Mason is a pro diver (and I’m trying to get certified by next year!), so how could we pass up going to two of the biggest aquariums in the WORLD? Both are located in Japan – one on the mainland in Osaka and one on the island of Okinawa. Another thing they had in common: WHALES. I was blown away by how big the aquariums were and even more so by how big the animals were!
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
To be honest, the aquarium wasn’t in our plans to begin with because we were already going to the one in Okinawa a few days later. But when we did everything on our itinerary and had an extra afternoon without plans, we figured we might as well stop by. It ended up being one of my favorite nights in the city and I loved to be able to compare the two aquariums!
The Osaka Aquarium had the most incredible set up for the central whale shark tank. It was rounded and then had walkways that gradually spiraled down so as you walked you could see every side of the tank from different vantage points. Rounded tanks are also much safer for sharks, so it made me happy to see them taken care of. There were a lot more exhibits, including dolphins, jellyfish, more sharks, a stingray petting zone, etc., but obviously the whale sharks were the main event.
I also loved that there was a little park surrounding the aquarium. We bought tickets that included entrance to the aquarium and the huge ferris wheel right next to it, which had the most incredible view. It also happens to be one of the largest in the world (just 40 feet smaller than the London Eye, to put it in perspective). It was a great last night in Osaka before flying out to Okinawa!
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
I already touched on this in my Okinawa Island post, but I thought I’d add a few details for anyone trying to decide between the two parks. This aquarium was also paired with a few surrounding attractions, which made it the perfect day trip.
This park as a whole definitely covered more ground space. There was also a lot more to do than just walking through the various tanks. I loved watching the dolphins sing and dance in the outdoor shows! As far as the whale shark tank went, it was definitely a sight to see but wasn’t *quite* as unique as the Osaka exhibit (even though they were both beyond words). It was still a dream come true though! We were so close to calling in a dinner reservation at the aquarium restaurant, where each table is placed right in front of the enormous tank with a perfect view of the whales, sharks, and stingrays. It’s an incredible place!
Next on my bucketlist is the aquarium in Dubai! Who’s been? If it’s anything like either of these, I’ll be in heaven.