Another fine day in Osaka and today we’re going to the aquarium! Osaka Aquarium, Kaiyukan, is the world’s largest aquarium and has been highly recommended by travel guides and locals so it was one of our top destinations. Both Piggy and I love watching Animal Planet, National Geographic, and basically anything featuring the fascinating creatures of our planet. So the aquarium was a perfect spot for us to go to. We headed out to Osaka Aquarium on a brief ride on the metro and got to our stop pretty quickly. Posters of whales, turtles, and other fishes covered the station. We definitely knew we were at the right stop. As we exited the station, we saw a group of school kids all lined up with the signature yellow hat commonly worn by little kids in Japan.
The walk to the aquarium from the station was brief and took us about 10 minutes. But before making our way to the aquarium, we desperately needed to eat lunch. Luckily, right next door to the aquarium is an entire shopping plaza along with a giant ferris wheel. The plaza was reminiscent of any shopping plaza you would see at a pier with lots of wood paneling. As we entered the food court section, we took a loop around and a Tonkatsu shop caught our eye. Really, those food display cases do a fascinating job luring in customers!
The tonkatsu here was cooked to perfection. The pork (yup, pork!) was tender and not dry whatsoever. The batter was crispy even with the sauce that my order was drenched in or the eggs that Piggy’s order was cooked with. With a full belly, we toured around the shopping plaza a little more and spotted a Crocs shop. Granted, Crocs are sold in America too, the two of us needed some better walking gear and Crocs seemed to be a good option despite their notoriously hideous styles. But to our surprise, they did have very non-Crocs-like shoes that would very easily be mistaken for another brand. You can see the ones I bought from their website here. With a new pair of kickin’ Crocs, we were ready for the aquarium.
From the outside, it’s easy to see how the Kaiyukan is the world’s largest. The building was massive but incredibly gorgeous. The two dolphins seen on the front of the building are made from chimes which shimmer as the wind blows. I knew this was going to be good. We purchased our tickets and got ready to head in. The tickets cost roughly $25 USD a person which is really worth it.
Before we entered, we also saw the Santa Maria cruise which was another attraction in the area. It looked neat but not really something worth our time so we didn’t bother with it.
One of the first things we saw when we stepped into Kaiyukan was a massive closeup of this mantis ray.
After admiring the posters, we followed the arrows pointing towards the aquarium route and was taken through a tunnel encased with an aquarium with fishes swimming above us.
The tank had a wide variety of colorful fishes and even what looked to be a small shark. After going through the tunnel, we turned the corner to see a long escalator ascending multiple floors. We rode it up to the 7th floor and proceeded into a forest-like atmosphere and spotted river otters by a waterfall.
The river otters were zipping through the water going for small fish at the bottom of the pond.
Continuing with the route through the forestry, we entered what appeared to be the indoor aquarium route where various tanks were visible. The next one we saw was a pleasant sight.
This sea otter was just floating around and scrubbing itself! It was incredibly adorable to watch and we took a few too many photos of him.
Just a few tanks over, we were stunned by what we saw next.
There were MASSIVE river fish that looked like serpents. I’m not sure what they’re called but they look to be straight out of the show “River Monsters”. Yes, that fish was bigger than those kids combined.
The route continued in a downward spiral from the 7th floor and we passed more and more tanks with many amazing critters and fishes.
The fishes in this picture were particularly eerie. All of the fishes were perfectly still in the water facing one direction. Creepy!
Around the aquarium were several posters with renditions of various sea creatures. This one is my favorite!
It’s so simple but it gets the point across. Haha.
This picture really demonstrates how the aquarium was laid out. As we descended the aquarium, we got to see the full breadth of the tanks. The one Piggy is staring out into is the main center tank that spans all 7 floors. It was truly remarkable and enchanting.
The aquarium was incredibly alluring. The lighting and the classical music humming in the background really created a fully immersive experience. The aquarium was quite large and we saw many animals from various regions of the world. They even had a rainforest section with none other than…
…a sloth! It’s as adorable in person as it is in pictures. We also happened to be in that section when the river otters were being fed.
The rainforest section was the last part of the entire route. It took us about 2 and a half hours at an easy-going pace. I definitely think it was worth it and highly recommend it to anyone. Just look at those cute animals!
We thought the aquarium would take the whole day but we finished around 4PM. So we decided to try and visit some other tourist spots and find some dinner. So we decided to go to Osaka Castle.
It was very windy at the castle area but the views were great and the sky was fairly clear. There wasn’t too much to see but it was really a nice walk and you can see many locals around that area jogging or relaxing on benches.
Once we got our fill of Osaka Castle, we were ready to fill our bellies! We headed to Osaka Station because we figured that it would have plenty of restaurants. And of course, it did.
On the 11th floor of one of the department stores sitting on top of the station, we found a ramen shop with a line. In Japan, lines = good food. So we waited.
We managed to get 2 seats within 15 minutes but our food came out even faster and we had our meals in less than 10 minutes.
The ramen felt very homey and hearty but not greasy like many of the Tonkatsu based ramens. It was delicious and satisfying and also affordable too.
After our meal, we stepped outside the department store from one of the top floors and caught a glamorous view of Osaka.
With that, we were ready to go home. But before getting home, we needed some dessert!
We picked up this strawberry cake and brought it back to our room in Shin-Imimaya and proceeded to devour it. It was light and fluffy and the perfect way to end a perfect day.