Why Osaka Aquarium Should Be on Your Must-See List

Planning a trip to Osaka, but don’t know what to visit? It might be hard to figure out the best places to visit in Osaka, especially when you’re going for the first time. Well, one of the top attractions you shouldn’t miss is the Osaka Aquarium, also known as Kaiyukan.

Osaka Aquarium is definitely worth a visit for anyone traveling to Osaka. Its impressive exhibits, diverse marine life, and convenient location make it a top attraction in the city. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or solo, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience at Kaiyukan.

In this article, I’ll provide all the information you need to make the most of your visit, from ticket prices to travel tips, and how to get there easily.

Why Visit Osaka Aquarium?

Whale Shark at Osaka Aquarium
Whale Shark at Osaka Aquarium
© Ana Costa

Osaka Aquarium, or Kaiyukan, is one of the largest aquariums in the world. Located in the Tempozan Harbor Village of Osaka, it contains a wide variety of marine life from the Pacific Rim. The aquarium is designed to take visitors on a journey through different marine habitats, from the icy waters of the Antarctic to the tropical rainforests.

Osaka Aquarium offers an immersive experience where you can see everything from giant whale sharks to playful otters. The exhibits are thoughtfully designed to replicate natural habitats, giving you a sense of the diverse environments marine animals live in. It’s educational, visually stunning, and fun for all ages.

In total, there are over 15 large tanks in the Osaka Aquarium.

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Opening Hours and Admission Prices

Osaka Aquarium is open daily, except for two days in January every year. The opening hours can vary, so it’s best to check their official website for the most current information. Typically, the aquarium opens around 10:00 AM and closes at 8:00 PM, however, the schedule usually changes in July and August. The admission prices are generally as follows, but they increase during special dates:

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  • Adults (16+): ¥2,700
  • Children (7-15): ¥1,400
  • Young Children (3-6): ¥700
  • Infants (0-2): Free

Where to Buy Osaka Aquarium Tickets?

While it is possible to buy tickets when arriving at the aquarium, it is highly recommended to buy your tickets online in advance. Since there’s a limited number of tickets sold every hour, you might have to wait a long time to enter the aquarium, especially on weekends and holidays.

There are a few ways to buy your tickets online:

  • Using Kaiyukan official website: They use the Webket platform, so you have to register an account to buy your tickets. Keep in mind that some overseas cards aren’t accepted for online payments on Japanese websites. If this happens, use the next option.
  • Using a third-party vendor like Klook, for example: Klook allows online payments using most bank cards, and you can keep all your tickets in one place. Also, if you’re visiting other places in Osaka, you might want to consider the Klook Pass Osaka, which can save you some money by booking your activities together.
Klook.com

How Much Time do Visitors Spend at Osaka Aquarium?

Hammerhead shark at Osaka Aquarium
Hammerhead shark at Osaka Aquarium
© Ana Costa

The time visitors spend at Osaka Aquarium can vary depending on their level of interest and how busy the aquarium is on the day of their visit. On average, most visitors spend about 2 to 3 hours exploring the aquarium. Here’s a breakdown to help you plan your visit:

Quick Visit (1-2 Hours)

  • Ideal for: Visitors with limited time or those with young children who may not have the patience for a longer visit.
  • What to See: Focus on the main highlights like the Pacific Ocean exhibit with the whale shark, the Antarctica exhibit with penguins, and the Great Barrier Reef exhibit.

Standard Visit (2-3 Hours)

  • Ideal for: Most visitors who want to enjoy a thorough experience without rushing.
  • What to See: You can comfortably explore all the main exhibits, take your time at each tank, and enjoy some educational displays and interactive features.

Extended Visit (3-4+ Hours)

  • Ideal for: Marine life enthusiasts, families who want to take breaks, or photographers looking for the perfect shot.
  • What to See: In addition to the main exhibits, you can attend feeding times (check out the feeding time schedule), spend more time reading the detailed information plaques, and explore nearby attractions like the Tempozan Marketplace for a meal or a shopping break.

How to Get to Osaka Aquarium?

Osaka Aquarium is conveniently located and easily accessible by public transport. The nearest station is Osakako Station on the Chuo Line, which is about a 5-minute walk from the aquarium.

Depending on where you’re coming from, you might have to change lines. Here are a few common examples:

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  • From the Kansai airport: The easiest way is to pick the limousine bus that stops right next to the aquarium.
  • From JR Osaka Station: Take the Jr Osaka Loop Line to Bentencho station, then change to the Metro Chuo Line to Osakako Station.
  • From Umeda, Shin-Osaka or Namba Station: Take the Metro Midosuji Line to Hommachi station, then change to the Metro Chuo Line to Osakako Station.

Tips for Visiting

Whale Shark Latte at Osaka Aquarium
Whale Shark Latte at Osaka Aquarium
© Ana Costa
  • Buy Tickets Online: To avoid long lines, purchase your tickets online in advance.
  • Plan your visit: Arriving when the aquarium opens will help you avoid the largest crowds. However, feeding times usually occur between 10 am and 12 pm and between 3 pm and 4.30 pm, so you might want to aim at these time slots for your visit. And remember, the last admission is always one hour before the closing time.
  • Bring a small notebook: There are animal stamps to collect at each exhibition. If you’re visiting with kids, this is a fun activity that keeps them focused. It is also a great souvenir to take home with you.
  • Bring a Camera: The exhibits are incredibly photogenic, but remember to turn off your flash to protect the animals.
  • Check the Feeding Times: Watching the animals during feeding times can be a highlight of your visit.
  • Use the coin lockers: There are coin lockers of several sizes available in the aquarium if you need to store your luggage. Depending on the locker’s size, you will pay between 300 and 1000 yen. The largest coin locker measures 46.1 cm × 64.5 cm × 116.2 cm.
  • Re-entry is possible: If you want to leave the aquarium (to have lunch, for example) and re-enter later, you are allowed to. Just go to the Service Counter near the exit and ask them to put a stamp on the back of your hand.

Nearby Attractions

After exploring the aquarium, you might want to check out these nearby attractions:

  • Tempozan Ferris Wheel: Enjoy stunning views of Osaka from one of the largest Ferris wheel in the world, located right next to the aquarium.
  • Tempozan Marketplace: A shopping mall with a variety of stores, restaurants, and even a Lego Discovery Center.
  • Universal Studios Japan: A short train ride away, this popular theme park offers a day of fun and excitement. And if you want to save money on Express Passes, check out my article where I explain how I entered Super Nintendo World twice on the same day without buying an expensive Express Pass.

My Personal Experience

Visiting Osaka Aquarium was a highlight of my trip to Japan. The incredible size of the Pacific Ocean exhibit, with its whale sharks and rays, was breathtaking. I could have stayed hours just looking at the amazing whale sharks. I loved the variety of exhibits and the educational displays that explained each habitat in detail. It’s a perfect place to spend a few hours, if you want to relax a little, or if you’re just looking for an enjoyable way to spend a day in Osaka.

After the Osaka aquarium, I went to TeamLab Botanical Gardens for the evening visit, which was a great way to end a day of exploring. If you want to have an idea of what it is all about, you can read my other article about TeamLab Botanical Gardens.

Be sure to plan ahead, buy your tickets in advance, and enjoy all that this fantastic aquarium has to offer. You will have a great day exploring Osaka highlights!

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