Motobu Genkimura (Motobu Wellness Village)

Motobu Dolphin Jump
Motobu Dolphin Jump

CONTRIBUTED BY AMY MADDOCKS

We swam with dolphins! Literally! This last weekend my family and I were blessed with the opportunity to join in a program where we were able to interact with dolphins, including swimming with them and having them do tricks around us. All of this was done at a facility called Motobu Genkimura. You can visit their website here. However, the website has only partial English so you’ll have to decipher what they have to offer with the pictures and such.

Basically, this location is an enhancement program that promotes culture and traditions of sea animals. You can enjoy canoeing, sailing, jet skis, pottery, crafts, interaction with sea life, and much more. They offer three different programs: the Marine Program, Dolphin Program, and Cultural Exchange Program. We participated in the Dolphin Program, and it is an experience we will never forget.

After signing a disclaimer, we were able to change into our swimming suits and put our belongings in a locker (the locker requires a 100 Yen coin, but you get it back when you return the key). The front staff keeps your key for you—just don’t forget the number! We were then given life jackets and taken to wading pools where we were able to pick up different forms of sea life and learn about them.

Motobu dolphin touch
Motobu dolphin touch

After going over the rules of the dolphin program, we were led out to where they keep the dolphins. For 90 minutes we were able to touch the dolphins, do tricks with them, learn about them, and finally, swim around the pool with them while holding onto their fin. We even got to see a baby dolphin that was only 4 days old. It was truly an amazing opportunity!

Motobu Dolphin Feed
Motobu Dolphin Feed
Motobu Dolphin Happy
Motobu Dolphin Happy

Some of the staff speaks English, so communication was not a problem. Reservations are recommended due to the language barrier, so make sure you call in advance. Their locker rooms are very nice, and include free showers and towels to use after you’ve been in the water. They also have a small restaurant or you can bring a lunch and eat on the patio overlooking the dolphin tanks.

Prices range from 1000 to 13,000 Yen depending on what you want to experience. The dolphin program is the most expensive, but so worth it! Also, I did see signs that say to call the day of your trip to make sure the sea conditions and dolphin conditions are optimal. They sometimes cancel programs if it’s not safe for the people or animals. They do have age/height requirements, so make sure to ask about that when you call for more info. For example, only kids 7 years and older (and 4 feet and higher) can participate in the Dolphin Program.

Bring a waterproof camera—there are LOTS of picture opportunities!

Motobu Dolphin Ride
Motobu Dolphin Ride

Phone: 0980-51-7878

Hours: 0800-1800

Directions:  Travel going north as if you are going to the Aquarium. Just before you get to the aquarium, while traveling on the 449, take a left onto the 114. Travel around 400 meters and you’ll see a sign for the park to turn left. This road takes you to the parking lot with plenty of signs pointing the way.

19 COMMENTS

  1. The English vocabulary of the staff is very limited, but they are very cheerful and do the best they can to help.

    It was also not mentioned in this that there is a photographer taking pictures the entire time, and the photos are available to purchase after. My husband and I got a CD of all the pictures of us that were taken for about 5,000 yen, though you could buy prints for more or less than that depending on how many you wanted. At the Renaissance, the photos are much more expensive, and you get a lot less of them.

    My husband and I recently did this and had a good time. I want to emphasize that the dolphins are treated very well, and I saw absolutely no signs of abuse or of them being mistreated or forced into doing anything they didn’t want to do. All of the trainers were very sweet and positive toward the dolphins the entire time, and they’re given vitamins, etc. and there were definitely live fish in their swimming areas due to the fact that their pens are directly connected to the ocean. The dolphins not currently being interacted with were playing with toys (there were an array of different toys and balls provided for them to play with in their free time) of their own will or each other (I even snapped some pictures), and seemed happy and content.

    Dolphins as slaves? That seems like a silly comparison to me. Domesticated animals like dogs are asked to work for their food all the time. You ask your children to do chores don’t you? Does that make them slaves?

    • You have clearly never researched where these dolphins come from. A dolphin doesn’t have that smile on their face because they’re happy; that’s just how they look. And “seemed happy and content” does not make it so. Captivity is cruel, especially when these are animals that are literally ripped from their homes and then have their family pods slaughtered. Education is key.

  2. You can voice an opionion without having to disrespect people that have not thought their actions through. When you do this, it makes you just as ignorant.

  3. Ok people this is totally supporting slavery not to mention the slaughter in Taiji, Japan that takes place from September thru March each year.. For every 1 dolphin sold into slavery 1000 are brutally murdered… If you want to swim with a FREE dolphin hire a boat, put on your gear and get into the ocean… Not a pen where these beauties are forced to eat DEAD FISH and taught to entertain a stupid human who doesn’t have the IQ to entertain themselves. This is awful.. We never sanctioned slavery on humans or paid to watch them suffer why must we do it with cetaceans ??

  4. Can someone post more specific directions leaving from Kadena AB. I’m one of those people who gets lost easily. I would love to do this with my daughter before she leaves on 5 Jan 13. Thanks.

  5. I went with 2 buddies last weekend. We had a lot of fun, though it did seem a little short. I definitely wouldn’t mind doing it again sometime down the road.

    • Great for you Audrey… I wish more people would watch The Cove and Blackfish…. This behavior in humans is ludicrous …

  6. Looks incredible! We’ve been here for 3 years and have never heard of this place. Thanks for posting…maybe I can try it before we PCS!

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