Find Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium

Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

So Many Things To Do When You Visit Osaka For Two Days

We stopped in Osaka for two days on our Windstar cruise of Japan. The ship arrived late in the afternoon on our first day. But this meant we had a lovely sail in. And we got to see the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.

On the second day we headed off and saw the amazing beautiful sites of Kyoto.

Sailing Into The Port In Osaka

We were out on deck to watch the sail in to Osaka. It was clear that this was a major port. Boats of all kinds and sizes were all around us. We saw a major container port. And what was said to be the longest bridge in Japan.

Osaka Harbour Arrival.jpg

Osaka Harbour Arrival.jpg

As we neared our docking spot, we saw the giant ferris wheel that stood above us for our stay. At night the ferris wheel dazzled us with colour.

Osaka Harbour Ferris Wheel.jpg

Osaka Harbour Ferris Wheel.jpg

Right beside our dock in Osaka was the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. It was billed as one of the biggest aquariums in the world. But we were drawn in when we learned they had a number of whale sharks. We missed the opportunity to scuba dive with whale sharks a number of times. So we really wanted to see the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.

Osaka Harbour Welcome Sign.jpg

Kaiyukan Aquarium Ferris Wheel Osaka Harbour.jpg

Walking To The Top Of The Aquarium

When we entered the aquarium, we went past the large number of displays set up to entertain and educate children. Although we did not resist posing for just one picture.

Kaiyukan Whale Shark Poster - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Kaiyukan Whale Shark Poster - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

We took the series of escalators up to the top level and worked our way down. The first exhibit we walked through was the Japan Forest. The sun had just started to set and the greenery had a glow on it.

Japanese Forest - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

But we didn’t linger for long. The whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium called to us.

Marvel At The Whale Sharks At The Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium

The path in the aquarium started at the top of the massive tank. All the way down, we stopped at different levels in the tank. On our very first view of the tank we saw the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. We stood mesmerized as the whale sharks moved slowly like lumbering giants around the tank.

Whale Shark - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Whale Shark - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

 

We saw all kinds of other sharks. The scalloped hammerheads wanted to stare me down.

Scalloped Hammerhead Shark - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

We could have watched the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium for hours. But there was a lot else to see.

Such An Amazing Variety Of Fish

The rays when seen from below seemed to smile at us. The spotted rays were most curious and cruised close to the glass.

Cownose Ray - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Spinetail Mobula Ray - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Spotted Eagle Ray - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Spotted Eagle Ray - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

When we exited the aquarium, there was even an interactive display that let people pet the rays.

Touch Tank Ray - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

At every stop down the height of the large tank, we took a seat and just watched the show. The variety of fish in the tank was fascinating. But I could have watched the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium all night!

Bowmouth Guitar fish - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Grouper fish - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Sunfish - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

As we watched the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, we found a whole a lot else to see in the big tank.

Penguins In The Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium

I really visited to see the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. But there were lots of other cool things to see. Early on our exploration we stood in the Antarctic exhibit and watched the King Penguins cavort.

A group of them seemed fascinated by the glass and their own reflections. Penguins dropped in the water and swam past. And when it started to snow, penguins gathered as the large snow flakes fell. There was even a second penguin exhibit as we left. This group were Rockhopper penguins. They looked a bit like the penguins we discovered on our trip to Cape Town, South Africa.

Antarctic King Penguins - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Antarctic King Penguins - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Antarctic King Penguins - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

We visited to see the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. But we enjoyed a little time with the penguins too.

Other Interesting Sights In The Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium

In the Monterey exhibit, we saw the seal lions and harbour seals. They looked very much like I remembered them from our visit to San Francisco and to Monterey. They lazily snoozed on the wooden surface. The younger ones were cute when they snuggled up with mom to nurse. This brought back such great memories of visits to California.

Monterey Sea Lions - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Monterey Sea Lions - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

We also saw the most amazing jelly fish exhibit at the Monterey Aquarium. The variety and selection was not as great here.

