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Motobu Town Office
Motobu Town Office
Flag of Motobu
Official seal of Motobu
Location of Motobu in Okinawa Prefecture
Location of Motobu in Okinawa Prefecture
Motobu is located in Japan
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 26°39′29″N 127°53′53″E / 26.65806°N 127.89806°E / 26.65806; 127.89806
PrefectureOkinawa Prefecture
 • Total54.30 km2 (20.97 sq mi)
 (October 1, 2016)
 • Total13,441
 • Density250/km2 (640/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (JST)
City hall address5 Aza Higashi, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun
905-0292 Japanese)
BirdRyūkyū scops owl
ButterflyOrange oakleaf, great nawab
TreeFukugi (Garcinia subelliptica)
and Sakura

Motobu (本部町, Motobu-chō, Kunigami and Okinawan: Mutubu) is a town located in Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. As of October 2016, the town has an estimated population of 13,441 and a density of 250 persons per km2.[1] The total area is 54.30 square kilometres (20.97 sq mi).[2]

Several islands can be accessed from Motobu, namely the small islands of Sesoko (by bridge) and Minna-jima (by ferry). Both islands are incorporated as part of the Town of Motobu. Ferry service also runs from Motobu Port to Ie-jima. Motobu is served by three large supermarkets and eight individual schools from elementary to high school levels.

Like many towns in Okinawa, Motobu is composed of what were formerly several smaller and independent villages. In addition to Motobu proper other included districts are Sesoko, Kamimotobu, Sakimotobu and Izumi.

The well-known Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located in Motobu. Other notable sites include the remains of Nakijin Castle, as well as several cafes.


Minnajima Beach on the island of Minnajima in Motobu

The town of Motobu sits on the northern part of Okinawa Island. The town occupies the eastern part of the Motobu Peninsula as well as two islands: Minnajima and Sesokojima. Motobu is bordered by Nago to the south, Nakijin to the east, and by the East China Sea to the west.[2]

The Minna River (6.5 kilometres (4.0 mi)) runs from the center of the Motobu Peninsula through the town and empties into the East China Sea at the small Toguchi Bay. Coral around the entrance of the bay was removed to create a natural shipping channel into the bay, and the town center is concentrated in this area.[3]

There are beaches with white sand and clear water such as Minnajima Beach.


The Omoro Botanical Garden and Tropical & Subtropical Arboretum are located in the northern portion of this town.


Motobu magiri covered the area of the present-day town. The magiri, a type of regional administrative district, were abolished under Imperial Edict 46 in 1907, and the Town of Motobu was incorporated in 1908.[2]

Ocean Expo 1975

Main article: Expo '75

In 1975, the World Exposition was held in Motobu, with a focus on the world's oceans. After the expo concluded, Ocean Expo Park was built on the site. Ocean Expo Park is the site of the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium as well as other exhibits highlighting the Okinawa Island and its culture.

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Main article: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is located within the Ocean Expo Commemorative National Government Park. The aquarium consists of four floors, with tanks containing deep sea creatures, sharks, coral and tropical fish. The aquarium sits on 19,000 square metres (200,000 sq ft) of land, with a total of 77 tanks containing 10,000 cubic metres (350,000 cu ft) of water. The main tank, called the Kuroshio Sea, holds 7,500 cubic metres (1,981,000 US gal) of water and features an acrylic glass panel measuring 8.2 by 22.5 metres (27 by 74 ft) with a thickness of 60 centimetres (24 in). The aquarium was the world's largest until the construction of the Georgia Aquarium in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. The aquarium additionally holds 80 species of coral. The Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium is one of only a few aquariums that keeps and attempts to breed whale sharks in captivity.[4][5]


Motobu High School, a public high school operated by the Okinawa Prefectural Board of Education, serves the area.

Motobu's public elementary and junior high schools are run under the guidance of the Motobu Board of Education located in Ohama Town, central Motobu. The Board also serves as a meeting place, art exhibit, English class, and a venue for other various town events.

Public elementary and junior high schools are:[6]

Former schools:

Private schools:


Motobu is located between the towns of Nakajin and Nago and can be reached by either route 449 or 84.


There are plans to expand the pier in Motobu, and deepen the port. As ships of only up to 20,000 tons can dock at the port, only two cruise ships visited in 2014 and one in 2015. The expansion of the pier would allow larger cruise ships, especially carrying Chinese tourists, to dock. Berths at Naha port are limited and docking requests have been rejected for this reason.[10]

Notable residents


  1. ^ 人口と世帯数 [Population and Households] (in Japanese). Motobu, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan: Town of Motobu. 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  2. ^ a b c "本部町" [Motobu]. Nihon Rekishi Chimei Taikei (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 173191044. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  3. ^ "満名川" [Minna River]. Nihon Rekishi Chimei Taikei (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2013. OCLC 173191044. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  4. ^ "Amazing Engineering: the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium". Wayfaring Travel Guide. 21 June 2007. Archived from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  5. ^ "Welcome to Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium". Motobu, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Retrieved 2013-04-19.
  6. ^ a b c d e "学校(保・幼・小・中)・教育". Motobu. Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  7. ^ "学校(保・幼・小・中)・教育". Motobu. Archived from the original on 2016-06-07. Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  8. ^ "School Network". Motobu. Archived from the original on 2001-03-05. Retrieved 2022-12-18.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Extended pier to draw cruise ships to northern Okinawa May 17, 2016
  11. ^ Keyso, Ruth Ann (2000). "3. Fumiko Nakamura". Women of Okinawa: Nine Voices from a Garrison Island. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. pp. 33–53. ISBN 978-0-8014-8665-4. – via ASP: Women and Social Movements (subscription required)