One easily discernible sight when boating around the Osaka Port is a huge trendy building that looks more like a toy made of Lego blocks. It may not seem like it, but that building at the Tempozan Harbor is in fact Japan’s second largest aquarium, the Osaka Aquarium – Kaiyukan.
Built in 1990, the Kaiyukan comprises more than 15 tanks that hold about 620 species of marine life. Its principal theme is based on James Lovelock’s Gaia principle, which states that there exists an interaction between living organisms and its surroundings, that form a complex balancing system that regulates the conditions of life on Earth. The aquarium also emphasizes the fact that within the Pacific Ocean, the regions with the most active volcanic activity coincide with the areas where there is rich biodiversity.
Before anything else, a shark jaw photo booth – who wouldn’t want that?
As a sort of welcome sight for visitors, the trail to the Kaiyukan experience begins with the Aqua Gate – a tubular ceiling aquarium of colorful fishes.
The succeeding exhibition sections show species by location. A total of 19 sections is available for viewing, with some tanks featuring seasonal exhibits.
The Pacific Ocean tank is the largest and holds Kaiyukan’s largest species. A whale shark – the world’s largest fish – can be seen at this part of the aquarium, with other equally fascinating fishes like the hammerhead shark and giant sting ray.
The term “aquarium” may sound marine, but Kaiyukan also has land animals on some sections. To name a few, the Japan Forest section is home to a few Asian small-clawed otters and Ecuador Rain Forest has a capybara.
Arguably the most magical part of the Kaiyukan is the Floating Jellyfish section which displays a wide collection of jellyfishes of all sizes.
Kaiyukan also offers visitors the opportunity to experience interaction with live marine life forms in the Arctic, Falkland Island, and Maldives sections. Touching the small sharks and rays in Maldives is a definite must-try!
Contact number: +81-6-6576-5501
Open hours: Usually 10:00 AM ~ 8:00 PM, but sometimes 9.30 AM ~ 8.00 PM. Please check the website on the day you wish to go.
Admission fees: 2300 yen (adults), 2000 yen (seniors – 60+ years old), 1200 yen (7~15 years old), 600 yen (4~6 years old)
Note: Special package tickets that include a cruise and/or a ride to the Tempozan Ferris wheel are also available
Nearest train station: Osakako Station (Osaka Municipal Subway)
For more information visit the museum’s English website: