Don’t Skip Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium & Ocean Expo Park (Day 7 – Part 2)

Not exactly an aquarium fan, I almost gave Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium a miss even though this popular attraction is regarded as Japan’s best aquarium.

I’m so glad I didn’t skip Okinawa Aquarium as it was far more entertaining than any other aquariums I’ve been to. The visit also gifted me a romantic sunset at Ocean Expo Park.

Check out how we spent a late afternoon exploring Okinawa Aquarium and its vicinity on Day 7. This post continues from a morning visit to Bise Village which is located a 10-minutes walk from Okinawa Aquarium.

Okinawa Romantic Sunset


How to Get to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium?


From Bise Village, it took us only 5 minutes to get to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium by car. We parked at the North Gate Multi-Story Carpark (see location) which offers free parking by the way.

Okinawa Chuarumi Aquarium
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

TIPS: A great way to explore Okinawa is to self-drive (view latest car rental rates). But if you prefer not to drive, this day tour from Naha and Chatan will get you to Okinawa Aquarium. Alternatively, you can also DIY using a Okinawa Route Bus Pass

Then it was time to buy the admission ticket to Okinawa Aquarium. 

Great Savings on Admission Ticket

Now, did you know that you can enjoy significant savings if you enter Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium after 4pm

That’s what we did since we weren’t keen in visiting this attraction in the first place. Instead of giving up on Okinawa Aquarium altogether, we thought we would make-do with a quick walk-through and check out if this is indeed a must-visit attraction in Okinawa. 

Entering Okinawa Aquarium after 4pm shaved 30% off our admission fee. That’s a great savings! But would it be too rush to explore the aquarium this late?

TIP: If you have already pre-purchased a normal admission ticket but decided to enter after 4pm, please approach the ticket center as you may be able to seek a refund of the balance.

Okinawa Aquarium Ticket Price
Cheaper admission ticket after 4pm


Enter after 4pm? Enough Time to Explore Okinawa Aquarium?

“Would you have enough time to explore Okinawa Aquarium if you enter after 4pm?”

Well, it depends on a few things such as your traveling profile and the months you travel in.

We were there during the summer months when the aquarium closed late at 8pm, giving us ample time to enjoy the experience (view operating hours). In addition, we were okay to miss aquarium programs such as movies and feeding shows, which typically have more show segments before than after 4pm. 

Here are a few questions to help you decide whether to get a normal ticket or a discounted one:

  1. Are you travelling in the months of October to February? 
  2. Are you travelling with kids and/or elderly? 
  3. Do you like educational shows and movies?

If you answer ‘Yes’ to the questions above, then a normal ticket may offer you better entertainment and a stress-free experience. In fact, you should take a look at the Okinawa Main Island Pass which may offer you more savings.

TIP: The Main Island Okinawa Enjoy Pass gives you access to 12 popular attractions, including Churaumi Aquarium. You can use it at a relaxing pace over 5 days. I find this pass to be of exceptional value and wish I’d seen it prior to making my trip. Highly-recommended!


Let’s Explore Ocean Expo Park First!


We’ve discussed the logistics. Let me walk you through what we did just before entering Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, at Ocean Expo Park.

Once we got out of the car park, we were presented with the same island view we’d enjoyed at Bise. That’s Le Island by the way! Quite a symmetrical work of nature, isn’t it?  

TIP: There are many attractions located within Ocean Expo Park other than Okinawa Aquarium. You may want to arrive early if you find these attractions interesting. Additional admission fees may apply to some, e.g. Tropical Dream Centre.

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park
View from the escalator leading to Okinawa Aquarium


Free Marine Life Experience at Ocean Expo Park

Before entering Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, we thought we should explore the outdoor marine enclosures first in case they closed early. 

The first was the Sea Turtles Pool, located right outside the aquarium (see location). It was entertaining seeing the large reptiles taking turn to surface for a breath. :)

Okinawa Sea Turtle Pool
Sea Turtles outside Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Next, we moved on to the Manatee Pool (see location) only to see a sign indicating that it’d closed for the day (at 3pm).

We could also catch a Dolphin Show and Diver Show (see location), but the timing wasn’t right and we couldn’t afford to wait. 

TIP: You should arrive early and plan ahead if you like to catch the free shows. Click to view show time of Dolphin Show and Diver Show


Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium – It’s Impressive!


What an impressive display of marine life and the underwater world!

Just a few steps from the entrance, I was already in awe with the huge variety of fishes and corals presented in the first few aquariums.

