DMM Kariyushi Aquarium in Tomigusuku
March 13, 2023
It rained in the early morning hours before my alarm woke me up at 6:15. I picked Toshie up at her place at 8 and we went to the DMM
Kariyushi Aquarium (and zoo) in Tomigusuku. The massive venue occupies the second floor of the IIAS Okinawa Toyosaki mall complex.
The place opened May 25, 2020 – the year after my last Okinawa adventure.
Admission tickets were purchased from an automated kiosk outside and the price is really quite reasonable - ¥2,400 – considering what they
offer. Upon entering we were courteously ushered to a theater where an astonishingly high-tech CGI voyage took us through space and time
to enter the facility. I regret that they strictly enforced a “No cameras” rule inside the theater, but then I’d have never been able to capture the
huge-screen fast-paced IMAX-3D program on my little Panasonic videocam.
The aquatic displays are very well-done with many large tanks teeming with waving corals, a huge diversity of fish and reptiles of all manner.
A centrally located and beautifully accented staircase leads to a high observation platform from which you can see the many displays below.
While crossing a wooden bridge shadows of butterflies skitter around on the deck. The highlight of the venue was a huge diorama, partly real
and part CGI-generated depiction of being inside of a broad cave looking out over the ocean. The tide, rolled in and an island in the distance
was completely washed over until there was no sign of its existence. Occasionally a breaching whale appears, especially following a very
realistic thunderstorm. The skies cloud over while interior lights are slowly dimmed, and a light rain begins. Within seconds the skies and
cave are in the dark while thunder rolls, lightning bolts here and there, and the swelling waves become more intense. Then, as quickly as the
storm erupted it ends and the whales appear. In the distance a ship sails from right to left, then an airliner streaks past from left to right.
Then come calming waves, warming sunlight until the whole thing starts all over again.