Busena Underwater Observatory

CONTRIBUTED BY HEATHER NORDELL

Ubo

Every since they saw Finding Nemo both my husband and my oldest daughter have enthralled by the ocean and marine life. This fascination shared by the two of them has turned in a family hobby. During the summer we spent most of our spare time at the beach and tide pools. If it is too rainy to go to either one of those places we make the rounds at the local fish stores to identify and watch the fish.

Now that school has started our free time has been cut back dramatically. Our weekends tend to be packed full and half our day on Saturday is taken up with bowling league. Even though we are super busy we all still yearn to see some marine life. So when I saw the brochure on The Busena Underwater Observatory I knew it would be the perfect day trip for our family. After purchasing some discount tickets from ITT we set off on our fish finding adventure.

The Observatory is only a short 45 minute drive away. My girls napped on the way there so they were refreshed and happy upon our arrival. As we pulled into the resort a helpful staff member directed us to first parking lot on the left – visitor parking. The Observatory is quite a distance from this area so be prepared to walk or you can take their trolley. We were all anxious to get there so we decided to walk rather than wait for the trolley. It was a pleasant walk with the ocean on one side and beautiful floral shrubs on the other.

Glass_bottom_boat

On your way to the Observatory you will pass the area where the glass bottom boat rides launch from. I will admit that we did not ride on the glass bottoms boat this time. My husband said from the beginning that wasn’t going to because of his motion sickness. I thought it would be fun for my oldest and I go together but that didn’t work out either. Apparently to a 5 year old the concept of a glass bottom boat is very frightening. She was convinced that a shark or whale might attack the boat and would not believe otherwise regardless of what I told her. The boats must look more sea-worthy in action because as we were leaving she commented that next time she would give them a try!

Ubo2

The Observatory is at the end of a long pier. The view from the pier is breathtaking and you can see so many different fish swimming down below. For 100 yen you can get pellets to feed the fish which both of my girls thoroughly enjoyed. It was fun to catch a closer glimpse of the fish as the would rush to the surface and snack on the pellets. I was impressed by the fact that the container the pellets came in was also food for the fish. Once you are at the end of the pier you will arrive at the Observatory. The observatory is a tall tube like structure that descends down to the oceans floor. There is a steep spiral staircase that takes you down to the bottom floor where you can view the marine life through different portholes.

  Porthole_3 Murry_porthole

The portholes are quite large and offer you many different viewing points. It was so neat to be able watch the fish swimming freely in the natural habitat. It was a wonderful learning experience as well as we were able to identify many different species of fish. My oldest was having so much fun watching the fish that we had to bribe her with yen (to feed the fish) to get her to come back up to the pier. We had a wonderful time at the Busena Underwater Observatory and if you haven’t been we would highly recommend you go. Both MCCS and ITT offer discount tickets along with brochures about Busena Underwater Observatory in english. Ticket prices through ITT for the Observatory are: Adults ¥800 Students(16-18) ¥ 700 and Children (4-15) ¥400. They also offer combination tickets for both the Observatory and a Glass Bottom Boat Tour.

Directions: head North on HWY. 58 and you will drive for about 45 minutes. The Observatory is just outside of Nago. You will see the sign for the Resort and then take a left at the light.


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9 Comments
  • December 26, 2011

    Very good place to experience how’s the underwater life doing, kind of fun to see them fly around.

    Joy
    Reply
  • August 4, 2011

    We just visited the other day and had a very nice time. It is quite a bargain at 2000 yen for a combined ticket to both the glass-bottom and to sea the observatory (and ITT can save you a bit more, especially if you are a club member). Plus for 100 yen, you can buy some food to throw to the fish which adds to the experience. The reef is beautiful and there were a ton of fish to see. Since the boats run every 20 minutes, you can go anytime and they are covered so you can even enjoy the ride in the rain. The observatory is rather small and cramped, but far more fun for kids than the boat ride which is good for both kids and adults. The best part is that through two of the portholes they have sea anemones set up nice and close with clown fish living in them doing their thing. Very cool to see. All in all, a beautiful area with nice beaches, nice hotels, lots of restaurants, and a couple fun ocean adventures. Would definitely recommend for a simple day-trip.

    Alex and Colleen
    Reply
  • April 24, 2011

    A long drive and a bit expensive, but worth it if you’re already heading up north. (We stopped on our way to Okuma) My daughter loved looking out the little windows at the fish. I don’t recall seeing anywhere to eat on site, but if you’re not a picky eater you should be able to find plenty of drive thru restaurants and convenience stores nearby on 58.

    Brianna
    Reply
  • November 10, 2010

    Is there any place to eat on site when you visit? We hate dragging our own food with us but will do it if there is no place to eat.

    Suzanne
    Reply
  • January 2, 2009

    This place is Awesome and is one of my favorite places in Okinawa if you want some more complete directions on how to get there please check out

    http://okinawa-information.com/nago/sightseeing_nago/busena_terrace_beach_resort_underwater_observatory_okinawa.htm

    Reply
  • November 19, 2008

    Heather, I dive and snorkel too but aquariums, even tiny ones, have never lost their appeal! The trip in itself sounds like a great way to spend a day. I can’t waith to check this spot out.

    Dasha Gariepy
    Reply
  • November 18, 2008

    MA I do agree the observatory would seem pretty lame to a snokler or diver but it is great for the younger set who aren’t quite ready for lessons yet. The stairs are tiny so it you are tall watch your head!

    Heather N.
    Reply
  • November 16, 2008

    JMO- we went here, but weren’t too impressed. (2000 yen for my hubby and i without itt) we love the water and do all sorts of water sports. i guess it would be better if we didn’t go scuba diving and snorkeling. it’s like being inside of a big fish tank. i thought it would be bigger or maybe you’d be able to see more. instead of this, take your money and put it towards dive lessons!! oh- and don’t go here if you’re claustrophobic. tiny stairs, tiny observatory.

    Reply
  • November 16, 2008

    Thanks for posting this Heather! This looks really interesting. My daughter and husband both love the water and everything that lives in it. So I’m pretty sure they would get a kick out of this. We will definately check this place out. Thanks again for sharing!

    Markeita
    Reply