Tokyo was chosen as host of the Olympic Games, and more and more foreign tourists have been visiting Japan every day. When you think about tourist spots in Japan, Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto are famous even in overseas, but the Churaumi Aquarium in Okinawa is also a popular tourist attraction. So here are 5 important things you should know before visiting Churaumi Aquarium and enjoy it even more!
1: Let’s buy a ticket with discount!
It’s possible to buy tickets at the aquarium, but doing so means paying the regular price. So the recommendation is to buy it in advance.
At convenience stores within Okinawa Prefecture and associated hotels, it’s possible to buy adult tickets, which normally cost 1,850 JPY, for 1,660 JPY. Also, at “Michi no Eki Kyoda”, a rest area located immediately after the exit of Kyoda IC, – the closest to the aquarium -, it’s sold at the lowest price of 1,600 JPY. If you’re going to the aquarium by car, why not stopping by?
In case your schedule only allows you to enter the aquarium in the afternoon, your visit will be shorter, but buying tickets after 4 p.m. (for 1,290 JPY) at the ticket window of the aquarium is another option.
Also, if you present the stub of your Churaumi Aquarium ticket, you can enter another special spot inside the park, the Tropical Dream Center, for half the price! If you have the time, why not making a visit there too?
2: Check the famous dolphins show, “Oki-chan Theater”!
Before the dolphins show, please do not forget to check the show times. That’s because the dolphins shows are exhibited not inside the main building, but at a special theater located about 5 minutes walk from the aquarium exit. Between April and September, the show is executed 5 times a day, with the last show starting at 5:30 p.m., but between October and March, the last show begins at 4 p.m., so if you leisurely walk in the main building for too long, you may find yourself out of time to see the dolphins show!
3: Let’s experience the main attraction, the “Kuroshio Sea”, throughout your body!
The highly popular water tank, “Kuroshio Sea”, is an attraction that you can enjoy from multiple angles.
It boasts a huge popularity as the tank where a whale shark can be seen, and gazing at it from the special seat installed right in front is a powerful experience that feels like being under the sea.
After you have looked at it from the front, there will be plenty of options for you to enjoy it from up and down, left and right: the Churaumi Theater, which lets you watch the big tank from a viewing window behind the screen (when it’s not in exhibition); the Kuroshio Exploration, in which you can look down on the big tank from a water deck above it; the half-dome-shaped admiration space that lets you watch the tank from below; a café where you can enjoy a meal while gazing at the big tank etc.
4: Let’s learn more about fishes!
Did you know that by making a reservation in advance, you can borrow a voice guide that lets you watch the tanks while listening to the explanation about each of them? This requires a reservation by e-mail at least one week in advance, but beside Japanese, it is available in English, Chinese and Korean so that you can enjoy the commentaries as if you were visiting an art museum!
Also, inside the main building, 10 different types of Churaumi guide sheet are distributed for free. If you gather all of them, you’ll form a picture book of Okinawa’s animals, so collecting it during your visit is definitely a recommendation.
5: Outside the aquarium, many fascinating exhibitions await you!
Outside the main building are many areas where you can meet sea animals too. There is the Dolphin Lagoon, where you can live the experience of touching dolphins; the Manatee Building, where you can meet the mermaid model manatees; and the Sea Turtle Building, where 5 different types of sea turtles calmly swim around. It takes some time, but it’s definitely worth the visit.
Churaumi Aquarium is located inside the vast Ocean Expo Park. So another recommendation is to allocate a lot of time so that, after you leave the aquarium, you can take a relaxing stroll through a park full of nature!
This post is also available in: Japanese