Okinawa Chuarumi Aquarium
Not an aquarium fan, but this mimics the underwater world so well!

As I’ve said, I’m not a fan of aquariums or fishes (except those that can be eaten raw), but was stopped in my track at every single aquarium that I saw. I think they did an excellent job in mimicking the underwater world. The displays didn’t even look like man-made aquariums.

It’s just amazing, especially when you see something that you don’t expect a fish to look like. :)

Okinawa Chuarumi Aquarium
So many weird and interesting-looking fishes

Other than fishes, Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium also showcased a wide diversity of marine life, including jelly fishes, sea worms, lobsters and more. 

The way the jelly fishes and “sea worms” danced slowly and gracefully were therapeutic. 

Okinawa Chuarumi Aquarium
Lots of luminous jelly fishes performing an aqua dance
Okinawa Chuarumi Aquarium
Cute isn’t it? Dancing sea worms!

Oh wait, you can even touch and play with starfishes. I lifted a few starfishes and caressed a black soft creature that felt softer than a soft toy. Is that a hairy sea cucumber? 

Okinawa Aquarium Starfish
Educational segment – but it was in Japanese

Okinawa Chuarumi Aquarium


Whale Sharks and Gigantic Tank 

And how can we forget to mention the huge whale sharks that are often featured in the attraction’s promotional materials? 

Okinawa Aquarium Whale Shark
Whale sharks in Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

I’ve personally swam with whale sharks in the Philippines, so I wasn’t super-duper excited seeing them again.

Instead, I was attracted to the school of fishes that swam in a coordinated manner as if they had pre-notified each other on what they would be doing next.

Okinawa Aquarium
See those coordinated school of fishes?

The manta rays with their long tails were interesting too! Don’t worry, their long whip-like tail ain’t poisonous. 

TIP: Don’t forget to observe the gigantic tank from above. Take an elevator (near Whale Shark) to get to the top of the aquariums.

Before I end this aquarium tour, let’s take a photo with a fake and handsome shark!

Okinawa Chuarumi Aquarium
You notti boy!


Sunset Moments at Ocean Expo Park 


Now that we were done with Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, it’s time to truly relax and explore what the Ocean Expo Park had to offer. We strolled about the big ocean-front park which had quieten down by this time.

The less crowded Ocean Expo Park made such a nice backdrop for photos that I couldn’t help snapping photos like a crazy tourist.

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park
A quieter Ocean Expo Park in the evening

Photo Spots at Ocean Expo Park, Okinawa

Check out the trees! Even a random tree in the park was so photogenic that I had to attempt to touch the crown.

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park
Making a jump to touch the leaves


There’s also a steep flight of stairs that would make a perfect backdrop for photos. It’s located along the main walkway, near Okichan Theatre.

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park
Steep staircases leading from main walkway to Fountain Plaza

Walking further, we saw cute botanical display of marine life such as crabs, sharks and turtles.

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park
Spot turtle, dolphins, sea horses and lobster
Okinawa Ocean Expo Park
Giant whale shark botanical display

Soon, I arrived at Native Okinawan Village. Too bad, it was closed for the day! Another reason why you should visit this park early and not laze around too much like we did in the morning

Native Okinawan Village
Native Okinawan Village

When making my way back to the carpark, I passed by a fountain and didn’t think much of it until I turned around to face the ocean!

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park Fountain
Fountain at Ocean Expo Park, Okinawa

Amazing Sunset Near Okinawa Aquarium


Wow! Check out this sunset view enjoyed at the Fountain Plaza.

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park Sunset

Isn’t this a romantic sunset with the trees, ocean, island and sunset all captured in a single photo frame?

In spite of our aching legs, we were drawn to move towards the ocean to enjoy the glorious sunset. What a truly romantic moment we had! 

Okinawa Ocean Expo Park Sunset

It’s one of the most gorgeous sunset view I’ve seen, probably second to the one I’ve witnessed in Cingjing

No one told us that Ocean Expo Park is a great place to view sunset. I’m glad I managed to chance upon this beautiful moment! Let me be the one to share this great experience with you (Ya lah, let me take the credit, can? :))

Okinawa Romantic Sunset

Walking away from the ocean, we continued to be amazed by the golden spray of colors over trees, cute crabs and all! What a great way to end the day. 

Sunset Okinawa Aquarium
Sun setting at Okinawa Ocean Expo Park

Attractions Info:

That’s all for today. Stay tuned to the next post as we would visit a Japanese Sushi Restaurant in Nago that’s worth a mention!

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