Well, it was bound to happen! We’ve done Sumida Aquarium and Osaka Aquarium Kaiyūkan. Now, we can cross Kyoto Aquarium (京都水族館, Kyōto Suizokukan) off our Japanese Aquariums list! Located in the northern part of Umekoji Park, the modern complex of Kyoto Aquarium is a relaxing 10 to 15 minute walk from Kyoto Station.
Is it any good? Well, it looked quite big to us on the outside and we went in thinking we’d spend a couple of hours there at least. To our disappointment, we found that there wasn’t really all that much to see. When we came to the end of it, we were left scratching our heads and asking “where’s the rest?”. That’s not to say it’s not worth visiting. Since it’s still a fairly new aquarium (opened in 2012), everything looks clean and shiny, the enclosures modern and well-kept. Also, because it can be covered in about an hour, tourists who want to squeeze a visit to the aquarium into a packed itinerary will have no problem doing so.
There are different themed areas, or ‘zones’, that you walk through, each exhibiting specific habitats and their respective aquatic animals.
Rivers of Kyoto Zone
Sea Animals Zone
The Dolphin Stadium
Beauty of Nature Zone
Countryside of Kyoto Zone
Of particular note is the Sea Animals Zone, where you get to see fur seals and spotted seals frolicking around, and also the Penguin Zone, where dozens of adorable penguins can be seen waddling around a large rocky enclosure and diving into the pool area. And, of course, the Ocean Zone has some fancy jellyfish on display. You know me, always happy to spend ages taking pictures of jellyfish being weird and flooping around!
Umekoji Park, 35-1 Kankiji-cho
Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8835
Opening hours: 10am – 8pm (daily)
Admission: ¥2050 (adult), ¥600 (child)