I took the Yanbaru Express Bus which wasn’t difficult to do. I caught the bus from the monorail stop near my hostel (Kencho-Mae) and it was 1900 yen to get from there to the Ocean Expo Park. You can also take this express bus from the airport or a list of other stops. Be mindful of you do catch from another stop it’s best to ask someone who reads Japanese for confirmation. And make sure you check the bus schedule for departure times when you get off at the Expo Park. The last bus for me was at 5:30 and I almost missed it, just assuming it ran later than that.
The Ocean Expo Park was much larger than I had anticipated. It was huge. When you go make sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and give yourself enough time to do everything. It is a 2ish hour trip from Naha city.
The first place I went was the ocean culture museum. This museum is often missed because it looks like an office building and it is not clearly marked. The whole thing takes around an hour to and about and a half, if you include the show at the planetarium dome theater which is included in the ticket price. This was a cute museum about life, past and present of island cultures.
These are just a few of things you can see inside the museum.
On to the main attraction, the aquarium is surrounded by little shops and places to get Okinawa cuisine. The aquarium is the 3 largest in the world and was just as wonderful as everyone says. I sadly missed the dolphin show as I did not plan well. But everything’s else was spot on! After ticket purchases you enter into the touch tank area where you can play with starfish. Continuing on are areas with coral, giant lovers and tropical fish. Then you enter the viewing tank. Beside the viewing tank is a small restaurant/cafe where if you’re lucky enough to reserve a table you can eat right beside the viewing tank, or you can find a seat a little further away, still within sight of the tank.
One of the best parts was the shark area. Below is the coolest shark out of the bunch, the bowmouth guitarfish (below). The shark area was more an educational center which was pretty cool.
After you finish the main aquarium where the largest squid is, you will proceed to the turtles, manatees and dolphins. I didn’t make it in time for the dolphin show which was a let down. Again, I recommend getting there early to have plenty of time to not rush through everything.