Inside a huge dome that could house six football fields, the worlds largest artificial sea washes over the biggest indoor beach, fringed with fake palm trees, volcano, beautiful white sand.
In Ocean Dome, every hour, on the hour, the surf is always up. Mechanized parrots squawk from branches of the domes rain forest, which remain lush and tropical without rainfall or humidity. Best of all, in Ocean Dome, you can lull for hours on crushed marble pebbles without a worry about beach vendors, bugs or sun burns.
The perfectly-timed waves whip equally well-groomed surfers along in 28 C-degree, chlorinated, salt-free water to the sanitized shore where they drip-dry in Ocean Domes perfect climate, which remains a delightful 30 C degrees, day and night, 365 days each year.
This ocean dome measuring 300 by 100 meters, located about 1,500 kilo- meters south of Tokyo in Miyazaki, on Japans southernmost Kyushu Island. A heated ocean with a width of 140 meters sends 13,500 tons of salt-free water sweeping across 600 tons of polished marble chips that constitute a 85-meter long shoreline, ringed by a three-story promenade of shops.
The artificial ocean turns tubular, by Ocean Domes enormous computer, which commands 10 large vacuum pumps to start sucking in sea, then spitting out a series of cool crests. The professional surfers provide entertainment as they ride 3.5-meter waves, then lifeguards arrange squads of Japanese tourists toting boogie boards on either end of the "sea." They even point out the perfect points for catching these utterly predictable curls.
Every fifteen minutes, the volcano smokes to life. Every hour, on the hour, it spews fake flames. Like seismic chimes, these pseudo-eruptions sound a "surfs up" that signals a new level of excitement at this indoor Beach.
After a few minutes of orderly mayhem, the excitement abruptly ends. The staff clear the "ocean" and water jets jutting from the sides of a pair of "islands" squirt powerful spray to tame the rare uproar at this otherwise tranquil indoor sea. Calm quickly returns to the Ocean Dome.
At Sheraton Seagaia Resort, this indoor beach experience can be rather expensive. Admission runs about US$50 for adults, with rides running $5-10 more. Add $10 for two hours with a boogie board, or $5 for two hours of inner tube rental.