Aquarium and Amusement Park all in one – there is enough going on at Hakkeijima Sea Paradise to spend an entire day – it is like a smaller version of Sea World. We went on a Monday in June and the park was almost empty. There were no lines for rides! Rides are based on height, with some rides open to all and others limited to 110, 120, and 130 cm and above. The two biggest rides were a nice steel roller coaster and a huge stomach dropping free fall, but there were also plenty of rides for little ones like the teacups. You can either pay for rides individually or purchase an all-in-one pass that includes the aquariums and rides. They advertise three aquariums, but there was really one big building (aqua museum) that has your normal aquarium fish plus a polar bear, walruses, and a sea life show. Then, there are two smaller attractions, an indoor tunnel where dolphins swim around you called Dolphin Paradise, and an outdoor area with pools where you can touch the dolphins, beluga whales, starfish, etc called Fureal Lagoon. Kids can get wet and dirty wading in fabricated tidal pools. In addition, there is a nice boardwalk where you can enjoy watching boats, wake boarders, and even beach goers across the bay. One area of the park has fishing with poles to rent. There are many dining options, from nice sit down restaurants to food courts and take out. There was no problem with bringing in our own food and drink either.
From the parking lot it is about 250 meters to the bridge, which you then must cross to get to the entrance. Stroller rental was ¥500 and located on the parking lot side of the bridge at the info center. Cross the bridge and go down the steps to find the ticket booths. There are multiple options for buying tickets – the all-inclusive for adults in the summer is ¥4900, ¥3500 for school children, and ¥2000 for kids over age 4. Costs run a few hundred yen per person cheaper in the winter. You can also buy tickets just for the aquariums or just for the rides. You can actually roam the grounds without a ticket, it is a well-kept, spacious island. Sea Paradise coordinates: 35.338129, 139.646484.
DIRECTIONS: Follow 16 as if you are going to Yokosuka. You will pay ¥250 at the Hachioji bypass. Past the Grandberry Mall you will get on the Yokosuka Yokohoma Road. Take Exit 4-1 to the left and pay the ¥800 exit toll. You won’t go far, then exit 4-3 to the left. Follow signs to go right on 357 (there will be a business there called NAPS at the correct turn). Sea Paradise is directly in front of you, someone will direct you to turn left to parking, which costs ¥1000. In terrible traffic it took us almost 3 hours to get there, but that seemed unusual. It only took 2 hours to get back. – Amanda Martin, June 2013, Photo by Cameron Hill, June 2013.