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… Okay, I haven’t actually scoured the world for amazing aquariums. But I’d heard rumors that Osaka Aquarium was a pretty rock star aquarium .
And you know… it was!
What makes Osaka Aquarium one of the coolest 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…
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.
Four Reasons to visit Osaka Aquarium:
1. Osaka Aquarium’s got friggin’ humunga-noid 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.
2. There are live performances, where you see everything
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.
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.
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.
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.
What’s the best aquarium you’ve ever been to?
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