Thrills of an ocean-side rollercoaster, games for the little ones, feeding exotic animals, checking out a shark’s smile, and catching a dolphin show. This and much more can be found on the island theme park Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise!
Opened May 8, 1993, Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is an amusement park and hotel that includes aquariums, theme park rides, shopping area, and a fair selection of restaurants. All of this is located on a 24-hectares (~59-acre) island on Yokohama Bay.
Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is spread out throughout the island but essentially, it’s made up of three sections.
- The Aqua Museum, this mixture of zoo and aquarium has 120,000 sea creatures from 700 species and one of Japan’s biggest large-scale aquariums. For an admission cost (see below) you can see many animals at play including belugas, a surprising variety of jellyfish, sea turtles, dolphins, sharks, polar bears, penguins, red pandas, and much more. This also includes shows at their aqua stadium that feature walrus, dolphins, and the belugas. Beyond the admission fee, you can also pay to get up-close, touch (some), and even feed animals like dolphins, fish, turtles, capybara, and Asian short-clawed otters (note: these may require you to book online prior to your visit). Much of the zoo area is covered outdoor area (a pyramid-like tinted-glass structure above). This whole area is very accessible thanks to a couple large elevators, and while you can’t sit close to the water, the aqua stadium wheelchair seating is at the very top giving a pretty good view of the area. Exploring the museum part in depth could take the better half of a day alone.
- Pleasure Island, a theme park made of 16 amusement park attractions and rides. Tickets for the rides can be purchased on an individual ride basis, or an unlimited day pass (see below). These include bumper cars, a swinging Viking ship, water rapids ride, carousel ride, a boat cruise, train-style tram, a rollercoaster (that goes over the water), and more. However, most are not accessible unless you can transfer to the rides easily (both the cruise and tram are wheelchair accessible).
- Shops and Restaurants; The island has many places to buy sea-life inspired souvenirs, treats, and trinkets, meaning chances are you’ll find something here to remind you of your visit. The restaurants can be found in both the central food court area as well as throughout the island area. Food includes fast foods, café snacks, full meals, or a variety of dessert delights (ice cream, crepes, churros, parfait, etc.). You can even buy raw foods and rent a BBQ grill (many are available) to have your own family cookout. Most stores are easily accessed on the first floor, with the remaining accessible by elevator.
Admission to the island itself, the shops, and restaurants is free, but other attractions have a fee.
Admission Cost for the Aqua Museum is by age/grade: Adult / High school student: 3,300-yen, Senior (65 years old and over): 2,800-yen, Elementary and junior high school students: 2,000-yen, Toddler (4 years old and over): 1,000-yen. Some extra attractions within are additional fees and require early booking (see the official website). Hours of operation are from 9:00 until 20:00.
Admission Cost for Pleasure Island varies from 100-yen to ride the tram to 1,100-yen on the rollercoaster for a single ride. However, an unlimited 1-day pass is available by age/grade: Adult / High school student: 3,200-yen, Senior (65 years old and over): 2,750-yen, Elementary and junior high school students: 2,750-yen, Toddler (4 years old and over): 1,650-yen. Hours of operation are from 10:00 until 18:30. A combo pass for both Aqua Museum and Pleasure Island is also available (see their official website).
Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is an island located in the city of Yokohama’s Kanazawa Ward area of Yokohama Bay. The closest station is Hakkeijima Station, it is a 10-minute stroll from the center of the island, and another 5-minutes to the Aqua Museum. By train, you can reach Hakkeijima Station from the heart of Tokyo in about an hour.
Note about wheelchair users leaving Hakkeijima Station: it is an un-staffed station, they have a call button to talk with an attendant, when you call be prepared to ask for a “slope” (not “ramp”) and give the name of the station you’re going to. They will ask you to wait at the train platform and a station attendant from another station come to you via train with a ramp to assist you. (Be prepared to wait over 10 minutes for the staff to come.)
The path from Hakkeijima Station over the bridge is gently sloped and has wide walkways, it’s very accessible!
The zoo portion of the Aqua Museum is surprisingly accessible, not just because the elevators but, even the Capybara and Mara enclosure that you can pass through (and right up close to the animals) has a nicely paved path perfect for a wheelchair (though watch for poo hazards 💩⚠️).
As mentioned above, many of the rides in the Pleasure Island portion of Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise require a certain amount of standing/walking ability to access. However, on less crowded days many of these rides wouldn’t take up too much for other family members to enjoy. The dock area has stairs dividing it and the buildings, if you want to go down you can find the ramp over by the Aqua Museum area.
Various seating areas can be found throughout Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise and inside many of the buildings, perfect for those who need to rest between walking.
Caution with bad weather when visiting, many of the rides/attractions may be shut down.
Service dogs (seeing-eye dogs, assistance dogs, and hearing dogs) are allowed in most areas and even pets in many dining areas.
There are wheelchair accessible toilets available on both the 1F & 4F of the Aqua Museum, they feature many assistive fixtures including: accessible sink, multiple grab bars, changing table, and bidet. Additional accessible toilets can be found throughout the Sea Paradise Island with most of the assistive fixtures.
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