Orbi Yokohama: Appreciating Japan’s Nature

What is Orbi in Yokohama Japan?

Ever imagined a wildlife sanctuary indoors? This is one of the most interesting inventions of the Japanese that will help the younger generation appreciate the beauty of nature not only inside Japan but all over the world. It is not actually a wildlife sanctuary but a merge between a theme park and a museum. A simple museum with exhibitions transformed into a fun and enjoyable spaces for both children and adults.

It was in 2013 when the Japanese opened up their first experimental high-tech museum that featured different kinds of technology that stimulates to the visitor’s various senses. Known as the Orbi, it was opened on the 19th of August 2013 in Yokohama Japan. It is probably the first of its kind in the world and the largest as well.


By Thirteen-fri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Some sort of 4D virtual reality, the entire museum was turned into a wildlife sanctuary that features the temperature, the feel, the sound, and even the smell of real-life habitats of different animals. They have turned a simple museum into an interactive zoo. Although there are no actual animals in the Orbi, it will feel as if a person really is at the North Pole or the safari. They can take in the significant changes in temperature, the smell of the fresh air, the sound of the ocean and the like – all at the comfort of a single location. These are all through the use of a gigantic theater.

Where to find this wildlife attraction?

This particular wildlife attraction can be located on the 5th and 6th level of the MARK IS Minatomirai Shopping center which is located at the heart of Minatomirai, Yokohama in Japan. This place is located in the Kanagawa prefecture. It is opened between 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM every Mondays through Fridays. During the weekends they extend their closing time up to about 10:00 PM. By the beginning of 2016, a new location of the Orbi was opened in Osaka, Japan.

The tickets normally cost about 2,000 yen for adults. For students, it would cost about 1,700 yen for high schoolers and 1,500 yen for grade schoolers. Pre-schoolers and toddler tickets cost about 1,200 yen. Then a special discount is offered for Senior citizens at 1,500 yen.

This place can be accessed through the Minatomirai station from the Tokyo metro line or the Sakuragicho Station from the Yokohama blue lines. From the Minato Mirai station, it has a direct connection to the facility. For those getting off from the Sakuragicho station, it might take an 8-minute walk to the museum.

The good thing is that it will not take an entire day for a person to visit all the exhibits inside the facility. For those who want to go to Orbi, it might be a good idea to provide no less than three hours to enjoy the place. This is because of all the exhibitions and interactive activities that can be found inside. Staying too short will cut the experience short as well. The great thing is that there are maps in the English language for non-Japanese language speakers.

On the other hand, the entire exhibit is in Japanese. The signboards and voice overs are in this language so it might be a little difficult to enjoy due to the language barrier. Regardless, the multidimensional experience provided by the exhibits and learning stations is enough to make the visit worthwhile.

Group tours and guided trips

The place also accepts group tours and field trips which feature a guide throughout the entire complex. They offer up great discounts for large groups, especially for students and tourists. The place is more than just a museum as its primary goal is to provide educational entertainment to their visitors.

The different exhibitions and attractions of Orbi in Japan

The Orbi Café

Not all museums feature a wide space for resting. Since most of the exhibits in Orbi are interactive, a rest may be needed once in a while. The Orbi museum features an 80-seat café that serves interesting pieces on the menu. All are nature related goodies.

Orbi Exhibits

There is a total of 12 exhibition zones in the entire Orbi facility. These feature all different aspects and perspectives of the planet – the sky, the ocean, the rainforests, and even beyond the Earth. There are different areas within the indoor facility that transform into a different world when visitors walk-in. One feature known as the Earth Cruising takes the visitors into a flying simulation adventure. It shows drone footages of the planet – showing beautiful landscapes from above. Imagine flying thousands of miles in the skies.

There is also a feature known as the Frozen: Mt. Kenya which is a room whose temperature is -20 deg Celsius. There are other exhibitions which include Animalpedia, Time Capture, Earth Canvas, Basecamp, Ocean Explorer, World transporter, Mountain Gorilla, Mega Bugs, and Animal Selfie. All of these exhibits feature multi-dimensional effects.


By Thirteen-fri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Animalpedia – This is a large screen that features different animals projected in their true-to-life size. They feature both land and sea animals which change every 30 minutes.

Earthcruising – It is a simple theater that features drone captured images and footages hundreds of miles from the surface of the Earth. The entire concept of this exhibit is to simulate flying and to treat visitors as if they are birds in flight.

Wild Transportation – The entire exhibit features the life and surroundings of African elephants. Since they are the largest land animal in the world and their lives are in constant danger both due to man-made and natural factors, this exhibit was built to enhance people’s appreciation of elephants.

4D theater: Mountain Gorilla – A virtual three-dimensional space, it features a holographic image of a moving gorilla that will make visitors feel as if they are up close and personal with a real life gorilla.

Frozen: Mount Kenya – This is one visitor favorite. It teaches young kids that there can be sub zero temperatures even on the equator right at the heart of Africa. The terrifying climate of Mount Kenya can range between -15 to -20 degree Celsius.

