Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium

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Osaka, Japan - 06-6576-5501

Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
533 reviews
Well arranged aquarium - but the animals are nevertheless captive here Oct 09, 2013
We had not particularly planned to visit an aquarium while in Japan but Andrew, our tour leader, enthused about this one so much that we decided to give it a try, and we were on the whole glad that we had. It presents the marine life of the Pacific Rim in a really effective way. At its heart is a huge tank with whale sharks, smaller hammerheads, rays and many other Pacific fish. You wind you way down a gentle spiral around this tank with multiple opportunities to enjoy watching the fish at all levels, from near the surface to the ‘ocean" depths. The experience is enhanced by the carefully chosen background music, and seats are provided at intervals so you can sit and admire the spectacle.

But there are other delights too. We loved the river otters and their marine cousins, the rainforest fish and monkeys scrambling overhead, and the huge leggy king crabs. Among other highlights for me were the penguins, who have the experience of gently artificial snow drifting down on their heads, though I felt their tank area was a bit small. And the beautifully lit jellyfish drifting against another well-chosen background track were mesmerising.

The creatures are housed according to the area of the Pacific Rim where they live, so you will visit, for instance, the Gulf of Panama, Monterey Bay and the Tasman Sea. An excellent balance is struck between education and entertainment, with touch tanks for children (and adults!), informative displays about climate change and so on.

Having said all this, I have to acknowledge that these beautiful creatures are captives here and their lives would be better lived in the open seas where they belong. In particular, the main tank, while huge, is still a very confining space for the larger fish that are kept there. It is wonderful in some ways for people who will never get the chance to dive or snorkel to see and appreciate these magnificent fish, but the animals pay a high price for our education and entertainment.

This is not a cheap outing. Entry for adults is 2,300¥ (October 2013 prices), though Andrew managed to wangle us the group discount (2,000¥ each) even though we were one person short of the 15 required! Seniors pay 2,000¥ and children 1,200¥ (school age) or 600¥ (pre-school). There are however various multi-attraction tickets available if you're planning on doing more in this part of town. With more time we would have loved to have ridden the giant Ferris wheel, and could have got a ticket for both for 2,900¥.

The aquarium has, of course, a gift shop, and a cafe which we didn't check out. There are lockers usefully available at the entrance - I paid 200¥ to leave my heavy bag in one of the smaller ones (larger ones cost 300¥ or 500¥).
Otter at Osaka Aquarium
Gentoo penguin, Osaka Aquarium
Penguins at Osaka Aquarium
Penguins at Osaka Aquarium
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pieceofcake pieceofc…
17 reviews
Good for kids and adult! Feb 26, 2012
Not to be missed if you love aqua life. I don't know why but these fish and mammal are so cute in Japan! The unique part of this aquarium is - you can touch them! for free! Don't leave when you finish your walk, there is a area for you to touch them in the shallow aquarium. You can touch a baby shark or baby Aetobatus! To me it's wonderful experience to feel this beautiful creatures and it's so enjoyable to see the cute kids to touch the fish and feel scared but they enjoy it so much!
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
sarahsan sarahsan
403 reviews
Overrated Jul 03, 2010
Osaka Aquarium (Kaiyukan) is located in Tempozan Harbor Village in the Osaka Bay area, right next to the Suntory Museum. Kaiyukan literally means "playing in the Sea Pavilion". It is only a five minutes walk from Osakako Station on the Chūō subway line. When exiting from the subway station look for the enormous ferries wheel. There are no signs pointing you to the aquarium.

Osaka Aquarium consists of 15 water tanks spiraling around a huge tank holding 11.000 tons of water (5.400 cubic meters). The 15 tanks represent a specific region of the Pacific Rim. The central tank, representing the Pacific Ocean, is nine meters deep and the home of two whale sharks.

After you have entered the aquarium you start your visit through a tunnel-shaped tank with sharks, rays etc, before you ascend the escalator to the 8th floor. Then you slowly spiral down floor by floor around the main tank. Some of the sighs are in English, but far from all.

The way Osaka Aquarium is built is pretty neat, but I was a bit disappointed. I have had the pleasure of visiting some fantastic aquariums around the world (the one in Monaco is beyond words) and being called the greatest aquarium in Japan and one of the biggest in the world, it did not meet my expectations. The Pacific theme is good and presented well, but the highlight is limited to two whale sharks and some big manta rays. Other than that it is just a few fish, seals and penguins. There are some cool giant spider crabs and a great jellyfish section on the way out though. Even though the center tank is huge I found it very disturbing to watch the whale sharks. Having swam with them in the wild it was quite upsetting to see these huge creatures swimming around and around in a (to them) way too small tank. May be the largest living fish species should not be in an aquarium!

The Osaka Aquarium is very busy and overfilled with children. And with children the tanks get full of fingerprints very early. I have no problem with that, but to see how dirty the tanks were on the inside surprised me. When they take so little care of the cleaning, it makes me wonder how well they take care of the animals!

If you are in the area I guess it´s worth a visit, but I would not go out of my way to do it. It is also a bit pricy.


¥2000 Adults

¥ 900 Children (7-15 years)

¥ 400 Children (4-6 years)

Opening hours:

Daily 10:00 - 20:00 (last entry 19:00)
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portia portia
216 reviews
Whale sharks are a big attraction May 20, 2009
For 2400 yen, you can get a Kaiyu Pass for the day at the Osaka tourist offices (e.g. one in the Namba station) which includes the admission to the aquarium (2000 Yen separately) and unlimited subway in Osaka for the day. The aquarium is in Osaka harbor, a very nice big building, colorfully decorated, there are other sights to see near it too, such as the Suntory Museum and its IMAX theatre. The biggest attraction at this aquarium are the whale sharks. I don't know if any other aquariums in the world had whale sharks, but this is the first time I saw them in person. These were 2 relatively small ones only more than 4 meters long, but they were definitely the biggest fish in the tank! It was very relaxing to watch them swim by, with their school of smaller fish friends.

The aquarium had many tanks, devoted to different areas of the Pacific Rim. the ring of fire. So there is a lot to see. The dolphins were fun to watch too, as were the penguins. Plan to stay about 2 hours at the aquarium.
head of the whale shark
whale shark and a friend swim toge…
people watching whale sharks
whale shark and lots of friends sw…
Eric says:
Wow that's crazy -- the tanks must be huge to contain the whale sharks. Kind of sad that they are confined to a tank though =(
Posted on: Jun 24, 2009

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