Japan Part 5- Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Here’s a fun fact: I LOVE aquariums! The best aquarium I have seen before this is Singapore’s newly opened Marina Bay aquarium featuring the largest oceanarium in the world. However the crowds (we went on Valentine’s Day without realising it) spoilt the experience not to mention the 2 hour long queue and packed exhibits were just not worth it. Ocean Park in Hong Kong  was full of screaming kids. I was literally shoved from exhibit to exhibit by kids and adults alike (not the most polite crowd I’ve encountered to put it nicely). There were also signs everywhere that said ‘No Flash Photography’ and lo and behold, there were 3 flashes going off every second. I got so mad that I started telling people to stop it because they were hurting the animals but no one listened –_-. 

Kaiyukan in Osaka was a completely different experience. First of all, we got off at Sakurajima station which appeared to be the closest station on the map. We tried following the map and walking to Kaiyukan but we couldn’t see anything that resembled the picture so we went back to the station to ask for help. No one could speak much English and a nice man was trying to explain to us that we needed to get on a different train. We were extremely confused because the map said the aquarium was right next to this station. Turns out the map was wrong and there was a large RIVER separating us and Kaiyukan! The man sought the help of an old taxi driver and they painstakingly tried to communicate to us how to get there for a good 10 minutes but we could not understand. 

In the end, the taxi driver motioned for us to get in his cab. He drove us to a ferry station, got out of his car and escorted us to the ferry terminal and helped us with the ferry times (mostly by gestures) and where to go when we alighted. We thanked him profusely and gladly offered him money (taxi’s are extremely expensive in Japan btw) but he just smiled and would not take it. The kindness we have encountered in Japan is mind blowing. This old man went out of his way to help us annoying foreigners go to the aquarium out of the sheer kindness of his heart. We couldn’t even communicate with him, why would he help us! I feel kinda teary when I think about it. Thank you Sir from the bottom of my heart, without you we wouldn’t have been able to have the amazing day we had at Kaiyukan, instead we would have been lost for hours. 

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”- Mark Twain.

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Very happily on the ferry to Kaiyukan!
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After hours of trying to get there, we made it! You start on the 8th floor of the aquarium and make your way down to the exit. We spent the whole day there and loved it- I’ll show you why!
This is a giant salamander, it was longer than my arm. I hadn’t seen one of these before and was rather awed.
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A huge arapaima! I love watching these gigantic and rather ugly fish and always remember the River Monsters (love that show) episode on them.
A capybara, the largest rodent on earth. I thought it was really cute and felt a bit sad because it didn’t have a companion. Note the webbed feet- the capybara can actually swim really well!
The penguins just stood there, still as statues, the whole time. An amazing sight really, it’s hard to believe they were real! Check out the chick below- I keep giggling at it. It’s just so fat and fluffy! And looks completely different to it’s parents- maybe it was adopted.
They have two whale sharks in the large aquarium which can be viewed different levels! Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world and can grow up to 12m. I took so many photos of them but they were rather unphotogenic so here’s my best shots. I found them quite pretty with their polka dotted skin.
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I would be so scared to enter that massive tank. There were other sharks in there too including a hammerhead! Kudos to the diver.
On the other hand, these octopi were extremely photogenic! The yellow tubes coming out from their ‘ear’ area looked rather gross odd. I spent a while examining these creatures, I find sea creatures so strange and incredible.
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This poor catfish was swimming vertically the whole time and getting nowhere. I think it’s vestibular system was damaged, poor thing. I hope you are in a better place now fishy.

Apparently this is how the whale sharks are fed, according to the picture. They swim to the surface and you tip food into their mouths. The room was really crowded and I felt pretty embarrassed er ‘feeding’ the plastic whale shark, that’s why I’m laughing lol.
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Aquariums are terrible places to take selfies in.
We stopped for a drink at the cafe in the aquarium where the drinks were horrible, as to be expected. There were heaps of couples at Kaiyukan, it’s a very romantic place as my Japanese friend says :).
Unromantic cod.
Now for my incredibly artistic jellyfish series. We spent ages looking at these exhibits, I love watching these beings! Do they have brains? How do they know how to swim and eat? How do they reproduce? So many questions.
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One of my favorite exhibits were the seals. You could view them from below their exhibit and they were extremely playful and kept diving down to the bottom to look at us! Even Yanto said they were cute (about a million times) and he never says anything is cute!
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How cute are they?! They are so round, like a balloon! I just wanted to hug one :D
These grumpy fish sitting in their rather cutely decorated home were quite amusing. They don’t look very impressed at all.
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There’s always the touch pool for those who want to feel something slimeh.
And lastly, my favorite photo of the day:

This seal floated upright and smiled at us for 5 whole minutes! It was one of the most human and cutest things I have ever seen an animal do. SO FREAKING CUTE! I love it so much I made it my facebook cover photo!
There were so many other animals at Kaiyukan and it is my favorite aquarium in the world so far. Yes, it was crowded, but in Japan people are very respectful, it wasn’t noisy and there was no flash photography. We got to see every exhibit clearly because people actually lined up in an orderly fashion to see each tank making sure everyone got to see! This wasn’t even enforced, the people here just naturally did it. *amazed*
We ended off the day by taking a ferris wheel ride which was just next to Kaiyukan.
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Using all Etude house base makeup, I am very impressed! Will be reviewing a few products in the coming weeks.
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And yes, we paid way too much for the cheesy Christmas photo.

Best day ever!

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