The Osaka Aquarium, also known simply as the Kaiyukan, is one of the largest aquariums in the world, and so naturally warranted a visit during my recent trip to Japan’s Kansai region. It is located within a few minutes walk of Osakako station, at the Osaka portlands and next to Tempozan Harbor Village. The building is hard to miss – just look for the huge Tempozan Ferris Wheel and you’re there. The aquarium is very popular with families and local school trips. During my visit there numerous groups of (well-behaved) Japanese school children marveling at the sights.
The aquarium is a 7-storey structure with various exhibits centered around a large central tank that spans the entire height of the building. You start the tour on the top floor and make your way down the building in a spiral around the central tank. Focus is on the aquatic habitats of the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” area, from California’s Monterey to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Japan’s deep sea trenches. The large center tank is an impressive display of aquatic life, which includes all manner of rays, large fish, and the star attraction: a huge whale shark.