Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

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Our first weekend in Okinawa, our sponsor and friends took us up north to to visit the Ocean Expo Park.  We wandered along the beach and fed the fish from an observation deck.  Then headed into the park and visited the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.  Chura means “beautiful”  in Japanese and it was!
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The aquarium is the second largest aquarium in the world, and has the world’s largest acrylic glass panel which is 8.2 meters high, 22.2 meters wide and 60 cm thick. In this tank you can see three whale sharks (7 meters long) and many manta rays swimming with other native fish (sakhana).  The aquarium allows you to explore the waters of Okinawa from the surface to the ocean floor.  It’s a pretty good substitute for those that don’t scuba dive (which is HUGE here).

We enjoyed the “Okichan Theater” which has a fun dolphin show.  This park was so enormous that we bought season passes, so we can come back and explore more of it.  There was so much that we didn’t even get to see.  There was a fun mist machine at the entrance to help cool us off and all the scrubs were trimmed in the shape of sea animals.  The Japanese are very detail oriented, and they do cute very well!

We had lunch on the top floor of the aquarium at the restaurant Inoh.  We enjoyed a buffet-style lunch featuring Okinawan cuisine with an ocean view overlooking the East China Sea.  It was pretty spectacular!

10 comments… add one
  • Grandmama

    What a beautiful place! The aquarium pictures are amazing!! Love the hats too – it looks especially awesome on Bri-Guy!!! It seems like you are making lots of great new friends!! 🙂 XXOO

  • roberta inglet

    Love the hats. Now you are offically Japanese aw so. Kennedy and Nathan are getting so big. Will she go to an American school?? I am so happy that you seem to be liking it so much. I am glad for you. I wish I could come explore Japan with you guys. When do you get into your home? How long are you in Japan anyway???Take care, and we love you an pray for you.

    Mama Inglet

  • Shanna Roper

    That sounds like a blast! I bet the kiddos loved that. Fun pictures!

  • Lea Lau

    Oh my heck! I have been way out of the loop! When did you get a new blog going? You are in JAPAN!!! Awesome. That aquarium with the whale sharks is beyond amazing. Great pics! Your family is so cute. Your little guy is so big now! WOW!!

  • Lyana

    You either have a fantastic camera or the ocean is truly that blue!!! 🙂 Unbelievable! I am very excited for you to dive into the whole Japanese adventure thing right away! Keep the pictures coming. I love to see all the different places you visit. And I just might convince Robert to get on a hop to Korea and then to Okinawa:)

  • katie

    Wow! That aquarium looks amazing. I can’t believe those huge whale sharks. What a fun adventure!

  • Suzy

    Jared’s and my eyes popped, and jaws dropped! We thought the whale sharks and the aquarium were SO cool!!! It looks like you’re on vacation!! 🙂

  • Chie

    Konnichiwa!
    It is sooo strange to see the pictures of you in Okinawa, Japan! You just don’t know how much I envy you and feel frustrated!! I miss your smiling faces and miss Japan! I really should be there with you. “Chura” does not mean “beautiful” in Japanese, but it’s Okinawan dialect. “umi” means “ocean” or “sea” in Japanese. See, you need me there.

    • Natalie

      The pamphlet that the aquarium gave us said, “Do you know the meaning of “Chura” in Churaumi Aquarium? In the Okinawan dialect, “chura” means “beautiful.” I guess it’s a bad translation. We miss you too! We wish you were here too! There is NO doubt that I need you here! I have wished that on many occasions. I went to the local market the other day and wondered what in the world the signs said. I’ve wondered the same thing about drinks. How do I know if it’s something we can drink!!! We are learning lots and little Natalie is trying to be oh so brave!

  • Tara

    WOw! What an amazing place! That’ll be fun to explore more, too! It’s neat to see the different types of fish and aqautic life there! I love the hats, too!

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