AMUSEMENT PARKS WITH A LOCAL TOUCH
Your one-stop shop for Okinawa Culture
Okinawa is also home to a number of theme parks that can be enjoyed by couples and families alike. The following are four of its most famous, each of which offers a taste of Okinawa’s natural surrounds, its history and traditional culture.
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in the Ocean Expo Park in Motobu-cho boasts the world-class aquarium tank, called The Kuroshio Sea, which offers a view of the oceans surrounding Okinawa. From the giant viewing panel to the Aqua Room, this enormous tank of 7,500m3 provides visitors with a close-up look at giant whale sharks, manta rays, bonito fish, tuna, and other grand creatures of the Kuroshio waters. Other attractions include the Coral Sea tank that houses more than 800 colonies of coral of over 70 different types, and the Deep Sea Area in which inhabitants of the deep waters living more than 200m below sea level are on display. Churaumi Aquarium is one of Okinawa’s major attractions, delivering a glimpse of the magical world beneath the sea.
Another popular destination is Ryukyumura at Onna Village in Kunigami. This is a recreated folk village where each of the houses found here has red-tiled roofs 100 to 200 years old. Here, visitors can get a taste of the Okinawa of the past and discover firsthand how the people of the islands once lived. Nowhere else in all Japan will you find scenes of water buffalo being used to draw carts for cultivating sugar cane to produce dark sugar.
You can also enjoy Okinawan culture with performances of sanshin music, traditional bingata dyeing techniques, traditional Okinawan dance, weaving and pottery.
Moving on, we come to Murasaki Mura of Yomitan Village in Nakagami – a theme park that brings to life the bright and colorful townscapes that gave birth to the noble culture of 15th century Okinawa.
Each of the red-tiled buildings in the park is home to workshops where visitors can try their hand at making lion-dog statues, bingata, glass blowing, glass bead making and much more. In total, 101 different workshops are on offer. Visitors can also experience the traditional martial art of karate, which is said to have originated in Okinawa.
Last of all, Okinawa World in Nanjo City is home to a traditional townscape that offers visitors a wide range of cultural pursuits. Its main attraction, however, is one of the few limestone caverns to be found in Japan. The snake and mongoose shows and traditional eisa dance that can be seen here for free each day are also a must see!