The Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) is one of Japan’s most delightful aquariums. Located a short walk away from the Osakako Station on the Chuo subway line, it is one of those places worth spending on a gloomy or rainy day, which was the case for us on our day trip to the Osaka Aquarium. Entry is 2300 yen, but I recommend purchasing a special ticket for 3000 yen that combines both entry to the aquarium and a ride on the aquarium’s ferris wheel if you’re spending the day at the aquarium. Once you enter the aquarium there will be 500 yen lockers for you to leave your belongings. Remember to take everything you need with you for the day as it will cost another 500 yen just to retrieve a few things. I learnt this the hard way when I left my spare batteries in my coat and had my camera run out of batteries a few minutes into the tour. The staff are extremely helpful though and they led me through all these backstage rooms to the lockers again in five minutes and got me back to my family after I had retrieved my items.
Now the inside of the aquarium is absolutely stunning. I can’t believe the amount of sea life that belonged in these 15 tanks, especially their biggest attraction in the Pacific Ocean tank – the whale shark. Being the biggest fish in the world, by lens wasn’t wide enough to capture the entire whale shark, but I did get this nice silhouetted picture of a mother carrying her daughter with the whale shark in the background. There were also a lot of ugly looking fishes that looked like they belonged in the deep sea – just to recap, everything from the deep sea is quite ugly.
There are also quite a fair share of land/water animals. It was also my first time seeing my favourite animal, the Capybara. I had to take a snap of this Capybara to show my friend who runs this hilarious tumblr blog: Animals Sitting On Capybaras.
While we were walking around the Kaiyukan, my sister noticed a young boy trying to talk to a seal. He started dancing around and yelling out a name that he had made up for the seal. Soon enough the seal noticed the boy and the two began dancing together, one move after another. Then in the heat of their revelry, the two locked eyes for a moment as the boy pressed his face against the glass. It was almost as if they were exchanging words through one look. It was certainly one of the most beautiful moments of my life to witness that relationship between earth and sea unravel. I entered this photo into the PDN’s faces competition so I hope this image is shared to a wider community!
The jellyfish section of the tour is also extremely atmospheric. You could spend hours watching them float around.
There is usually a lot of controversy surrounding the treatment of animals in aquariums and zoos, but it seems like the Kaiyukan really treats their animals well. I witnessed the trainers with each of the animals in some tanks. They communicated with the animals with such grace and understanding and you could see the animals reciprocating their commands. Some of the animals are too well trained though. There was this section in the aquarium where you could lie on the floor and see through this glass window placed on the roof. Three seals would circle the depths and rise to the surface for a photo. This one seal kept on giving me seedy looks that penetrated my soul. After I left we found a room where stingrays would come up to you for a petting. They still had their stingers in though so I had to convince my frightened girlfriend to give one a pet.
After we left the Kaiyukan we went on the ferris wheel to see the sunset. Again, I highly recommend it if you’re planning to spend the day at the aquarium as you can leave around sunset and grab some nice snaps of the sun setting behind the Osaka Aquarium. You can also catch some buskers performing magic or music outside the aquarium. I just love the Osaka Aquarium, it’s so magical!