10 Best Aquariums in Japan

Whale Shark Places to visit in Japan

Aquariums are a great place for everyone to visit all year round. For families with small children, it is a perfect spot to learn about marine life and enjoy watching exciting shows by them. It is also an ideal destination for couples to spend a memorable time together while getting up close to adorable underwater creatures. Aquariums welcome even solo visitors who are just looking for somewhere to spend a relaxing time alone as well.

Japan boasts a great number of top-rated aquariums that can be found across the country. Here is the list of the 10 best aquariums that you should visit in Japan!           

1. Osaka Kaiyukan

Only a very few aquariums in Japan host whale sharks and Osaka is one of them!

Located in Osaka Bay Area, Osaka Kaiyukan is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Opened in 1990, it has been visited by more than 2 million people every year and is an iconic attraction in Osaka.

They boast 30,000 underwater creatures and sea animals which represent over 600 different species collected from every corner of the world. Their permanent exhibition features a range of diverse marine life that represent different regions, including Japan’s Forest, Monterey Bay, Ecuador Rain Forest, Antarctica, and the Great Barrier Reef.

Aqua Gate is an 11-meter underwater tunnel that showcases a wide range of fish and marine creatures swimming around freely. The Pacific Ocean Tank is a giant tank that is home to giant whale sharks! There are also restaurants and gift shops where you can buy memorable souvenirs and have lunch!

Opening hours

10am – 8pm

Check their website as opening hours may vary due to Covid-19.

Admissions

2,400 yen (adult)

1,200 yen (Child)

600 yen (aged 3 – 6)

▼Don’t miss out popular private tour which takes you to the best tourist attractions in Osaka!
Osaka Highlights Private Walking Tour

2. Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium

All sorts of fish and critters can be seen in Nagoya

If you are looking for a great aquarium experience in or around Nagoya, the Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium is the best place to visit! It is the largest of all the aquariums in Japan located by the port of Nagoya, which is about a 30-minute train ride from JR Nagoya station and is home to 540 different species of 36,000 underwater creatures and animals.

The aquarium consists of two buildings: the North Building and the South Building. Each of them is home to diverse marine creatures which are displayed based on different themes. The North Building is where you can learn about the 3.5-billion-year history of the earth, and the evolution of sea animals such as dolphins, orcas, and belugas. The South Building takes you on an exciting journey to the world of the Antarctic with informative exhibits of penguins, sea turtles, and other underwater fish and creatures. One of the highlights here is the dynamic dolphin performance held at an outdoor pool every day!

Opening hours

9:30am -5pm

(closed on Mondays)

Admissions 

2,030 yen (adult)

1,010 yen (junior high/ elementary school student)

500 yen (child aged 4+)              

3. Churaumi Aquarium

Okinawa aquarium shark
There are three whale sharks living at Churaumi aquarium

Churaumi Aquarium is definitely a must-visit if you are planning to visit Okinawa prefecture. “Chura” means beautiful in the Okinawan dialect, and “Umi” means the sea in Japanese. Opened in 1979, it has been visited by 3 million people every year as one of the most popular tourist attractions in Okinawa.

They have more than 77 tanks that showcase Okinawa’s diverse marine life and underwater ecosystems. One of the highlights here is the display of giant whale sharks and manta rays swimming freely in one of the world’s largest tanks located on the first and the second floor. The aquarium is located in a remote location with limited public transport available from the central Naha city and Naha Airport. If possible, renting a car is probably the best way to get there.               

Opening hours 

9am – 5pm (Oct. – Feb.)

8:30am – 8pm (Mar. – Sept.)   

Check their website as opening hours may vary due to Covid-19.

Admissions

1,880 yen (adult)

1,250 yen (high school student)

620 yen (junior high/ elementary school student)

4. Aquamarine Fukushima

The building of Aquamarine Fukushima is considered to be a work of art

Aquamarine Fukushima is a perfect spot for a memorable family weekend trip. It is located along the beautiful coast of Iwaki city, Fukushima prefecture. This massive aquarium was severely damaged by the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011. After several months of reconstruction, it resumed operation and started to welcome visitors again with the extensive display of diverse marine life and unforgettable experiences.

It is home to more than 800 species of marine creatures, tropical plants, and unique organisms that live in rivers, mountains, coasts, the Pacific Ocean, and around the Fukushima area. A wide range of hands-on experiences is also available, including fishing, feeding, and backyard tours which are particularly popular among families with children!

Opening hours 

9am – 5pm (From Dec. 1st – Mar. 20th)

9am – 5:30pm (From Mar. 21st – Nov. 30th)  

Admissions

1,850 yen (adult)

900 yen

Free admission for preschoolers        

▼Check out our popular day tour from Tokyo to the Fukushima disaster area.
Fukushima Disaster Area Day Tour from Tokyo (Within 20 km of Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant)

5. Hakkeijima Sea Paradise Aquarium

Many animals at this aquarium are rescued, set for rerelease

Hakkeijima Sea Paradise Aquarium is a popular aquarium in Yokohama city, Kanagawa prefecture. Hakkeijima is a name of an artificial island where the aquarium is located. It is not an ordinary aquarium, as this massive facility includes an aquarium, an amusement park, shopping malls, and hotels.

This aquarium can be divided into 4 themed zones that await you with different experiences and exciting water life encounters. “Fureai Lagoon” allows you to get up close to adorable dolphins and penguins and feed them with your hands. “Dolphin Fantasy” has a large underwater tunnel full of dolphins and colorful fish which you can walk through. Their amusement park area is also a great spot to let your children have fun with thrill rides and attractions! 

