Churaumi Aquarium offers family-friendly year-round respite from Okinawa’s heat and rain
Okinawa is so famous for its blue skies and white sandy beaches that most people assume it’s sunny year-round on the island. However, the tiny prefecture receives less sunshine than Japan’s nationwide average, with more cloudy days than not. And on cloudless days, temperatures often soar above 90 degrees Fahrenheit — which can be too hot for some to spend extended periods of time outdoors.
These less-than-ideal weather patterns can often be a headache for families living on Okinawa, as it limits the types of outdoor activities available to children. When my kids were younger, I was always on the hunt for places to go on rainy Saturdays or blazing hot Sundays. Luckily, Okinawa’s world-famous Churaumi Aquarium always provided the perfect solution for weekend outings.
Located on the Motobu Peninsula in northern Okinawa, Churaumi Aquarium is a part of Ocean Expo Park, a state-run park originally opened for the 1975 Okinawa International Marine Exposition. The park is a whopping 190 acres of family-friendly fun. Also located there are the Tropical Dream Center, a traditional Okinawa village; and the Oceanic Culture Museum, a dolphin show and athletics fields.
The aquarium’s name is a portmanteau of “chura,” the Okinawan word for “beautiful,” and “umi,” the Japanese word for “ocean.”
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