Chances are you’ve already been to an aquarium once in your life. If you haven’t and are going to Osaka, then it will be easier to persuade you to visit the Kaiyukan Aquarium (海遊館) there, but if you have – what’s the point? Well, I think there is a point, as well as a reason to go. In fact, there are plenty of reasons!
A Great Day Out for Families Travelling with Children
Children, especially young ones, are not always the most appreciative tourists: for them taking part in the tea ceremony may be boring, walking all day around an old castle tiring, and having to eat unfamiliar food and be surrounded by an unfamiliar language – a chore. A trip to the Kaiyukan could be just the thing to keep them interested. Both children and their parents or guardians will enjoy discovering animals that they would never see at home, such as the capybara or the giant Japanese spider crabs, and many more. There are 27 tanks hosting a staggering 470 different species of wildlife, so any family I bound to find an animal they fall in love with. And they will certainly enjoy coming at feeding times of those different animals, so plan accordingly.
An Educational Trip for Nature Lovers
The aquarium doesn’t just feature and explain animals, but ecosystems as well. As it’s the largest aquarium in Japan, and one of the largest ones in the world, both the quality and the variety of wildlife that can be seen there can be a little staggering. With the Pacific Rim being the focus of the exhibition you can discover the Japanese forest, as well as the Arctic, the Ecuador Rain Forest, the very depths of the ocean, and more. Visiting it is a fantastic opportunity to learn something new, even more so as the Kaiyukan Aquarium also has a research laboratory, and as such is able to provide more scientific information for those who look for it. Any engineers might also be interested in the tanks themselves. There’s something incredibly cool about how thick and heavy the acrylic glass has to be to hold all that water in: the largest pane weighs about 10 tonnes and is slightly less than 1 metre thick. That’s a lot of glass – and it’s still crystal clear for the visitors too!
A Door Leading to Further Sightseeing in Osaka
If you want the best deal on travelling around Osaka, it’s a good idea to plan your day in advance and get the Osaka Kaiyu Ticket at the train or subway station you depart from. While slightly more expensive, the ticket not only gives you access to the Kaiyukan, but offers unlimited rides on Osaka City’s public transport on the day of your visit to the aquarium, discounts on restaurants and other attractions around the city. So by spending a little more and visiting the Kaiyukan first you could, for example, have a ride on the giant ferris wheel nearby, head to Osaka Castle after that, visit any of the participating museums, and finish the day either enjoying the view from the Umeda Sky Building or having a blast at any Jankara Karaoke place. All at discounted prices, meaning that you have more money to spend elsewhere. For a full list of participating places and prices see the Osaka Kaiyu Ticket (OSAKA海遊きっぷ) brochure.
A Refreshing Day by the Sea
Big cities can be a bit stuffy – especially during the humid Japanese summer, the last thing you want is to be trapped in a concrete jungle that soaks up the heat like a sponge and offers no relief. However, a trip to the Kaiyukan Aquarium means that you’re already in the Osaka Bay Area, where you will be greeted with a refreshing breeze coming from the sea. Whether you just go for a stroll around or pack some lunch to have a little picnic, it’s a fantastic place to take a break from the summer heat. Or maybe just knowing that there are nearly 11 tonnes of water in the entire aquarium, in all its tanks, will help you feel a little cooler. And for any European visitors or any Hans Christian Andersen fans there is an unexpected and slightly hidden surprise waiting there for you – if you’re with children, get them to look for another sea creature that may have as much in common with sea animals as with people on the shore.
Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium
1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato-ku, Osaka City
Adult (high school student and age 16 or older) : 2,300 yen
Senior (age 60 or older) : 2,000 yen
Elementary and junior high school student age 7 to 15 : 1,200 yen
Preschool child age 4 to 6 : 600 yen
Children age 3 and younger : free
10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
* Last admission is one hour before the closing time.
* The opening hours vary by season.
Please refer to the official website for the latest information.