Experience Japan like a local

Sea Creatures and Land Animals – Best Aquariums and Zoos in Japan

If you are traveling with children or just an animal lover, making a trip to an aquarium or zoo in Japan is a must! Not only is it fun getting to see new species of sea creatures and land critters, all the aquariums and zoos are bound to have exhibits that are different than the you’ve been to in the past. Here are my top aquariums and zoos in Japan:

Churaumi Aquarium – Okinawa Honto

Churaumi Aquarium - Okinawa Honto

This aquarium is considered one of the best in all of Japan. They still hold the record for housing shark whales for the longest amount of time, and holds one of the largest tanks around the world. One of the best attractions at the Churaumi Aquarium is the Kuroshio (Black Current) Tank which not only is the main attraction and one of the largest tanks, but it introduces many of the species of sea animals that live close to Okinawa.

The warm black current that gives life to many different marine species is introduced in this tank. This tank is a must see because it allows visitors to enjoy the animals that live right next to the island, which allows you to appreciate the culture in a completely different way. You’ll also get to see the enormous shark whales that you wouldn’t get to see in many other places.

A bonus to the is that all the shows are free to watch once you’ve paid your entrance fee. If you are interested in watching a dolphin, manatee, or sea turtle show make sure you check out the show times so you don’t miss them! If you are planning a trip to Japan, you should definitely plan an excursion to Okinawa. From Tokyo to Okinawa is about 2 hours and 45 minutes by plane.

Kaiyukan (Osaka Aquarium) – Osaka

Kaiyukan (Osaka Aquarium) - Osaka

Located on the mainland, it makes going to Kaiyukan a lot more accessible. They have 19 tanks that allow you to enjoy marine creatures from all over the world, each tank featuring a different location and different animals. Just like the Churaumi Aquarium, Kaiyukan also feature a shark whale. These are hard to find in other aquariums so make sure you go and see them!

The must do at Kaiyukan is the interactive exhibit. Many aquariums offer an interactive exhibit where you can touch shells and starfish, but they take it to the next level here. The touch pool includes different animals from the Maldives zone including sharks and rays. It’s not very often you get to interact with sharks and rays like that so I would definitely recommend checking out how different they feel.

Asahiyama Zoo – Hokkaido

Asahiyama Zoo - Hokkaido

The zoo is impressive not just in size but also species of animals that live there. This zoo doesn’t have a must-see exhibit persay but the whole zoo is featured in a creative way that will enhance your zoo experience and make you want to visit every exhibit. Every habitat is designed in a way that allows us to see more of the animals in its natural habitat. For example, penguins swim as though they are flying in the water and this can be seen in a 360 degree view because there is a tunnel walkway that goes through the whole tank.

Spotted seals are known to swim vertically and this can be seen in a tube that was created where the seals are free to swim up and down while you get to watch them. The bonus of going during the winter would be getting to see the penguin parade.

Nogeyama Zoo – Yokohama

Nogeyama Zoo - Yokohama

The first thing you’ll notice about this zoo is that it’s free to enter and it has always been that way. Even though this zoo is really small and can be visited in an hour or two, it’s well worth visiting. Even the “wild” animals here can be seen up close and personal. As an added perk you can go to the Nakayoshi Plaza which is their petting zoo area. You can snuggle up with cute chicks, guinea pigs and more! Just be aware that because the Nakayoshi Plaza is so popular for kids there is a distribution of tickets to limit the people who can enter.

If you’re planning on going on the weekend make sure you go extra early if you want to get cozy with the little guys. The really nice thing about Nogeyama Zoo, aside from the fact that it’s free admission, is that it’s really close to Tokyo. So if you were planning on just visiting Tokyo, it’s only about 40 minutes from Tokyo Station.

When you come to Japan, don’t forget to visit the cute, the slimy, the scary, the impressive, and the unforgettable creatures!

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