Two marine parks in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture. Awashima Marine Park and Izu Mito Sea Paradise. Both are within minutes of each other by car. Which you choose will depend on what floats your boat! Or do what we did: visit both! Mito Sea paradise is an aquarium essentially. Whereas Awashima Marine Park is more sea park than aquarium.
Aquariums / Marine Parks Numazu
We have only visited Mito Sea Paradise twice – once before kids, once since we had two of them! We’ve been to Awashima marine park numerous times of the years – with and without children. I prefer it to Mito Sea paradise for several reasons…
Awashima Marine Park
Awashima (Awa Island) is on the North West coast of the Izu Peninsula. It is a very small island and you can easily walk the perimeter in less than an hour. Awa island is home to my toddler’s favourite aquarium, Awashima Marine Park, and an exclusive hotel that the Emperor has stayed in.
One of the reasons I prefer Awashima to Mito Sea Paradise is the overall experience. For one, its a beautiful island. Two, you have to get a boat to the island. Awashima island used to be linked to Numazu by a ropeway. The ropeway still exists, but it is not in operation. Three, I find it to better value than Mito Sea. The boat is included with the entry fee to the marine park / island. Four, the animals have a lot more space. Five, you can (or at least could in the past) get up close and personal to the animals. Six, there are play areas for kids. And finally, and for me a big plus, you can eat in a restaurant (Rikyuu) overlooking one of the dolphinarium.
The island is open to anyone who pays to enter it, but the hotel facilities are only open to paying guests. However, when we entered to inquire about costs and availability the staff were exceptionally friendly and professional. Rates, incidentally, start at 60,000 yen per person per night, supposedly worth every yen for the waterfront view of Mount Fuji, but we decided to catch the last boat back to the Peninsula!
Getting to Awashima
The only access to the island is by boat. The boat ride is included in the 1,500 yen per adult admission cost to the marine park. That’s 400 yen cheaper than the nearby Mito Sea Paradise, which frankly is not as toddler friendly and has less to offer than Awashima. Both Mito Sea Paradise and Awashima are free to children up to 3 years old, but they both charge 500 yen for parking.
You can bring buggies and strollers on to the boat without having to fold them down, but you do need to take the children out of the buggy to do this. The journey only takes a few minutes. The island is buggy (stroller) friendly too.
|Address:||186 Uchiurashigedera, Numazu, Shizuoka 410-0221|
|Hours:||9:30 – 17:00 last boat 15:30|
|Cost:||1,800 yen for an adult, 900 yen for children.|
Izu Mito Sea Paradise
I don’t want to play down Izu Mito Sea Paradise too much. There is a reason why it has so many good reviews online. But having being to several aquariums around Japan, I feel it pales in comparison to what else is out there. That being said: the shows are great at Mito Sea Paradise in Numazu City, Shizuoka.
It is worth a trip for the shows alone. They have dolphin and seal shows almost every day and they schedule quite a few so its easy to get to see at least one. (Might be changes due to the coronavirus outbreak). The aquarium is located close (by car) to a few other attractions. Normally opens 9 am to 5 pm seven days a week, but has shortened hours during the Coronavirus outbreak.
|Address:||3-1 Uchiuranagahama, Numazu, Shizuoka 410-0224|
|Hours:||9:00 to 17:00 last entry 16:00|
|Cost:||2,200 yen for an adult, 1,100 yen for children aged 4 to 12.|
A sample of other posts on Shizuoka on this blog
- Tokinosumika resort Gotemba Kogen
- Blueberry Lodge at Tokinosumika, Shizuoka (And Shaun the Sheep!)
- Peter Rabbit Lodgings in Japan
- Activity packed family beach day destination SHIMODA | SHIZUOKA