I was flicking through my photo albums from my time in Japan and I decided to dedicate a special post to one of the most awesome experiences I’ve had: visiting the Kaiyukan Aquarium in beautiful Osaka! If you ever are in ‘Japan’s kitchen’ (this is the nickname that Osaka has, probably because it’s a gourmand’s heaven) and like me you’re in love with the big blue ocean, then you really can’t miss it.
This breathtaking place is listed in the Top 10 of the largest aquariums in the world. Some numbers? 30 000 living creatures, 740 different species and a total water volume of 10 million liter!
Location – Tempozan Harbor Village of Osaka’s bay area (near Tempozan’s Ferris Wheel)
Theme and concept – Designed by American architect Peter Chermayeff, the Kaiyukan (a japanese word that means ‘playing in the sea pavilion’) was based on the Gaia hypothesis proposed by Dr. James Lovelock: an ecological theory, according to which all the living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings (like volcanoes) to form, and function as, a single organism, maintaining and perpetrating the conditions for life on the planet.
In the Pacific ocean we can notice a curious and astounding overlap between the Pacific Rim volcanic belt (constantly shaken by eruptions) and the area with the most varied and rich biodiversity: the ‘Ring of Fire’ meets the ‘Ring of Life’, this is the concept that the Kaiyukan embodies.
Structure of the Kaiyukan – All the living species of this aquarium are organised in 16 different large tanks, each representing a specific region of the Pacific Rim and recreating its natural environment. Visitors can take a tour starting from the 8th floor and walking down the spiral ramp that wraps around the biggest central tank called ‘Pacific Ocean’. This tank is 9 metres deep, contains more than 5000 tons of water and is house to the whale sharks, the largest fish species in the world.
Not only fish – Amphibians, birds, reptiles, mammals, marine invertebrates, plants… The Kaiyukan composes a complete biosphere. Don’t forget to visit the more recent and new interactive exhibition area for a thorough sensory experience of the natural environment!
I’ll leave you with some more pictures I’ve taken of this dazzling place, enjoy!
[Oh, jellyfish. I love jellyfish. I spent more than an hour staring at it, hypnotized. I just love jellyfish. Of course with a glass pan between me and it, otherwise “aaaargh, back off!”]