Interested in the life aquatic?

There are many places to explore the richness of marine life in and around Tokyo. From the showmanship of whales to the aimless but graceful drifting of the jellyfish, you will be amazed by the fascinating qualities of underwater creatures large and small.

If a trip to the aquarium is on your checklist, do go over this line-up and see which one fits your itinerary best.

1. Sunshine Aquarium (Tokyo)

A diver swimming with a school of fish at Sunshine Aquarium

A diver swimming with a school of fish at Sunshine Aquarium. From Flickr

Who knew a trip to the mall can be educational too?

Ikebukuro’s Sunshine Mall is packed with entertaining activities besides dining and shopping. On top of Namja Town and J-Town attractions that cater to foodies and anime lovers, this mall also showcases creative displays of animals from the different oceans of the world at the Sunshine Aquarium. Aside from their fish tank displays, this aquarium also has a small replica of the Amazon basin with fresh water fish and various species of amphibians. Head to the roof deck and you will also find an open-air square where you can meet sea lions and even penguins.

3 minute walk from Higashi-Ikebukuro Station
13 minute walk from Ikebukuro Station

Rooftop Sunshine City World Import Mart Building
3 Chome-1-3 Higashiikebukuro, Toshima, Tokyo 170-0013, Japan


2. Shinagawa Aquarium (Tokyo)

School kids on a fieldtrip at Shinagawa Aquarium

School kids on a fieldtrip at Shinagawa Aquarium. From Flickr

At Shinagawa Aquarium, you can have a real walk under water without getting wet. Its most popular and most awesome feature is its 22-meter long tunnel, which lets you view the “sea” from not your usual vantage points: to the side and by looking up. It’s the only aquarium within Tokyo to have this attraction, and it really is quite an experience to watch stingrays swim overhead and around you.

Already impressed? But wait, there’s more. Shinagawa Aquarium also features a shark tank that delivers a chilling experience of viewing sharks up close and highly entertaining live shows with the sea lions and dolphins.

8 minute walk from Omori-kaigan Station (Keihin Kyuko Line)
15 minute walk from Omori Station (JR Line)
Free shuttle bus available at Oimachi Station (Central-East exit), 1-2 services per hour 

3-2-1 Katsushima, Shinagawa, Tokyo 140-0012, Japan


3. Sumida Aquarium (Tokyo)

Sumida Aquarium’s “Animals Enjoying Water” exhibit

Sumida Aquarium’s “Animals Enjoying Water” exhibit. From Flickr

Sumida Aquarium wants you to have a “return to the sea” experience with its beautiful exhibits of different aquatic environments. Beautiful and modern, most notable of these displays is its very large indoor open-type tank for penguins and fur seals, aptly called “Animals Enjoying Water”. This exhibit space also makes use of special lighting that mimics the transitions from day to night.

Other interesting areas for visitors are the labs where visitors can take a peek into the behind the scenes work of aquarium operations. Here, visitors can have a chat with aquarium keepers and observe the daily tending needed to nurture aquatic life.

4 minute walk from Tokyo SkyTree Station
10 minute walk from Oshiage Station

5-6F Tokyo SkyTree Town Solamachi
Oshiage 1-1-2, Sumida, Tokyo 131-0045, Japan


4. Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa (Tokyo)

Ultra-modern aquarium experience with a burst of color.

Visit Maxell Aqua Park Shinagawa and experience marine life with dazzling lights and some cool beats. Step into a trance and be weirdly captivated by pulsating neons at the Jellyfish Ramble. But this is just an appetizer. The main act is at the Hana-bi Aquarium where Tokyo’s light show champs Naked Inc were commissioned to design a performance like no other – part-dolphin show and part-3D spectacle. Prepare to be amazed! 

2 minute walk from Shinagawa Station

Shinagawa Prince Hotel
4-10-30 Takanawa, Minato, Tokyo 108-8611, Japan


5. Kasai Rinkai Aquarium / Tokyo Sea Life Park (Tokyo)

Tokyo Sea Life replicates not just aquatic habitats of Tokyo, but also that of the oceans around the world – including the Polar Regions. Under its famous dome structure, a huge 2,200-ton doughnut-shaped tank, where enormous blue fin tunas swim freely, is a must-see. This facility also houses a kelp forest and one of Japan’s largest penguin exhibitions.

