Osaka Aquarium

Soon after I arrived in Osaka after a very enjoyable spin on the shinkansen I was little bit frazzled; my hotel was near Osaka Station, not Shin-Osaka station. That would be a whole different station altogether, with different roads coming out of it and everything.

Soon I was cursing every piece of unnecessary clothing in that suitcase…after just a little bother locating the hotel even once I had arrived at the correct station (somewhere in Osaka there’s a very amused/bemused taxi driver), time was running a little later than I’d like. So it was some delight that I discovered that one of the major attractions in Osaka – the Kaiyukan aquarium – opens until 8pm each night.

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An escalator at the entrance whisks you up to the eighth floor where the tour begins proper.

Otters are first. They lie around on the fake landscape; they’re cute; they run around the place. You try, hopelessly, to take pictures.

You then enter a corridor which guides you around the museum. In fact, this is the only aquarium’s only corridor; it winds around the building, descending continuously: some tropical fish are next and then, having descended just a little, you’re back at the otter tank. Only now, you can see them swimming around.

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This trick – allowing you to view the inhabitants at all sorts of depths and heights – continues with the penguins, fake coral reefs and – in far and away the biggest tank – the centre-piece tank which contains sharks, stingrays, big fish and big shoals of little small fish.

After all this excitement there’s just some time for some fun figures (they used 1.5 times the world’s annual output of acrylic glass for the tanks) and fun fish: 3m long crabs and colourful jellyfish.

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