Friday, January 31, 2020

Other Bits - My 2019 Japan Trip - Pt 2 (Osaka Aquarium - Kaiyukan)

Osaka's Kaiyukan Aquarium is one of only a handful of aquariums in the world that houses live whale sharks. And Kaiyukan has not just 1 but 2 of them in the same tank!
Right outside the entrance is the gigantic Tempozan Ferris Wheel! I don't really have the actual measurement but as a guide, just look at the Lego Giraffe which is roughly 18-20-feet tall. So a guestimate is that the Ferris Wheel would be at least 120-150 feet tall.
At the other side of the building, which is also the Port of Osaka, you can get a pretty good view of the Osaka Bay. 
Here you will also find a replica of Copenhagen's iconic the Little Mermaid statue.
In the main tank (located at the centre of the building itself, spanning 3 levels) is where visitors will see the Whale Sharks, Hammerhead Sharks and Manta Rays (which was a very pleasant surprise for me as I love Mantas and didn't expect to see them here) along with Giant Trevallies, Giant Groupers and various types of rays and sharks (including the Wobbegong & Port Jackson Sharks)!

This lil' fella (Giant Grouper) is about 5 feet and probably would weigh about 200kg.

Although I get to see the Whale Sharks, I was a little disappointed as they both were not full grown adults (based on their size). A full sized Whale Shark can go up to 40-50 feet long. These 2 were around 20-25 feet each.

There are 2 main types of Manta:
1) Giant Manta (Manta Birostris) - wingspans can be up to 20 feet
2) Reef Manta (Manta Alfredi) - wingspans can be around 12 feet

The ones in Kaiyukan are the Reef Mantas, smaller cousins to the Giant Mantas. Nonetheless, they are mesmerizing to behold - graceful and majestic.

Of course, once we move away from the deep oceans, there are tanks that hold specimens from the Brackish and Freshwater environments.

There was another special area that's almost completely dark where the tanks were all lit by black light.
 Another pleasant surprise for me was that there were Sun Fishes in Kaiyukan as well. Again, although these were not the full sized specimens (which can grow up to 7 feet), these were about 4-5 feet each.
Once we have seen all the specimens in the big tanks,we move on to the smaller tanks where visitors are treated to creatures from the shallow reef regions.
I was really pleased to be able to see an actual Hermit Crab up close in a brightly-lit tank.
Close to the exit as you are about to leave the Aquarium, there is a petting area where you can actually touch the sharks and rays.

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