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Churaumi Aquarium

We made it out to the aquarium! This was one of the first places we wanted to visit when I got to the island. It took us a month, but we finally made our way all the way out to Nago to look at the fishies!


This aquarium was absolutely unforgettable. It was the first time I had seen a whale shark in person, and it was so cool to see many of the fish that we would (very soon) be snorkeling with!

Going into the aquarium, I was expecting to see the tank photographed above upon entering the place. However, there is a big, beautiful outdoors area that we got to walk through first!

It was a gorgeous day out, and it was so cool to see some sea turtles, manatees, and a small beach area in the outdoor exhibits. (All of which is free/open to the public! You don’t need a ticket until you go inside.)


First stop was the sea turtles! There were SO many turtles. I felt like I was finally turtley enough for the turtle club. There were a couple of smaller tanks for the baby turtles and what we assumed to be turtles in quarantine, then a larger tank with a small beach area.

There were also manatees in the outdoor exhibits! It was harder to get pictures of them, as they were moving quite a bit. However, we have nearly two minutes on video of a manatee spinning and pooping. It was ridiculous and we couldn’t stop laughing. It kept going like that as we were leaving.


When you walk into the Churaumi Aquarium, your first stop is the petting zoo! It was a shallow tank with starfish and the phallic creatures that we kept seeing on the seawall. They were curled up very small in the tank, though they’re normally stretched out and very long in the tide pools. The little creatures were so soft that we could barely feel them when we touched them.

“I’m only small because the water is cold.”

After that, we started walking through smaller aquariums and we saw tons of cute little animals!

The disappearing garden eels were just precious. They pop out of the sand like dancing wet noodles. I also found this video when I looked for their name online and I thought it was the cutest little standoff I’ve ever seen.

After that, we saw some stunning displays of ocean life. I wish I had a better camera so I could capture it all, but it was just so cool to see all the different animals that live around Okinawa, on display in these exhibits!

There were some smaller exhibits, too! There was a lonely hermit crab. There was this teeny tiny crab on display in a teeny tiny exhibit. There were small tanks with tons of jellyfish in them… There was just so much to see!

My favourite fish of all time, however was this tiny little fish. I think he was a puffer fish, but I’m not sure. Either way, he was the cutest little guy in the entire aquarium and if I ever get to have a salt water tank, I hope I can take care of one someday!


Seeing a tank this huge was just crazy. There was movie theatre-style seating. There was a balcony. There was a tunnel you could walk through. You could even sit in a restaurant right next to the tank. It was massive.

We ate at the restaurant in the aquarium and sat right next to the tank. We got to take some really neat up-close pictures. In the picture below, the male shark is trying to get the female shark in the mood by biting on her fin. Because of this, female sharks have skin nearly twice as thick as male sharks. Lucky for her, because we definitely saw some skin come off when she tried to swim away with him latched on.

We also saw some other friends in the tank!

This guy was the pride and joy of the aquarium, though. There are two whale sharks – one male and one female. They slowly swam laps around the aquarium the entire time.

When we finally left, the aquarium was closing up. We both wished we had more time, and we want to make another trip up to Nago for sure. We ended up snorkeling for the first time the day afterwards because we were so hyped after seeing the fish in the aquarium!

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