Ocean Expo Park

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The Ocean Expo Park's Fountain Plaza seen from the Central Gate
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The Ocean Expo Park (Cm, Kaiyōhakukōen) is a large park on the tip of the Motobu Peninsula in northern Okinawa Honto, which was built in 1976 to commemorate the Okinawa International Ocean Expo held there a year earlier. The park's main attraction is the Churaumi Aquarium, Japan's best aquarium.

The park stretches about three kilometers along the coast and is so extensive that small shuttle buses operate between the park's attractions at least twice per hour and for 200 yen for a 1-day pass. The various sites and facilities are also connected by attractive walking paths.

Native Okinawan Village

Apart from Churaumi Aquarium, there are a number of other interesting facilities in the park:

The spacious Oceanic Culture Museum, located just beside the park's central gate, exhibits ship replicas and other informative displays about ocean-based cultures from Asia and the South Pacific, including a giant replica of a Lakatoi canoe from Papua New Guinea and a trade ship used for travel between the Ryukyu Kingdom and other Asian countries. The museum also includes a planetarium.

Just next to the museum stands the Native Okinawan Village, a small open air museum with over twenty residences and other buildings from different time periods and regions of Okinawa. There is no admission fee and no staff, and visitors are free to wander between the buildings.

Tropical Dream Center

A variety of tropical plants can be seen across the Ocean Expo Park along the walking trails and in two arboretums. Furthermore, there is the Tropical Dream Center, a well maintained botanical garden with a wide range of tropical trees and plants in multiple greenhouses. The center also features a 36 meter tall observatory tower that resembles the Tower of Babel.

At the northern end of the Ocean Expo Park lies Emerald Beach, an attractive sand beach. Emerald Beach is divided into three separate areas that each face into a different direction: a beach for playing and swimming, a beach for resting and a beach for viewing.

Emerald Beach

Get There and Around

The Ocean Expo Park is located on the Motobu Peninsula in northern Okinawa Honto, about 90 kilometers from Naha.

By Yanbaru Express Bus

The Yanbaru Express Bus directly connects the airport and city center of Naha with the Ocean Expo Park. The one way trip takes a little over two hours and costs around 2000 yen. There are six round trips per day. In central Naha, the bus stops at the Prefectural Office (k), Tomari Port and Furujima Station along the Yurail monorail among other locations.

By regular buses

Take highway bus number 111 from Naha to Nago Bus Terminal (90 minutes, 2100 yen from Naha Bus Center; 105 minutes, 2190 yen from Naha Airport; 1-2 buses/hour) and transfer to infrequently departing bus number 70 to Kinen Koen Mae (LOO) bus stop in front of the Ocean Expo Park (50 minutes, 880 yen). A few buses on the lines 65 and 66 also serve the Ocean Expo Park. See details on the aquarium's official website.

By car

By car, take the Okinawa Expressway from Naha all the way to its northern end near Nago (1020 yen one way) and then follow regular roads across the Motobu Peninsula to the Ocean Expo Park. In total, the journey takes about two hours one way (more during rush hours).

How to get to and around Okinawa Honto

Hours and Fees

Hours

Park: 8:00 to 19:30 (until 18:00 from October to February)
Individual attractions typically open half an hour later and close half an hour earlier.

Closed

First Wednesday of December and the following day.

Fees

Entry into the park is free, but some attractions require admission:
1850 yen (Churaumi Aquarium)
690 yen (Tropical Dream Center)
170 yen (Oceanic Culture Museum)
Last updated: February 6, 2015
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