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The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium (沖縄美ら海水族館 Okinawa Churaumi Suizokukan?) is located within the Ocean Expo Park in Okinawa, Japan. It welcomed its 20 millionth visitor on 30 March 2010[3] and is a member of the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums (JAZA). It was the largest aquarium in the world until it was surpassed by the Georgia Aquarium in 2005.


In 1975, the World's Exposition or World's Fair was held in Okinawa, Japan at the Ocean Expo Park. Afterward, the park began to lose tourism and it was believed that a new aquarium would help revive the area and celebrate Okinawa's marine tradition. The aquarium was designed by Yukifusa Kokuba and was opened on 1 November 2002.

"Churaumi" was selected as the name of the aquarium by public vote amongst Japanese people. "Chura" means "beautiful" or "graceful" in the Okinawan Japanese dialect, and "umi" means "ocean" in Japanese.


Visitors at the Kuroshio Sea main tank
Rays and sharks at the Churaumi Aquarium

The aquarium is a part of the Ocean Expo Park located in Motobu, Okinawa. The aquarium is made up of four floors, with tanks containing deep sea creatures, sharks, coral and tropical fish. The aquarium is set on 19,000 m2 of land, with a total of 77 tanks containing 10,000 m3 of water. Water for the saltwater exhibits is pumped into the aquarium from a source 350 m offshore, 24 hours a day.[4]

The main tank, called the Kuroshio Sea, is 35 metres (115 ft) long, 27 metres (89 ft) wide and 10 metres (33 ft) deep.[5] It holds 7,500 cubic metres (1,981,000 US gal) of water and features an acrylic glass panel measuring 8.2 by 22.5 metres (27 by 74 ft) with a thickness of 60 centimetres (24 in),[6] the largest such panel in the world when the aquarium was opened.[1][7]

Whale sharks and manta rays are kept alongside many other fish species in the main tank.[1] The first manta ray birth at the aquarium was in 2007.[8] As of July 2010, there have been a total of four manta rays born in the aquarium.[9]

The aquarium holds 80 species of coral. It is one of only a few aquariums that keeps whale sharks in captivity, and is currently trying to breed them.[1]

Other activities


Close to the Aquarium there are two different dolphin shows in which viewers can touch them and watch them perform in a show. There is also a manatee exhibit featuring manatees presented to the aquarium by the Mexican government. A recently closed exhibit featured assorted sharks. There is also Emerald Beach which is accessible by the 200 yen tram.[citation needed]

Ocean Expo Park which holds the aquarium also has a selection of other activities. A native Okinawan Museum, Oceanic Culture Museum, Tropical Dream Center, and a Tropical & Subtropical Arboretum to a historic village.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Amazing Engineering: the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium". Wayfaring Travel Guide. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "List of Aquariums" (PDF). Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 12 June 2010. 
  3. ^ "We are pleased to have received the 20 millionth visitor!!". Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  4. ^ "Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium". Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Welcome to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium". Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  7. ^ The size of this panel was surpassed in 2005 by Georgia Aquarium (but only very slightly), and later in 2009 when a larger panel was installed in the Dubai Mall
  8. ^ "3 Years in a row! This year too, a baby Manta was born in the Oki". Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "We have just recently had our 4th successful manta ray (Manta birostris) birth in captivity at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium". Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. 6 July 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 

External links


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