Your family is coming to visit you in Japan. They don’t speak any Japanese, and they’re not that interested in high Japanese culture (theatre, museums etc.), so where do you take them?
I found myself in this situation two years ago when my brother and sister came to visit me in Japan on my year abroad. More recently, my partner and I were going to Osaka together for the first time. I needed to find something that would be impressive, inexpensive and fun to do.
Enter the Osaka Kaiyukan, one of the biggest aquariums in the world.
It’s easy to get to, absolutely huge, and a super fun to spend the day. I mean, who wouldn’t be charmed by the cuteness of huddling penguins, the laziness of the big fat seals, the clever dolphins, or the big ass whales!
There are also giant crabs bigger than a fully grown man, adorable capybara (what they’re doing in an aquarium is beyond me, but who cares) and mesmerising glowing jellyfish. What’s not to love?
As you walk around, you’ll probably hear the word ‘kawaii‘ approximately 400 million times, or ‘dekai!’ exclaimed every other step as you walk around the enormous central tank.
The variety of things to see is well worth the visit. I would recommend carving out at least half a day to explore the aquarium, and the shopping town built next to it.
The last time I went, we grabbed a bargain by getting the ‘Osaka Kaiyu Ticket’ which combines the price of entrance with unlimited travel around Osaka on the subway, bus, and trams.
Before you leave, you can have a go at touching sharks with your hands (seriously). Anyone can have a go (Japanese people are very trusting – this kind of thing would not work in London zoo) and they assured us it’s perfectly safe.
There’s so much to see that you’ll probably run out of energy walking around the place before you get bored. Even though the place is huge, it gets pretty busy during holiday times, so if you can help it, the best time to go is on a weekday during school time.
Have you every been to the Osaka Kaiyukan before? Let me know what you think!