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Osaka Aquarium: Ocean, You Meet Whale Shark

JAPAN | Thursday, 14 May 2009 | Views [5150] | Comments [1]

Jellyfish at the Kaiyukan.

Jellyfish at the Kaiyukan.

Well, that’s what it says on the front of the English brochure handed to me at Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. Engrish at it’s best.


During Golden Week (Japan’s spring break) one of my friends came over from Nagoya and we decided to pop over to check out the Kaiyukan (aquarium) next to Tenpozan Harbor Village off of Osakako station on the green Chuo subway line. While the timing was a bit unfortunate, as during Golden Week everyone gets a couple of days off from work so it was extremely packed, we still had a nice time. I would assume if you go there during a normal day or weekend it won’t be nearly as full of people so don’t worry on that account.


Getting to the aquarium we get herded into one of two lines: with or without tickets (we get stuck in the without as we didn’t have the forethought to buy our tickets elsewhere). After waiting over an hour(!) we finally got in to get our tickets and headed up an escalator to the top floor to slowly make our way back down while viewing massive tanks of various fish, sharks, otters, penguins, and other ocean life.


The set up of the aquarium was rather interesting – the tanks were set up after the Ring of Fire, or Circum-Pacific Volcanic Belt, so all the exhibitions came from somewhere around the Pacific ocean: Japan forests, Aleutian Islands, Monterey Bay (yay for my home state of Cali!), Gulf of Panama, Ecuador Rain Forest, Antarctica, Tasman Sea, Great Barrier Reef, Pacific Ocean, Seto Inland Sea, Kelp Forest, Coast of Chile, Cook Strait, Japan Deeps, and a jellyfish exhibit. My friend and I slowly walked around all these exhibits trying to snap photos around the throngs of people as we made our way further down the line and further towards ground level around these amazing tanks. My friend was especially charmed by the otters of Aleutian Island, the sea lions of Monterey Bay, and the dolphins of the Tasman Sea. I really liked the penguins of Antarctica, the pretty fish of the Great Barrier Reef, and the nightmarishly huge sea crabs of Japan Deeps as well as the crazy-looking jellyfish at the bottom area right before the exit.


I found the aquarium to be well set-up, with generally good English signs, and deceptively larger than when viewed from the outside. The sea tanks could have definitely been bigger, especially for the exhibits with the sharks and other large sealife, but after going to a zoo here in Japan and almost crying at how small some of the cages were, I felt that the size of the tanks weren’t too bad all things considered.


After finishing with the aquarium we went next door to the Suntory Museum to see a mini IMAX movie called Into the Deep in English and Blue Oasis (ブルーオアシス) in Japanese that lasted about 20 minutes we were ready for some lunch! Heading into the Tempozan Harbor Village we ended up at a restaurant called Fugetsudo which sold various forms of okonomiyaki and yakisoba, one of Osaka’s specialty foods. My friend got okonomiyaki that she loved and I got some amazing yakisoba. Thus fortified we traipsed around the village but seeing nothing of interest we grabbed an ice cream cone on our way back to the subway station.


Overall it was a nice, if busy, day. There were lots of people and lots of fish and a good time was had by all. Though a little bit pricey at 2000¥ (~ $20) to get in and another 200¥ (~$2) for the IMAX it was still worth it.


For more information in English, you can check out their website here:



Happy viewing!

Tags: aquarium, dolphins, fish, japan, jellyfish, kaiyukan, osaka, otters, penguin, shark




This looks fantastic.If there's any type of place that I'd pilfer maps for throughout the world, it would be the aquariums, and this is nice indeed.

  Mike Olivarez May 20, 2009 12:20 PM



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