Japan’s aquariums are some of the best in the world with not only wide arrays of marine life but also an optimized user experience. When it Japan you should definitely consider adding an aquarium visit to your itinerary.
Aquariums are an activity that is a lot of fun for people of all ages. It does not matter how much you know about marine life, certain types of fish, or even their diet, aquariums are designed to be fun for everyone, including children.
So, if you are planning a trip to Japan, either solo or with family, adding an aquarium visit will make your visit that much more interesting.
With Japan being an island its connection to the sea is very strong, and for this reason, its aquariums are some of the best in the world and are very popular destinations.
The vast majority of Japan’s aquariums are fairly recent additions but there are some older sites that have recently been renovated.
So, here we’ll review the 10 best aquariums throughout all of Japan to help you decide which ones are worth adding to your trip itinerary based on your location and what you want to see.
Tokyo Metro Area Aqauriums
When in Tokyo there are several good aquariums to visit including some with live dolphin shows. They are conveniently located throughout the city, including in malls so that you will not need to travel too far to enjoy all that the aquariums have to offer.
This is one of the more modern aquariums found in Japan and can be found in the Sunshine City shopping mall. This aquarium has many different tanks to see that fascinate visitors and house marine life from multiple oceans and tropic forests aquatic environments.
So, if you are looking for a good all-around museum that is easy to reach the Sunshine Aquarium in Tokyo is a great choice.
Sunshine Aquarium is conveniently located near a railway station. It’s a 12-minute walk from Ikebukuro Station. JR’s Yamanote, Saikyo, and Shonan-Shinjuku lines, the Tokyo Metro’s Marunouchi, Fukutoshin, and Yurakucho lines, as well as the Tobu-Tojo and Seibu-Ikebukuro lines, all stop at Ikebukuro Station.
Sunshine City, a 60-story skyscraper at the station’s east entrance that has an aquarium, planetarium, theme park, and viewing platform, is a landmark in Ikebukuro. “Otome Road” is a common moniker for this area’s western side translated as (Maiden Road).
If you are looking for an aquarium that has more of a focus on one particular species then the Sumida aquarium might be the option for you as it houses a penguin pool containing 350,000 liters and is open at the top.
Just like the Sunshine aquarium, this location is easy to reach and is located over two floors (5th and 6th) in the Tokyo Solamachi shopping district in the Tokyo Skytree complex.
This aquarium is a great place to help bring the sea creatures to life, especially for children, as they can sit and watch the penguins play freely.
Maxwell Aqua Park
If excitement is what you are after from your trip to the aquarium then look no further than the Maxwell Aqua Park in Shinagawa Tokyo. Much like the Sumida aquarium which focuses on penguin interactions, the Maxwell Aquarium focuses on dolphins and audience interaction.
Here you will find live dolphin shows held in the central pool which makes for a great day out for both adults and children alike.
There is also a range of other marine creatures on display at the aquarium. The stadium is located in the complex of the Shinagawa Prince Hotel near Shinagawa station.
Outside Of Metro Tokyo
If you are in Tokyo and are willing to travel a short distance outside of the city, or you are simply staying slightly further afield then there are also a number of great aquariums to visit without needing to head into the busy center of Tokyo.
Hakkeijima Sea Paradise
Located just beyond downtown Yokohama, the aquarium Hakkeijima Sea Paradise is centered around the theme of the ocean and is also an amusement park. There are many more interesting animals on display here such as polar bears, dolphins, whale sharks, and even walruses.
Guests are welcome to interact with some of the animals, making this the perfect family day out.
This aquarium is a great choice if you want to learn more about the sea life native to Japan and the surrounding area. This modern aquarium covers two stories and can be found just across from Enoshima slightly further down the beach.
Some notable features of this aquarium are the dolphin shows and the excellent jellyfish tank on display.
If you are looking for a more interactive and theatrical type of aquarium experience then add a trip to Kamogawa Seaworld to your list of things to do in Japan. Here not only will you find large tanks full of interesting fish and other sea creatures but this aquarium also has regular performances.
There are multiple outdoor areas and even an underwater theater to make sure that you have the best experience possible. Kamogawa Seaworld is located on the Boso peninsula.
This central region on Japan’s main island is a fairly popular destination with tourists thanks to the major city of Nagoya and numerous mountain resorts. So, if you find yourself in this area consider traveling to the following aquarium to add something a little bit different to your trip.
Port of Nagoya public aquarium
This aquarium is one of the largest and most modern aquariums in Nagoya and is spread over two separate buildings. It is home to some of the world’s most interesting sea creatures including killer whales, blue whales, dolphins, and also a whole host of other creatures found in the sea between Japan and the Antarctic.
Located in the south of the main island, Kansai is home to Japan’s old capital, Kyoto, and is particularly popular with those interested in Buddhism and temples. However, its famous aquarium is one that can teach you a little bit about the entire world.
Found on the Shima peninsula, the Toba Aquarium is one of the biggest aquariums in the country. This aquarium is a great choice if you want to visit an aquarium to learn more about marine life, the different aquatic regions, and habitats as it houses 12 zones, each dedicated to one region.
Within these 12 houses, you can find various aquatic plants, fish, and other creatures as well as fun and interesting facts about them. So, not only can you learn more about the types of creatures that are native to the waters surrounding Japan but you can also compare these to those native to your home.
If you find yourself off of the mainland in one of the southern islands then you may already be fascinated by the beautiful sea that surrounds you. However, heading to an aquarium will help you to get a deeper and greater appreciation for the animals and plants that are found in the area.
Churaumi Aquarium (Our number 1 Choice)
The Churaumi Aquarium is without a doubt the best aquarium to visit in all of Japan. The large main tank is the crowning jewel of this aquarium and attracts visitors from all over the world. The tank houses multiple whale sharks which are quite a sight to behold.
The aquarium also has many other creatures on display, including sharks and bio luminous fish, making the experience seem otherworldly. If you are visiting with children then make sure that you time your visit right so that you do not fish the animals shows regularly scheduled at the aquarium.
This subtropical southwestern island is already famous the world over thanks to its many different tourist attractions such as hot springs and monkeys. However, its aquarium is a fun place where you can appreciate all marine life and offers you some more unique than the usual tourist options.
This aquarium is one that stands out from the rest thanks to the care taken in its design and build. The aquarium comes across more like an art museum than an aquarium, but it is certainly not short on marine life and interesting things to see and do.
The Umitamago aquarium is located in a popular region in Kyushu, near Beppo (a hot spring town) and close to the world-renowned monkey park. So, the chances are that this particular area of Japan is already high on your list of places to visit. By adding the Umitamago aquarium to your itinerary you are sure to make the most of your time there.
Although an aquarium may not be at the top of people’s list of things to do and see when visiting Japan, it is certainly worth doing your research as several of them are world-famous and are home to some aquatic creatures that you will be unlikely to see anywhere else.
You can even learn about the local aquatic creatures and plants native to Japan or choose to visit an aquarium with family-friendly dolphin and penguin shows. Some aquariums even offer you the chance to get up close and personal with the sea life and have interactions that will make a lasting impression.
So, no matter which region you are visiting on your journey throughout Japan the chances are that there is a great aquarium near your location.
Some are even located inside malls and other such places that you may not expect so if you do not see one while touring around your immediate area have a look through this list to see where each is located.
Japans Largest Single Tank Aquarium Located In Okinawa Virtual View