My boyfriend and I just spent a very nice long week end in Okinawa. On the second day we enjoyed a visit to the Churaumi Aquarium.
Churaumi Aquarium opened in 2002 inside the Okinawa Expo Park and it is the third largest aquarium in the world, second largest being in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and first largest in Atlanta, United States.
The name Churaumi comes from two Japanese words, “chura” that means “beautiful” in the Okinawan dialect and “umi” that means “sea”.
The Churaumi Aquarium shows indeed the beauty of the sea and gives visitors the unique opportunity of learning first hand about the creatures which populate the world’s oceans.
As we entered the aquarium we were offered to take a picture that was given to us at the exit completely for free. There is the possibility to buy the large size version but the small one is completely free to take home as a souvenir. Lovely!
Many marine environments are displayed inside the tanks, especially I liked the one reproducing the sea around Okinawa and the incredible amount of corals, some born inside the tank and taken care by the aquarium staff.
I also liked the first tank after the entrance where visitors can pet the starfish, it is probably meant for children but I guarantee also adults enjoy the opportunity. Moreover the staff is extremely polite and they do their best to answer to every question.
The most famous tank of the aquarium is the largest one where the whale shark swims together with other sharks and manta rays. The size of the tank can be fully appreciated by reaching the second floor with a lift. From the second floor you can see the staff feeding the animals from above. The staff is also equipped with a translating device if you have any questions and you don’t speak Japanese. Super cool!
After visiting the aquarium do not forget to take a walk around and visit the other facilities of the Expo Park, there are tanks with sea turtles and a very big pool with dolphins where there are daily shows for free. Dolphins are naturally funny and playful, don’t miss the show!
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