The Ocean Expo Park is a large park on the tip of the Motobu Peninsula in northern Okinawa Honto, which was built in 1976 to commemorate the Okinawa International Ocean Expo held there a year earlier. The park’s main attraction is the Churaumi Aquarium, Japan’s best aquarium.
The Churaumi Aquarium is widely considered Japan’s best aquarium. It is the main attraction of the Ocean Expo Park on the former grounds of the 1975 International Ocean Expo in northern Okinawa Honto. The aquarium was completely redesigned and reopened in 2002.
Do you know the meaning of “Chura” in Churaumi Aquarium? In the Okinawan dialect, “chura” means “beautiful”.
The name “Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium” was chosen from 13,897 candidate names obtained in a nationwide competition prior to the aquarium’s re-opening on November 1, 2002, after the aquarium had gone through a major renovation. With so many good candidate names, the committee in charge of selecting the final name deliberated long and hard before settling on “Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium”. What tipped the scales in favor of this name was its ability to evoke the essence of Okinawa, distinguishing the Aquarium from others in different prefectures, and its likeable, easy to remember name.
With its enormous capacity, a gigantic tank called The Kuroshio Sea Tank the largest fish in the world, the whale shark, and the world’s first successfully bred-in-captivity manta can also be seen. Moreover, you can experience the sea of Okinawa when you journey into the deep sea attraction, which recreates Okinawa’s mystery-enshrouded deep sea.
The large acrylic window through which this impressive scene is displayed measures 8.2m in height, 22.5m in width, and is 60cm thick. – Official Website
Manta rays swim with ease in the beautiful seas of Okinawa. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium was the first to succeed in keeping multiple individual of manta rays and increasing their numbers after the successful reproductions in the tank. After a manta ray is born, it is immediately moved to a Seapen (net cage) where it is raised and then later returned to the Kuroshio Tank where it can be seen swimming with its parents. Our record for longest time preserved in captivity still stands. Currently, six manta rays can be seen circling around in our Aquarium. The large tank and system for supplying continuous fresh sea water.
Guests were invited to check out behind the scenes of the Kuroshio Tank, once we got out of the lift there was a strong salt water smell in the air. It felt a little scary to stand right above all these big fishes.