Home to one of Japan’s best aquariums, Motobu lies on a scenic peninsula jutting into the East China Sea. The site of Okinawa’s 1975 International Ocean Expo, it now features open-air villages, botanical gardens and cultural museums.
Things to do in Motobu
The Ocean Expo Park lies at the western tip of the Motobu Peninsula, with both shuttle buses and walking paths connecting its attractions. Explore the recreated buildings of the Native Okinawan Village and admire the replica Asian and South Pacific ships of the Oceanic Culture Museum.
A highlight of the Ocean Expo Park is the Churaumi Aquarium, considered by many to be Japan’s best aquarium. Its Kuroshio Sea tank is one of the world’s largest and houses local marine species. Churaumi is also one of only a few aquariums that breed whale sharks in captivity.
Wander through the lush foliage of Omoro Botanical Garden and see plants featured in the Okinawan poetry and song collection, the Omoro Sōshi. There are more than 100 wild orchid species on display, many of which are native to the Ryukyu Islands, as well as large Ficus trees and a variety of garden herbs.
Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed remains of Nakijin Castle, built in the late 13th-century as the seat of the Hokuzan king. See pottery and coins unearthed from the site at the Nakijin Village History and Culture Center before learning about village life and culture during the Sanzan Period.
Getting around Motobu
Motobu is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Naha and Naha Airport, with both regular and express buses making the journey. Buses also travel throughout Motobu, while the Ocean Expo Park’s attractions are easily explored on foot.