Opening hours

10am -5pm (weekdays)

10am – 6:30pm (weekends)

Admission (Aquarium area only)

3,000 yen (adult)

1,800 yen (junior high/ elementary school student)  

6. Toba Aquarium

This is the only aquarium with a dugong

If you are thinking about visiting Ise Grand Shrine in Mie prefecture while in Japan, don’t miss the chance to discover the amazing display of abundant marine life at Toba Aquarium! Located along the eastern coast of Ise city, Mie prefecture, this aquarium is about a 20-minute train ride from Ise Grand Shrine.

They have the largest collection of underwater creatures in Japan which represents over 1,200 different species. Inside the aquarium, there are separate twelve areas, and each of them displays impressive underwater worlds full of diverse marine life and displaying flourishing ecosystems. This is also the only place in Japan where you can see dugongs in captivity.

A popular sea lion show is held at the Performance Stadium four times every day. At the Marine Mammal Kingdom and the Jungle World, a wide range of creatures and marine animals are displayed in a comfortable environment that replicates their natural habitat.            

Opening hours 

9am – 5pm

Admissions

2,500 yen (adult)

1,300 yen (junior high/ elementary school student)

600 (child aged 6+)

7. Kamogawa Sea World

The orca shows here are next level!

Kamogawa Sea World is a great place for a family day out in Chiba prefecture. They aim to offer a great opportunity for visitors to learn the importance of wildlife and environmental conversation through interaction with diverse marine creatures. Visitors can have not only exciting wildlife encounters but also see, feel, listen and touch the adorable marine life living in spacious areas designed to replicate their natural habitats.

Enjoy the dynamic orca performances held at the Ocean Stadium every day. Kurage Life is where you can encounter ten different types of jellyfish on display and learn about their unique ecology through informative exhibits with cutting-edge technologies. Rocky World is home to adorable marine mammals, including sea lions, seals, and walruses!

Opening hours 

9am – 4pm   

Check their website as opening hours may vary due to Covid-19.

Admissions

3,000 yen (adult)

1,800 yen (junior high/ elementary school student)

1,200 yen (aged 4+)

8. Kyoto Aquarium

The dolphin masters here have spent years training the dolphins

You might think what Kyoto has to offer is only historic temples and shrines, but actually, this beautiful city has much more to explore! Kyoto Aquarium is a modern popular aquarium that opened in 2012. Located about a 15-minute walk from JR Kyoto station, this aquarium is home to approximately 15,000 marine creatures spanning over 250 different species.

They use 100% artificially made seawater and captivate visitors with their amazing display of underwater life from not only the sea but also Kyoto’s local rivers. Some poplar creatures that you can find here include dolphins, penguins, giant salamanders, fur seals and to name a few. Jellyfish Wonders is a newly opened exhibit area that showcases 5,000 jellyfish gracefully floating in a 360-degree panorama water tank!        

Opening hours

Opening hours vary by season and day, so check their website for details. 

Admissions

2,200 yen (adult)

1,700 yen (high school student)

1,100 yen (junior high/ elementary school student)

700 yen (aged 3+)

9. World Freshwater Aquarium Aquatotto Gifu

The otters are perhaps the biggest stars at this aquarium

World Freshwater Aquarium Aquatotto Gifu is a famous aquarium located in Kakamigahara City, Gifu prefecture. What makes them different from other famous aquariums is the fact that they specialize in exhibiting only freshwater fish and other creatures. Widely known as one of the world’s largest freshwater aquariums, this aquarium houses more than 250 species of fish, plants, and other organisms living in rivers around the world.

Many visitors start the route from the 4th floor which is home to an informative exhibit on the ecosystem found at the source of the upstream Nagara River. Follow the route down to the 3rd floor, where you will see a wide variety of freshwater fishes and organisms in danger of extinction. Their exhibits recreate the natural habitat of underwater creatures on display so that they can live in a comfortable environment. Exhibits on the 2nd and the 1st floor feature unique creatures from rivers and lakes in Asia, Africa, and the Amazon River in South America!          

Opening hours

9:30am -5pm (weekdays)

9:30am – 6pm (weekends) 

Admissions

1,540 yen (adult)

1,130 yen (high school/ junior high school student)

770 yen (elementary school student)

380 yen (aged 3+)

10. Aqua Park Shinagawa

You never know what you’ll find at Aqua Park Shinagawa

Aqua Park Shinagawa is a great place to see a wide variety of adorable marine life while you are in Tokyo. It is located inside the Shinagawa Prince Hotel which is about a 2-minute walk from JR Shinagawa station. This entertainment facility fascinates visitors with the memorable aquarium experience which combines light, sound, and visual images with underwater creatures on display.

The Stadium features a gigantic pool with a 360-degree stand where you can take a seat and enjoy watching great dolphin performances. Wonder Tube is a 20-meter underwater tunnel that houses 10 different types of rays floating in the water with the natural light from the sky. There are also exciting rides and attractions that are popular among small children!  

Opening hours

10am -6:30pm (from Feb. 1st-Feb. 28th, 2022)

Admissions

2,300 yen (adult)

1,200 yen (junior high school student/ elementary school student)

700 yen (aged 4+)

Want to know more about aquariums in or around Tokyo? Check out our blog below!

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Miho Shimizu is a Japanese freelance writer settled in Shizuoka with her husband and two rabbits. Fascinated with traveling at the age of 18, she has spent most of her long holidays exploring incredible spots around Japan. Also love to listen to music, draw, and read novels over a cup of green tea.

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