Last Updated on September 7, 2023 by Jerardo Gomez
Most of you reading this article are traveling to Japan and will be visiting Osaka for a couple of days. let me tell you why you should add Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan to your Osaka Itinerary. You can spend 2 hours here or you can spend 3-4 in the area which would be perfect in the morning, afternoon, or evening.
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🌊 Why You Absolutely Must Go 🐋
Located in the heart of Osaka Bay, just minutes from central Osaka, this aquarium is a perfect activity to add to your travel itinerary’s list of this to do in Osaka for a variety of reasons including:
It makes for the perfect rest-activity
Perfect for families traveling to Osaka with kids
Fun and Memorable experience
Near Osaka so you don’t have to travel far
As an adult traveling to Japan, I really enjoyed looking at the variety of species, and food experiences, and having a few hours to relax after walking for hours in the city. This is a great thing to do in Osaka for kids, solo travelers, the elderly, people with disabilities, families, and nature lovers.
Don’t wait to plan your trip, here is a 9-day itinerary to get you started for Japan.
🐡About the Aquarium 🦈
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan features 15 exhibits that simulate different aquatic animals and habitats from around the world. Some of these exhibits include the Pacific Ocean, the Great Barrier Reef, the Aleutian Islands, and the Japan Forest. Each exhibit is designed to provide visitors with an immersive experience of various marine environments.
The aquarium is home to a diverse range of marine life, including various species of fish, sharks, rays, jelly fish, sea otters, penguins, and more. The number of fish species may vary, but at the time of my last update, the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan was known to house over 30,000 marine creatures representing around 620 species.
The aquarium has many tanks, each showing animals from a different part of the Pacific Ocean. The biggest tank is in the center, representing the Pacific Ocean itself. The main tank is 9 meters or about 30 feet deep with 5,400 cubic meters of water and it’s where you can see the main attraction – a whale shark!
When you start your visit on the eighth floor, you go down one floor at a time in a spiral around one of the world’s big central tanks. Some tanks even go across a few floors, so you can watch the animals from different levels and angles.🐙
🐠 Other stand-out sealife include manta rays in the central tank and dozens of jellyfish species. 🦑
Suggested Time 🐬
1.5 – 2 hours is plenty of time.
It was a great experience, and you certainly do not need the whole day here. You can easily spend 2-4 hours here to check off a few bucket list things in the area like the observatory Cosmo tower or Ferris wheel.
Suggestions before you go 🐠
You do not need to buy tickets ahead of time but you can online.
Take a blank notebook for stamps! In Japan, stamps are in many places for tourists to have as a souvenir and it is fun to collect. I forgot my book, and there were tons of stamps throughout the aquarium such as whale sharks, penguins, and seals.
Hours of Operation and Ticket costs
The time differs on the day. Typically 10:00 to 20:00 (entry until 19:00).
¥2,700 for adults aged 16 and over
¥2,300 for seniors
¥1,400 for children aged 7-15
¥700 for children aged 3-6
FREE for children under 2 years old
After entering the huge fish tank tunnel, you begin making your way up the escalator or elevator to the 8th floor where you start at the Japan Forest Zone which is amazing, and where you meet the otters! Then you make your way down each floor by ramp taking you through various and intelligently placed exhibits.
Shark Species from the Pacific Ocean
Jellyfish exhibit with dozens of species
Vocal penguins species from Antarctica
Two Whale sharks
You get to be face-to-face with the world’s biggest shark, the whale shark, at different depths of the tank as you circle down the Pacific Rim exhibit from many floors.
The hammerhead sharks and stingrays are memorable because of how big they are and how intrigued they are by spectators.
Access to Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is easily accessible from anywhere in Osaka. The aquarium only has one station which makes getting there simple as you know your end route.
The aquarium in Osaka is handicap and elderly-friendly!
From Osaka Station:
Take Osaka City Bus #88.
Alight at the Tempozan bus stop.
Approximate travel time: 45 minutes.
Fare: 210 yen.
From Namba Station:
Board Osaka City Bus #60.
Arrive at the Tempozan stop.
Estimated travel time: 40 minutes.
Flat rate fare: 210 yen.
Directly from Kansai International Airport:
Opt for the limousine buses.
Destination: Tempozan Harbor Village.
Travel duration: 60 minutes.
Adults: 1,550 yen.
Children: 780 yen.
Start from Osaka Station: This is one of the major train stations in Osaka.
Take the JR Osaka Loop Line (Outer Loop): From Osaka Station, you can take the JR Osaka Loop Line in a clockwise direction. The Loop Line will take you to Bentencho Station.
Transfer to the Chuo Line (Subway): At Bentencho Station, transfer to the Chuo Line (Subway) and take a train going towards Cosmosquare Station.