Jellyfish - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Jellyfish - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

We saw lots of local Japanese sea life. Many seemed almost prehistoric in nature. The sturgeon moved slowly through the dark waters. And a tank of giant Spider Crabs tapped at the glass as if they wanted to get out. I was glad we never met any of these local species on our travels for 3 weeks in Japan.

Japanese Sturgeon - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Giant spider crab - Whale Sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium.jpg

Even though we visited to see the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, we saw so many other interesting displays as we walked through the vast aquarium space.

In Osaka Port Over Night

We always love when a cruise itinerary gave us overnight stop in port. It was a great way to see the port cities from a different perspective. Many people on the cruise ship went into town. After we visited to see the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium, we headed back onboard.

Windstar took advantage of this night in port to put on entertainment and special deserts on deck. We watched the sun set and then headed up to join the party after dark.

Osaka Port sunset.jpg

Osaka Port sunset.jpg

Windstar Cruises buffet in Osaka Port overnight.jpg

Windstar Cruises buffet and music in Osaka Port overnight.jpg

When we left the second night, we got a warm send off. Everyone was on deck or on their cabin balconies as the opera singer entertained us with song after song to say goodbye. It was such a great sendoff!

Opera singer goodbye in Osaka Port overnight.jpg

Windstar Cruises full moon and flag in Osaka Port overnight.jpg

As the flag was raised, we caught sight of the full moon. It was a goodbye salute to our 2 day visit to Osaka.

We Enjoyed Osaka And Our Visit To The Kaiyukan Aquarium

It was such an awesome experience to see the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium. As we walked down several levels along the massive tank we saw so much sea life. The other exhibits added interesting new species for us to see. It was a perfect choice for us undersea lovers!

We had a busy time in Osaka for two days. We spent our second full day in Kyoto. And saw so many beautiful sights. It was not a decision we regretted.

But we were very sorry we did not get to see more of Osaka. This stop on our Windstar cruise in Japan was definintely not long enough. We got a great taste test. But will certainly need to come back for more.

Did you see the whale sharks at the Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium? What was your favourite exhibit?

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Whale Sharks At The Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium

About TravelAtWill 479 Articles
Travel blogger and photographer! Scuba diving, luxury cruising, chocoholic, sea and sunshine addicts, camera attached and just generally curious! Join us on our adventures!

20 Comments

  1. The Aquarium does seem to be huge given that they hold whale sharks. They look phenomenal. However, I think I would be the most pleased to watch the penguins. They are so amusing. The Ferris wheel around the area looks quite pretty at night. Seems like Osaka is a fun place.

  2. Whale sharks are such magnificent creatures! I would love to swim with them one day. I love that you got to see them and the rays and other fish in Osaka. Osaka is where I landed when I visited Japan in 1999 – it has a crazy runway floating out on the sea!

    • Hannah, We too want to swim with the whale sharks. We just missed scuba diving with them in Belize. But we are on the lookout for another chance. The whale sharks in the Osaka aquarium were amazing to watch. I am glad we didn’t miss this on our Osaka stop. Linda

  3. I’ve heard about this spectacular museum in Osaka but didn’t have that much time to spend visiting the city. I’ll definitely have to make another visit and spend more time and also visit this wonderful place with such an amazing array of sea life.

  4. Very well made itinerary for me. Whenever I take up yo plan travel to Japan I am at a loss for fixing up the sights to see. This list makes it easy to choose. That huge aquarium thrilled me. Great photo opportunities in Osaka.

  5. I have been to such aquariums in other countries but this seems quite large. Scuba diving to have a glimpse of the sharks in natural environs would be such a memorable experience. Hope you get to experience that as well soon. I bet, those happy feet would have been such a charming sight for sure!

    • Meenakshi, This was a massive tank. The biggest we have ever seen. I can’t wait to plan a scuba dive where we can swim with whale sharks. Glad you enjoyed this look at the Osaka Aquarium. Linda

  6. The Osaka Kaiyukan Aquarium looks absolutely huge, as do the whale sharks. There is so much sea life on display, I find the seals quite playful, and love watching jellyfish swim. It’s mesmerizing.

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