Above ground, the park is a seabird sanctuary introducing the park goers to a separate yet closely linked ecosystem to marine life. In addition, this aquarium is located inside Kasai Rinkai Park – a huge entertainment hub that also houses large playgrounds and a Ferris wheel for visitors, especially kids, to enjoy the whole day.

5 minute walk from Kasai-Rinkaikoen Station (JR Keiyo Line)

6-2-3 Rinkai, Edogawa, Tokyo 134-8587, Japan


6. Kamogawa Sea World (Chiba)

Killer whales at Kamogawa Sea World

Killer whales at Kamogawa Sea World. From Flickr

Kamogawa Sea World is for people who dream to see killer whales up close. This marine theme park is most famous for its hands-on interactive encounter with sea animals. Besides killer whales, Sea World features performances by dolphins, sea lions, seals, and belugas. If you’re in luck, you might just get a kiss from any one of these lovable animals.

This plus its collection of 11,000 marine creatures from 800 different species will make the 2+ hours travel time from Tokyo all worth it.

5 minute by complimentary bus from Awa-Kamogawa Station (approx. 2 hours and 15 minutes from Tokyo Station)

1464-18 Higashi-cho, Kamogawa City, Chiba 296-0041, Japan


7. Hakkeijima Sea Paradise (Kanagawa)

Spend a day (or two) at this island complex in Yokohama that boasts of a wide array of attractions. Hakkeijima Sea Paradise truly is for the water lovers as it combines an aqua museum, an umi farm, interactive spaces, and water-based rides in one place. Here you can find Japan’s first surf coaster – an amusement ride that swings over the water, places to shop and dine, and a relaxing hotel for those who wish to stay overnight and check out other popular attractions in Yokohama.

With an area of 240,000 square meters, you will surely find yourself overwhelmed with so many things to see and do!

10 minute walk from Hakkeijima Station (approx. 65 minutes from Tokyo Station)

Hakkeijima, Kanazawa, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0006, Japan


8. Enoshima Aquarium (Kanagawa)

On a clear day, you can watch Enoshima Aquarium’s seal and dolphin show with the wide open sea and Mt. Fuji as the background. Now that’s definitely something to see! Indoors, you can also find one of the world’s best displays and breeding facility of jellyfish at their Jellyfish Fantasy Hall.

Situated in Enoshima Island, the best time to schedule a trip here is during the summer when you can also squeeze in some beach time to relax or enjoy several water sports with the locals.

So… Anyone up for surfing?

3 minute walk from Katase-Enoshima Station (approx. 65 minutes from Tokyo Station)

2 chome 19-1 Katasekaigan Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa 251-0035, Japan


9. Aburatsubo Marine Park

Aburatsubo Marine Park is another place where you can have a date with marine animals while enjoying a view of Mt. Fuji in the background.

Enjoy a dolphin and seal performance inside the “Fantasium”, an all-weather indoor theater, or get goose bumps watching 3-meter long sharks swimming in the “Doughnut Sea” tank. Their Rockhopper penguins are also crowd pleasers and since they are also bred in the park, you can spot cute babies in the mix.

Lastly, the otters seem to have their own cult following and visitors are particularly thrilled to shake hands with them. Very interesting.

13 minutes by bus from Misakiguchi Station (approx. 75 minutes from Tokyo Station)

1082 Koajiro, Misakimachi, Miura City, Kanagawa 238-0025, Japan


10. Aqua World Ibaraki Prefectural Oarai Aquarium

Aqua World Ibaraki Prefectural Oarai Aquarium exhibits approximately 580 kinds. They have the most species of sharks in Japan. Another highlight of this aquarium is the water tank for sunfish. The tank is the largest in Japan. They also offer Kids Land where children can see, touch, and learn about sea creatures.

8252-3 Isohama-machi, Oarai-machi, Higashiibaraki-gun, Ibaraki Prefecture