Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Delight in the diverse world below the waves at the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. The goal of this institution is to bring together the various species found around the Pacific Ocean in one place, and to care for and conserve them. Explore this high-tech aquarium and get close to playful penguins, live like an arctic seal or watch whale sharks feeding.
Enter the aquarium through the Aqua Gate, a tunnel that passes through a water tank. As you walk through it, look for cownose rays and other colorful fish gliding elegantly above you. Each tank is devoted to a specific geographic region or ecosystem. Head to the Japanese Forest section to see native species in a recreated natural environment. Marvel at small-clawed otters splashing about or giant salamanders slithering around.
Other tanks focus on different ecosystems found around the Pacific Rim. Check out California sea lions, porcupine fish from the Panama Gulf, emperor penguins from Antarctica and leaping dolphins from the Tasman Sea. The Great Barrier Reef section is particularly striking, displaying the fluorescent inhabitants of the world's largest reef. Photograph the brilliant schools of butterflyfish and damselfish.
After meeting the inhabitants of the Pacific's coastal regions, delve into its deeper waters at the ocean section. Watch the whale shark, a plankton-feeding behemoth, glide alongside carnivorous hammerheads. Schedule your visit to coincide with the hammerhead feeding; it's an interesting spectacle.
Discover the ocean floor at the Japan Deep tank, where otherworldly giant spider crabs crawl about on spiny claws. You can also learn about mysterious forms of deep-sea life, like the giant isopod. Nearby, a tank inhabited by luminescent jellyfish is as mysterious as it is beautiful.
Kids will love getting closer to the water species at the touch pool, where visitors can skim the backs of harmless sting rays as they scoot by. Feel the extreme living environment of Arctic seals on the aquarium's fourth floor, where the room temperature matches that of the Arctic.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is located in the Minato-Ku district of western Osaka, just 5 minutes’ walk from the Osakako subway station. There is an admission fee for the aquarium, which is open daily, except for some days in January and February. Check the aquarium’s official website for details.