NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

Enjoy the world of Okinawa ocean   ”Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium”

Enjoy the world of Okinawa ocean
”Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium”

From the shallows to the deep sea – designing exhibition

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is well known for having the world’s largest water tank. Rui Matsumoto, who is in charge of breeding and exhibiting for the fish team, guided us through the facility. He obtained his PhD at National Fisheries University, and has been continuing his research even after graduation. It was Nakata’s first visit to the aquarium, so he seemed to be fascinated. His eyes were glued to the napoleon fish near the entrance as he came into the building. ”We mainly have fish found in Okinawa ocean, and we display from fish found in shallow water to ones living in deeper areas as you go further into the building”, explained Matsumoto.

Huge tank with whale sharks

On our visit, we were allowed to see the backstage of the aquarium. We looked downwards from the top of the huge water tank and saw giant whale sharks swimming leisurely, and manta rays that were born and raised at the aquarium. This is also the feeding place for fish. In this large water tank called ”Kuroshio no Umi (sea of the Japan current)” with capacity of 7,500㎥ of water, there are three whale sharks, 1 male and 2 female. Matsumoto told us his dream; ”Since the female whale sharks are still young it will take more time, but someday I want to breed whale sharks here.” Whale sharks swam in the tank at a leisurely speed of 3 kilos per hour, ,just the speed of a human walking fast.

Shark feeding is a must see

Next, we decided to pay a visit to the ”dangerous” sharks. We were greeted by the bull shark which was raised here and the Okinawa Memorial Park Aquarium, the predecessor of Churaumi, for a total of 37 years. There were also tiger sharks, which can grow to be as long as 6 meters and eat just about everything in the sea, from fish to sea turtles. These two kinds of sharks are ranked second and third in the record for attacking humans all over the world. In the shark exhibit, the scene where sharks eat their meals creates the most excitement among visitors. When asked about their meals, Matsumoto explained ”They like squid and generally eat anything, but it is interesting that they each seem to have preference of food. They especially enjoy fresh fish”, and smiled.

ACCESS

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
424 Ishikawa, Motobucho, Kunigami -gun, Okinawa Prefecture
URL https://churaumi.okinawa/en/