Get off at Osakako Station: Osakako Station is the nearest station to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan. You’ll get off at this station and walk to the aquarium.
From Namba Subway Station take the Midosuji Line to Hommachi Station and then transfer to the Chuo Subway Line. The total fare will be 280 yen for a 20-minute ride.
Once you get to Osakako Station, there are signs everywhere that clearly display the route, and it is a five-minute walk. Google Maps help.
By Ferry (Universal Studios Japan area)
If you are staying by Universal Studios Japan (Universal City Port), then take a trip on the Captain Line Ferry (10 minutes). The Captain Line ferry runs daily between 9:30 am to 8 pm and departs every hour. Captain Line Ferry is 1700 yen but its FREE if you have the Osaka Amazing Pass.
Tempozan harbor village
Tempozan Harbor Village is a popular tourist destination located in Osaka, Japan. It is situated in the Osaka Bay area next to the aquarium and offers a variety of attractions, entertainment options, and shopping experiences.
One of the highlights of Tempozan Harbor Village is the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, which provides panoramic views of the surrounding area, including the bay and the city skyline.
Within Tempozan Harbor Village, you’ll also find the Tempozan Marketplace, which is a shopping and dining complex. The marketplace features a traditional Japanese yokocho (alleyway) called “Tempozan Marketplace Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho.”
This yokocho is designed to replicate the atmosphere of old Osaka and offers a selection of local and traditional foods. The design resembles Osaka in the 1960s. Visitors can explore different stalls and restaurants, trying various Osaka specialties such as takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (savory pancakes), kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers), and more.
Nearby attractions and things to do in Tempozan Harbor Village include:
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan: This world-renowned aquarium is one of the largest in the world and features a diverse range of marine life from different regions of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a great place for families and individuals interested in aquatic creatures.
Cruise Ship Santa Maria: Enjoy a short cruise on a replica of Christopher Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria. The cruise offers a unique perspective of Osaka Bay and the surrounding area. Taking off about each hour, it gives you a 45-60 minute ride around Osaka Bay that is cheap. They even offer a “twilight cruise” in the evening.
Legoland Discovery Center Osaka: Perfect for families with children, this indoor attraction features various Lego-themed exhibits, rides, and play areas.
Captain Line Sightseeing Boat: Take a leisurely boat ride along Osaka Bay, offering views of the city’s skyline and landmarks.
Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel: As mentioned earlier, this Ferris wheel is a prominent feature of Tempozan Harbor Village and offers breathtaking panoramic views, especially during the evening. It is the 9th tallest Ferris wheel in the world and opened in 2016.
Tempozan Park: A beautiful park where you can relax, have a picnic, and enjoy outdoor activities.
Shopping and Dining: Besides the yokocho in Tempozan Marketplace, the village also has several shops and restaurants where you can shop for souvenirs, try local and international cuisine, and enjoy a memorable dining experience.
Places To Stay Nearby
- Hotel Seagull Tempozan Osaka
- Liber Hotel At Universal Studios
- The Singulari Hotel and SkySpa at Universal Studios
What else is there to do around the Osaka Aquarium?
If you think that the aquarium is in the middle of nowhere, then you are wrong! The Aquarium is right next to the bay to take amazing pictures, with sea breeze. Don’t forget to take souvenirs which is something I regret.
Explore the Tempozan Harbor Village which is the shopping area right in front of the aquarium.
If you have not been to Osaka Castle, that is another thing you can do in the same day. Some people do not recommend the castle but I thought the park was beautiful and the crowd was pretty decent.
Highly Recommended Things to do Around Aquarium
The amazing Osaka Pass gives you free access to transportation but also free entry to many entertainment attractions and places in Osaka! Around the aquarium, there are two things that I recommend which is covered for free by the pass:
Tempozan Ferris Wheel (800 Yen) or free with the Osaka Pass. This gives you great views and the whole bay where you can see as far as Kobe!
Sakishima Cosmo Tower Observatory (800 yen) or free with Osaka Pass. This is the 3rd tallest building in Japan and the second tallest in Osaka.
It takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to complete the whole aquarium if you take your time. Families and groups can spend longer as there are activities, shopping, and opportunities to take pictures.
The best time of day to visit the aquarium in Osaka will vary on your itinerary is. It may be better to do it in the morning to get this activity out of the way or do it in the evening to rest from walking all day.
The largest aquarium in Japan is Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan and it is rated as the highest quality in Japan as well.
Kaiyukan Aquarium in Osaka is known for its whale sharks, and it is the best aquarium in Japan. It used to be the world’s biggest aquarium in 1990 but now it is on the 12th spot.
It was 100% worth it for me because it gives you a great from the city, it was a fun activity, and it is easily accessible.