet long, 33 feet wide, and 24 feet deep. The Churaumi Aquarium is a must-see for any visitor to Okinawa.

Okinawa Japan Aquarium
Photo: M.M.Meeks

Tropical Reef Tank

A tropical reef tank is a saltwater aquarium designed to house fish and invertebrates found in the tropical coral reefs of the world. The most popular fish for a tropical reef tank is the brightly colored fish often seen in public aquariums. These fish include the angelfish, tangs, and parrotfish.

Deep-Sea Tank

The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is home to one of the world’s largest Deep-Sea Tanks. The tank is so large that it holds 7,500 cubic meters of water.

That’s enough water to fill up 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools! The aquarium is also home to deep-sea creatures, including manta rays, whale sharks, and dolphins.

Whale shark
Photo: Ayanami No03

Marine Mammals Exhibit

The Marine Mammals Exhibit at the Churaumi Aquarium is a must-see for anyone interested in marine life. This exhibit features a variety of marine mammals, including dolphins, whales, and seals. It’s fascinating to see these creatures closely and learn about their habits and ecology.

Shark research lab

The aquarium is home to several sharks, and it recently opened a new shark research lab to learn more about these creatures. The lab will allow researchers to study the habits and behavior of sharks in a controlled environment.

It is a valuable opportunity to learn more about these animals, which are often misunderstood. The aquarium also features many other sea creatures, including dolphins, whales, and sea turtles. It is an excellent place for families to visit, and there is something for everyone to enjoy.

See Related: Most Beautiful Places in the World

Nearby attractions

There are several attractions closed to Churaumi Aquarium, such as:

  • Kannonzaki Lighthouse – Kannonzaki Lighthouse is located in Kannonzaki, Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan. The lighthouse is notable for being the first lighthouse to use electric light in Japan. The light was first lit on October 1, 1889. The lighthouse stands at the entrance of Nakijin Castle and has been around for centuries. It is open to visitors from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission is free.
  • Nakijin Castle – Nakijin Castle is located on the Motobu Peninsula in Okinawa, Japan. It was initially built in the late 12th century by the Hokuzan Kingdom. The castle was later destroyed in the 14th century but was rebuilt in the 16th century. The castle was destroyed again in the 1609jin rebellion and was not rebuilt again. The castle ruins are now a part of the Nakijin Castle Ruins Historic Park. It is open from 8 am to 6 pm, with admission costing ¥500 for adults and ¥200 for children.
  • Katsuren Castle – Katsuren Castle is a reconstructed castle located in Katsuren-Cho, Okinawa. The castle was initially built in the 15th century and was reconstructed in the 1960s. The castle is open to the public and contains a museum and a gift shop. The castle is open from 8 am to 6 pm, and admission costs ¥500 for adults and ¥200 for children. It is a little bit further away than the other two attractions, but it’s worth a visit if you have the time.

Related Resources

Lock In Your Travel Now
Looking for Extra Travel Perks?
My favorite travel companion is The Platinum Card® from American Express, which gives me lounge access, Uber credits, upgrades, and plenty of other travel perks. If you want to find out the best travel rewards credit card for you, consider using CardMatch to instantly get matched to a travel rewards credit card that meets your travel needs.
Booking Flights

Use Skyscanner to book the cheapest flight possible. Skyscanner is my favorite flight search engine as you can find flights around the globe and from every airline possible. You'll be in great shape to get the best price possible.

You must grab a free trial or join Scott's Cheap Flights Premium to get cheap flight alerts directly to your email inbox. My favorite cheap flight alert was 25,000 Delta SkyMiles to London non-stop.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It's a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what's thrown at it. Use World Nomads to find the best policy for your travel schedule.
Book Your Accommodation
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be sure to join the ViaTravelers Newsletter for expert tips, tricks and inspiration for your next travel journey!