Excited school children gazing at sting rays at Osaka Aquarium.

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Osaka Aquarium Kaiyūkan


Kaiyūkan is among Japan's best aquariums. An 800m-plus walkway winds past displays of sea life from around the Pacific 'ring of fire': Antarctic penguins, coral-reef butterflyfish, unreasonably cute Arctic otters, Monterey Bay seals and unearthly jellyfish. Most impressive is the ginormous central tank, housing a whale shark, manta rays and thousands of other fish. Note there are also captive dolphins here, which some visitors may not appreciate; there is growing evidence that keeping cetaceans in captivity is harmful for the animals.

There are good English descriptions, but the audio guide (¥500) gives more detail. Expect lots of families and school groups.

The Osaka Kaiyu Ticket (www.kaiyukan.com/language/eng/kaiyu.html; adult/child ¥2550/1300) combines entry to the aquarium with one-day unlimited transport on city subways and discounted admission to other sites. Purchase at any subway station. Check the schedule online, as the aquarium closes for a couple of days in January and February.

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