Day 8 — A rainy day at the Osaka Aquarium

Bad weather continued to haunt us on Friday, so we decided to have an easy going day to recuperate from yesterday’s day trip to Himeji Castle.

The rain continued to lash Osaka, which meant that our planned activities were limited to indoor options. We made plans to check out the Osaka Aquarium which is also known as the Kaiyukan.

We wanted a break from combini food, so we found a cheap Sushi Train restaurant in Osaka Station which was pretty good (although it was no Harasho!). Seriously, the quality of the food in Japan is incredible at all ends of the price spectrum.

The Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world, with 27 tanks in 16 exhibits containing local fauna from the Ring of Fire region of the Pacific Ocean.

The star of the Osaka Aquarium is the solitary whale shark who lives in the Pacific Ocean tank, the biggest fishbowl in the Kaiyukan.

The Pacific Ocean tank was massive, spanning several floors and housed a multitude of manta rays, sharks and the biggest fish in the world — the whale shark.

The whale shark was immense. It was surreal, watching one of nature’s most majestic creatures swim lazily around the tank.

It had plenty of space to move around but I did feel quite sad for it, that it was alone all day, confined in an acrylic box.

I felt rather conflicted - I was amazed and awestruck to observe a real life whale shark, but at the same time pretty sympathetic that it wasn’t in its natural habitat. I get this feeling all the time, especially in zoos.

My most vivid memory of Kaiyukan is just sitting on the floor next to the main tank and watching the inhabitants do their thing. I loved the hammerhead sharks and graceful manta rays gliding around like oversized sea kites with smiley faces on their underside.

The aquarium’s other attractions were equally. As impressive. We caught the capybara during its feeding time, where it was exceptionally well behaved and tamed. It seemed more like a dog than the world’s largest rodent.

Getting to see Arapaimas, the largest freshwater fish in the world is always a treat.

There was a tall tank filled with nothing but cuttlefish and seaweed. We marvelled as the cuttlefish’s skin changed colour, as it approached the seaweed.

There was a small but well stocked jellyfish exhibit, with jellyfish of all sizes and shapes, eerily drifting around like venomous sea spirits.

This Octopus put on quite a show for us, crawling up to the glass and exposing its beak as we walked pass, which was a crazy sight.

Last but not least, one of the cutest exhibits, the Arctic enclosure near the end of our aquarium journey. There, we got to see the cutest ringed seals ever. They were round, fat and content with just laying on the ice trying to nap.

My second favourite animal after the whale shark was this cute little ringed seal here who was just bopping around the water like a buoy. So cute that I couldn’t even.

At the end, there was a shallow pool where you could touch some sharks and rays. The rays were a lot slimmer than I expected!

Random picture of a cherry blossom flavoured soft serve that we had at the Osaka Aquarium! It tasted interesting.

The Osaka Aquarium was a fun excursion, especially if you enjoy and appreciate marine life. The whale shark alone is worth the price of admission on its own.

If you’re ever in Osaka, make sure you give the Kaiyukan a visit!

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