Blue Layer – This feature takes its visitors on a walk underneath the sea.

Mega Bugs – This probably is one of the favorites of kid visitors as it features a playground or recreational space which is made just for children. All are shaped like gigantic bugs!

Theatre 23.4

This is a 23.4-degree indoor theater which is found in the Orbi theme park. It features an 8 meter tall, 40-meter wide screen – believed to be the largest in the world. This particular movie screen is the star-attraction of the entire Orbi facility. They show films on different themes. Some of the most popular shows include the Magic of Yellowstone, Ice Worlds, and The Meerkats. These are BBC Earth footages which are transformed into educational documentaries and films.

Orbi Shop

The souvenir shop is probably one of the most special places to visit in the entire museum. There are plush animals, books, and other merchandise. Some of these can be quite expensive but all the featured merchandise sure are impressive.

Why go to Japan’s Orbi?

All of the footages, exhibits, and shows which are featured in Japan’s Orbi are one of a kind as they are all multi-dimensional. They are more than simply watching a recorded footage as they are equipped with hyper realistic effects. These include recorded sounds from nature that resonate with realistic vibrations and echoes. These shows are also enhanced with aromatic effects.

One interesting aspect of the Orbi is that the “sky” of the exhibit area changes along with how the habitat changes naturally. There are also flying simulations that are made realistically for viewers – featuring wind and position changes. They are so realistic that there are a few visitors that have reported a feeling of air sickness, motion sickness or even vertigo. The good thing about this is that there are first aid areas within the facility.


By Thirteen-fri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Appreciating Orbi Earth in Japan

The Importance of Nature for the Japanese

It is known that the Japanese culture is deeply embedded on its appreciation for nature. Most of their customs and beliefs are established on the notion that man should strive to create a harmonious relationship with nature. This is evident in most of the celebrations and festivals that the Japanese have. They have cherry blossom viewing festivals, moon appreciation festivals, and even snow-viewing celebrations. These are important elements of nature which are celebrated by the Japanese in their year-worth circle of festivals.

The appreciation of the Japanese for nature is also evident in their simplistic yet natural furniture designs, their architecture, and even in their fashion. It is known that Japanese women usually feature bamboo, trees, flowers, and more in the design and patterns of their kimono. Women wear these as ornamentation in their hair. Their homes feature large courtyards which invite family members to appreciate the peacefulness and beauty of their surroundings.

The Japanese, throughout history, have also been known to create miniatures of a lot of things that feature beautiful landscapes and art. They create their own gardens, homemade ponds, and lakes. They love taking care of animals like koi and other fishes right in their backyards. In pretty much most aspects of everyday life, nature is intertwined with the Japanese culture.

On the other hand, the continuous evolution and growth of technology have changed this significantly. Although nature is still an integral part of the Japanese culture, the younger generations seem to start to forget how important it is in their traditions and history. Because of this, the older generations do their best to create a lasting relationship between their youth and nature. They find ways to

Orbi Japan Sponsors

The Orbi of Yokohama in Japan was a joint venture between the British Broadcasting Corp (BBC Earth) and Sega Live creation. It was their means of using new and advanced technology in educating young children about the beauty of nature and wildlife all over the world. It is the goal of BBC Earth and Sega to create an advanced and unique television experience by enhancing ordinary footages and turning them into amazing shows.

According to a number of sources, the narrative capabilities of BBC Earth and the advanced technology of Sega was the perfect combination to create a one-of-a-kind learning space. Through the use of the footages caught by BBC Earth correspondents from the safaris of Africa, the rainforests of Amazon to the glaciers of the poles – narratives about the Earth’s wonderful nature had been created.

Other places to visit in Yokohama

Other than this majestic and enjoyable theme park museum, there are a number of places to visit in Yokohama as well. Here are a few:


This is a small district in Yokohama Japan which is home to almost all administrative and commercial offices in the city. There are police headquarters, municipal halls, post offices, libraries and the like. It is a great place to get to know Yokohama.


By Thirteen-fri (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


Even in history, Kannai had an important role in the diplomatic affairs of Yokohama. This wore a lot of missionaries and diplomats docked to visit the Japanese people. During the earlier times, this was the center of trade and commerce in all of Yokohama. It was also the center of foreign settlement which is why it is one of the places in the city that has the most western influence.


Also located in the Naka ward of Yokohama, this place is one of the most popular places in all of the city. It has the most western influence and was the center of fashion in the city. It is a small place which is consisted of only about five blocks but its influence in Japanese fashion was significant.

There are shops, boutiques, and cafes which are open only in this place which is all uncommon in Japan during the earlier times. It is believed that Motomachi was one of the many factors that helped introduce the western culture to the Japanese. It became known as the Motomachi Shopping street in the 70s, that featured designs and apparel from many of Japan’s daring and popular fashion icons at the time.