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Goin’ Japanesque!

4 Aquariums in Japan + One That’s Unique: Have Fun Indoors if You Can’t Outdoors

It would be great if you had good weather the entire time you were travelling in Japan. However, there are sure to be days when it rains or it’s too hot to spend outdoors.
For such days, we are introducing aquariums that are fun and at the same time let you stay cool.


1. Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium


This is an aquarium located within the state operated Ocean Expo Park in the north western part of Okinawa’s main island. It is a famous tourist spot of Okinawa Prefecture. Churaumi is a term in Okinawan dialect and means the beautiful, pretty or pure ocean.

A popular exhibit is that of the whale shark. They are the first aquarium to have succeeded in the long term breeding of this shark.The whale shark is also a mascot for the aquarium.The “Kuroshio Sea Tank” where the whale shark lives is so large that it goes through the 1st and 2nd levels of the aquarium. It is 35 meters (about 114 feet) long, 27 meters (about 88.5 feet) wide, 10 meters (about 32 feet) deep and holds 7,500m³ of water.

One of the largest types of manta rays, the “Nanyo Manta (manta alfredi)”.The way it swims is quite magnificent.It is only because they have this huge tank that they can keep such large manta rays. These tanks are indeed one of the largest in the world.

424 Ishikawa, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, Map
About 2 hours by car or 2-3 hours by bus from the Naha Airport to Ocean Expo Park (aquarium is located within).
By bus:
Take Yambaru Kyuko Bus directly to Ocean Expo Park.


2. Hakkeijima Sea Paradise


The Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is an amusement park that is made up of an aquarium, attractions, shopping mall, hotel and marina. Within the aquarium, there are different areas called Aqua Museum, Dolphin Fantasy, Umi Farm, and Fureai Lagoon.

This is the popular Dolphin Fantasy.  It has gained more popularity lately since a baby dolphin was born on July 16th.  You can see them up close from the tunnel shaped tank. They say that the dolphins react to the people and try to get closer to you from the other side of the glass.

This is the sunfish. Is it really a fish?! Its appearance makes you doubtful that it is a fish.  It looks so strange that you can’t help but keep looking at it.

This is the Umi Farm. The scenery is a little different from your standard aquarium. The reason is that the concept here is to feel closer to and learn about the atmosphere of the ocean through “growing” “catching” and “eating” the ocean and the living creatures in it.  What this means is that you can catch fish here, and eat it too. It makes you realize the preciousness of life and the importance of food. So it is fun and learning at the same time, a good place to take the kids.

Hakkeijima, Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture, Map


3. Kaiyukan 


The Kaiyukan is an aquarium located in Tenpozan, Minato-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka Prefecture. What is unique about this aquarium is that the exhibits are “displayed similar to the natural state”.  It is an aquarium that attracts attention not only in Japan but on a global scale as well.

The “Shin Taikan Area” which opened in 2013 is an area where the visitors can directly experience a connection with live animals. Here, you can see and touch the ocean creatures of Maldives. 

During the feeding times, you can see the cute animals eating. You can see a variety of creatures such as fish, penguins, otters, and water birds eating their meals.

This is not an ocean creature but the capybara. The trainers and special guides provide fun explanations on the nature of the animals while they feed them.

Check out the time schedule for an efficient tour.

After 5 in the evening, the Kaiyukan turns into the “night ocean”. You can see the creatures sleeping as well as their activities in the night. A little dark and also a bit romantic.

1-1-10 Kaigandori, Minato Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture, Map
From Osaka Station:
JR Kansai Main Line to Bentencho Station (7 minutes)> Osaka Municipal Subway Chuo-Line (4 minutes)> 5 minute walk from Osaka-ko Station


4. Kamogawa Seaworld


The Kamogawa Seaworld is an aquarium that is located in Kamogawa-shi, Chiba Prefecture.

They are famous for having trained killer whales, which were thought to be ferocious animals and thus, the popularity of the killer whale show. Once the show is over, the participants enter onto the ocean stadium stage and the killer whale comes to the poolside to give the participants a kiss.

At feeding time, you can see the marine animals eating their food. They’re really large, but they act so adorable when they are being fed. Look at them giving a high five!

A recent hot topic is that on July 16th 2015, they opened an interactive type display area for jelly fish.
You can enjoy the world of jellyfish, while feeling like you have become a jellyfish yourself.

1464-18 Higashi-cho, Kamogawa City, Chiba Prefecture, Map
By train (2hrs 15 mins from Tokyo Station)
JR Tokyo Station> Wakashio Express> JR Awa Kamogawa Station>Courtesy bus (10 minutes) to Kamogawa Seaworld
By Express Bus (about 2 hours from Tokyo, depends on traffic conditions)
Tokyo Station, Yaesu-guchi Exit> Aqua Line, Aqusea Express Bus (2hours)> JR Awa Kamogawa Station>Courtesy bus (10 minutes) to Kamogawa Seaworld



5. Yokohama Omoshiro Aquarium


This aquarium has a completely different concept from the 4 aquariums introduced earlier. Even the entrance has a different vibe.  We want to leave some surpises for when you actually visit, but a little sneak peak. 

An exhibit of octopus.
Along with some takoyaki (ball-shaped snack with octopus inside).

Can you see the karei (flounder) lying at the bottom?
A play on words between karei and curry… lol


The hermit crab has a house on its back.…So you see, as the name of the aquarium Omoshiro (funny) Aquarium shows, there are jokes here and there.

144 Yamashitacho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Map
From Tokyo
JR Keihin-tohoku line(45 minutes)>Ishikawa-cho>Exit Chukagai-guchi, 5 minute walk
From Yokohama
Minatomirai Line (8 minutes)> Motomachi-Chukagai Eki Station> 8 minute walk from Exit 2

How was it?
Please do enjoy the marine creatures that live in large aquariums that have been attracting attention worldwide! 

Related: Kamo Aquarium: A Magical Visit to the World’s Greatest Jellyfish Aquarium

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About the author

Kimi is a Japanese living in Tokyo. She has spent half her life living overseas in New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Her hobbies are traveling, eating, drinking and beautifying. She enjoys yoga and has a daily goal of running 6.5 km to offset her love of beer and junk food.

View all articles by Kimi