Osaka Kaiyukan! Come close enough to touch with some of the fiercest marine wildlife!  

8 minutes away from the Osaka harbor is one of the largest aquariums in the world, the Kaiyukan. With 8 floors of all shapes, colors and sizes of marine animals, the Kaiyukan receives an annual flow of more than 2 million visitors at its facilities. There are daily feeding showings of many inhabitants in the aquarium so be sure to check the schedule before going!

Upon entering the aquarium, you immediately walk into the underwater tunnel: aqua gate, where you can immerse yourself in the feeling of being submerged in the water among the swimming ocean dwellers and revel in their beauty and grace, without the undesirable drawbacks such as being bitten or drowning.

Among Kaiyukan’s many populates, one of the most well known species of residence here is the whale shark. Watching this enormous being swimming in its 9 meter tall tank really makes you appreciate and realize (if you didn’t already before) how small we really are.

This time when I went, I was just in time to make it for the feeding show of the whale shark. As per its name, the whale shark feeds by sucking its food into its giant mouth while water is stopped by the filtration pad inside their mouths and pushed out of its body through its gills. This is a rare opportunity of seeing a whale shark not swimming, but treading in the water to stay relatively still while it’s fed.

This curious little spotted seal seem very interested by the people staring at him that he was constantly swimming in an upside down position, almost plastering his face to the glass and blinking those big, black, beady eyes as if he was the one doing the observing! He made it so easy to take his picture that you’d almost think that he was trying to pose for it~  

I also found this absolutely adorable little guy in the north pole area lodging himself against a fake rock on the side of the pool, nodding off. Have you ever seen anything more huggable?! He was just leaning there the whole time I was staring at him (don’t pretend you wouldn’t have done it if you were there), mentally “awwww”ing while fighting the urge to get in there and pinch his blubbery little cheeks~

After the overwhelming cuteness of the seal section it was time to move onto something more challenging. Here in the Maldives section of the aquarium lies the largest interactive pool in the country where you can brush your fingers against stingrays and young nurse sharks. While in the wild, stingrays and nurse sharks are known to bite or attack out of retaliation when threatened, here the animals are very used to the touch of humans. As long as you follow the guidelines provided by the nearby signs and staff, you’ll have no reason to come out of this encounter with less fingers than you had when you entered. The stingray’s skin is rather slippery and slightly slimy while the nurse shark’s skin is almost like a sandpaper texture. Don’t believe me? Come and feel for yourself!

All of this and more is waiting for you at Kaiyukan! Anyone who has a love for marine biology or just wants to see that all-too-adorable little face of the photogenic seal, come for a visit to the Kaiyukan if you happen to stop by Osaka!


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