Osaka Aquarium: The largest aquarium in Japan

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I heard rumors that Osaka Aquarium was a pretty rock star aquarium . And you know… it was!

What makes Osaka Aquarium one of the largest fish tanks in the world?

Were there fish I didn’t know about? Dolphin tricks I hadn’t seen before? Okay, so I heard they had a whale shark. Was that any reason to cut my  Kyoto sightseeing short, for a day-trip to Osaka?

Once I arrived, I understood what made Osaka’s Aquarium special…

See Best things to do in Osaka

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Before sharing the highlights, I encourage you to watch my video below.

The video shows my favorite highlights and its under three minutes.

For fun, I’ve embedded “a secret egg” in this video. If you can find the hot-link, it links to a special video about my favorite sea creature and an activity I almost did last year, but had to miss at the last minute. Thus, I’m absolutely obsessed with the thought of doing it.

Reasons to visit Osaka Aquarium:

1.  Osaka Aquarium has large fish

I’m from Hawaii where our culture revolves around the ocean. But I’d never really seen enormous fish before. The closest I’ve come to gi-normous fish was in a Vietnamese village in the Mekong Delta, where a family had one giant lonely fish in a tank, that didn’t seem big enough for it to do anything but float.

But at Osaka Aquarium, there were many giant fish and a much larger aquariums. Some fish looked like they could swallow a head whole.

If you had a small child, I’d keep them away from the glass. It could be worse than a scary carnival ride.

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A tank of extraordinarily large fish top attractions to see in Osaka, what to see in Osaka, Osaka Aquarium, fish in Japan, fish tanks in Japan, what to do in Osaka, what to do in Japan Just imagine swimming in this tank.

2.  There are live performances

With most aquariums, you’re watching dolphin and whale shows from the bleachers with the hot sun beating down on you. You get to see these amazing beasts jump out of water.  But fish aren’t really meant to be out of water. Their home is the ocean, not the air.

With Osaka Aquarium, you’ll see trainers commanding sea life to perform tricks above surface and below surface. I appreciated that. Some may be disappointed that there are no high leaping tricks, but I promise you won’t miss it.

Also, during feeding time, they throw the food near the glass, so you can see your favorite species up close.

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Shows and performances IMG 1282Scuba Santa- why not? . penguin tank, osaka aquarium, penguins face off, penguins sunbathing, top attractions in osaka japanThe Penguin Tankosaka aquarium, penguins face off, penguins sunbathing, top attractions in osaka japanPenguins doing a Face-off
IMG 1180 Otter feeding time and how close they get to the glass

3.  Experience deep sea diving, without getting wet

While Osaka doesn’t make Touropia’s top 10 largest aquariums in the world, it’s aquarium houses more than just a snorkeling experience.

If you love to scuba dive, the main tank deep sea tank may trigger memories. The aquarium is 9 meters deep and filled with 5,400 tons of water. The tank descends around 4 to 5 floors (or 9 meters/30 feet deep) and you can view it at each level until you reach the bottom. It’s a phenomenal experience.  You can see many manta rays, sharks, fishes… and one giant whale shark.

See the video for a better view of the tank.

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The deep sea tank. It goes 5 levels down.  osaka aquarium, top places to visit in Japan Osaka, top aquariums, best aquariums in Asia, travel Japan, Japan sightseeing . top attractions in osaka, things to do and see in osaka, osaka aquarium, deep sea fish, Bottom of the deep sea tank
top attractions in osaka, things to do and see in osaka, osaka aquarium, deep sea fish,  A lot of sharks resting on the sea bed of the deep sea tank

4.  It’s not just a “little” sea life, but it’s choke lots!


Here we go…


I just said it again… When you find yourself collecting enough of these one-off expressions to fill your speechlessness, you know it’s pretty good.

At each turn, you’ll see large tanks packed with sea life… and I mean “packed”.

I’ve been to aquariums where there’s been many categories of  fishes and sea life, but a small amount of it. I always assume it’s due to budgets and funding.

Not a problem for Osaka.

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Four seals in this picture. But there were more.

The three most impressive showcases were the seals, mantas and Alaskan king crabs. You get to see them large, plentiful and up close. The seals were playfully enjoying their swim, while the mantas were flapping and flying everywhere in their tank. The Alaskan crabs… okay, they don’t do much, but look like big scary water spiders. But it’s like they’ve invaded the water terrain and “infestation” is the word that comes to mind.

You won’t be wasting your time waiting for the right photo op here. If you miss one, another will come along, the following moment.

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Getting There:
From Tempozan Harbor Village, it takes about tforty-five minutes to Kyoto.
By metro: Get off at Osakako station (near Tempozan Harbor Village), and walk for 5 minutes to KAIYUKAN. Near the giant ferris wheel.
Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Admission: Adult (16 and over, High school) : 2,300 yen

Where to stay in Osaka

Hen na Hotel NishiShinsaibashi

Want to visit the first robot-operated hotel in Japan? I thought this hotel was only in Tokyo and only discovered the Osaka location on my last day. With a robotic Tyrannasaurus Rex checking you in and a robot bellboy showing you your room, this is a cool concept hotel Id love to go back and experience! Check out their photos!

Capsule Astii Dotonbori Osaka

I stayed at Capsule Astii Dotonbori Osaka in the heart of Dotonbori . Located across the main Dotonbori food street, this capsule hotel was my favorite of Osaka.  It was a wonderful stay with full amenities, a free gift bag per day. Each capsule gets a concierge mobile device for calls and trip research.  Book Capsule Astii Dotonbori Osaka here. Check out my video in the playlist below or click here.

Hotel A-Style Shinsaibashi

Hotel A-style  is an all female capsule hotel perched above a 7 Eleven, it is 3 minutes from the subway. Capsule rooms are standard size to many capsule hotels with exception, locker and luggage can feel cramped. It gets quite busy and a little unkept with not much room to put your personals. After my perfect female capsule hotel experience in Akhihabara, this hotel came into 3rd or 4th place as a capsule hotel.


Getting Around in Osaka

Metro & Bus

For Osaka, I got an ICOCA card and used it for Nara and Kyoto also. You can use it in the Kansai region. The  PASMO and SUICA card (good for all trains and buses) work also. I also combined my ICOCA card with a 2 day Osaka Amazing pass card. This covers 30+ attractions and an unlimited use of metros, tramways and buses.

Getting a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass)

JR Pass Options are sold in 7 day, 14 day and 21 day categories, and it includes all JR trains the monorail to/from Haneda airport,  highway buses and more!   Rates start at 28,000 yen and you must pre-purchase your passes in advance.

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  • Wow. Looks awesome. I’m a little bit gutted now I’ve passed through Osaka and not seen this. To my credit though that was before I started diving.

    Oh well – ANOTHER reason to go back to Japan. ANOTHER place I need to go to. You’re pretty much planning my next trip over there with your posts you know!?

    • @Chris: ha ha. Thanks, glad I could offer some ideas. But wish I stayed longer in Osaka. People say such nice things about it… unfortunately, they don’t necessarily tell me specifically, the cool things they did. Next time will require more exploration time from me 😉

  • Sweet! Another reason to visit Japan for me!! I think i’ll have to make it a point to visit every whale shark in captivity 🙂

  • Wow, this place is absolutely awesome, so huge and there is so much to explore. I always thought aquariums are for kids, but I would go there and would probably stay there all day.

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