Emerald Beach: A hidden gem for aquarium goers

by Victoria Vlisides
Japan Travel

The coral-sand beach lined with arching rock formations, scattered tide pools containing tiny crabs, and sea cucumbers is a scene so perfect I couldn't have dreamed it up.

Okinawa’s Emerald Beach (エメラルドビーチ), in Ocean Expo Park, is approximately 14.8 acres. It features white-coral sands, which beautifully contrasts the ocean, producing a sparkling green hue. Although I live about 15 minutes by car from the east coast of Chiba Prefecture, the beauty in Japan's semi-tropical Okinawa is — in a word — startling. It was February 2015 when I departed Honshu (Japan’s mainland), only to land on another island that's about 3.5 hours from Narita International Airport (Tokyo).

I stayed in Okinawa's capital city, Naha. But, a day-trip going north along the coast of Okinawa to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium gave me a better glimpse of what its mainland had to offer. While the aquarium is spectacular and features the massive whale shark, what I’ll never forget is the view from Emerald Beach. The sand. The water. The setting sun. The island far off in the mist of the sunset. And, how it all came together into one seamless piece of beauty that easily forces you to question why you’d ever want to live anywhere else.

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