I have always been fascinated by the ocean and the creatures that dwell in it. This is why when I travel, I try to visit an aquarium whenever I can to cool down, relax, learn and take in the beauty of the undersea world. My trip to Osaka was no exception, especially since it is where the Osaka Aquarium “Kaiyukan” can be found.
Kaiyukan is one of Japan’s most spectacular aquariums, world-renowned for its innovative presentation. The aquarium shows the denizens of the Pacific Rim at their most vibrant and dynamic, by recreating the natural environment of their habitats.
At Kaiyukan there are over 15 large tanks, each recreating a specific region of the Pacific Rim, taking visitors on a virtual tour of the Pacific Ocean. The tanks include, “Japan Forest,” which recreates a sunlit, beautiful Japanese forest; the icy, snow-clad “Antarctica;” and the centrepiece of the aquarium, “Pacific Ocean,” a massive nine-metre deep, 34-metre long tank containing 5,400 tons of water, serving as the home of whale sharks, the largest fish species in the world.
My virtual journey around the Pacific started at the top of the aquarium where a rainforest environment greeted me, taking the spiral ramp all the way from the 8th floor to the 4th floor, I slowly left the land of terrestrial animals and found myself stepping into the sea all the way to the ocean floor, discovering marine life from a multitude of perspectives. From huge schools of fish to the wonderfully strange world of the deep sea, it was a wonderful journey where time quickly passed.
Aside from the different tanks, visitors to Kaiyukan can also learn about environmental protection and also interact with the denizens of the deep at the aquarium’s new spaces designed to offer sensory experiences of the natural environment, including touching sharks and rays.
Although I have been to other aquariums before, the Osaka Aquarium is definitely on the top of my list. With 30,000 creatures encompassing 620 species—including otters, sea lions, penguins, dolphins, whale sharks, rays, and jellyfish, to name just a few, a visit to the Kaiyukan is truly a deeply rewarding experience.