September 8, 2012
If you feel like going to an aquarium while you are in Kyoto, there is a great aquarium not far from Kyoto Station. It is a new kind of aquarium, where visitors can have fun by seeing, learning, and touching.
From a simple drop of water, the story of life begins. A drop of water, born at the source of a river, joins other drops and becomes a river that flows into the sea, and then eventually comes back to the mountain. Whenever water circulates, innumerable lives are supported. This theme of water’s role in the cycle of life is a big part of the Kyoto Aquarium. Visitors can have fun and can learn about the relationship between water and life.
The 13 Zones of the Kyoto Aquarium
There are 13 zones in the Kyoto Aquarium. Each zone has a particular theme. The most unique of the 13 zones called “Rivers of Kyoto”, which you cannot find in any other aquariums in Japan.
Rivers of Kyoto Zone
This section is representative of the Kamo and Yura rivers of Kyoto. Here you can see the Japanese giant salamander, a special natural treasure of Japan. They are decreasing because there are increasingly mixed with Chinese salamanders, So it’s a rare creature. In this zone, there are also chars, landlocked salmons, unique carps, and so on.
Sea Animals Zone
In this zone there are very cute seals swimming around the pool and sometimes sleeping on the rocks. They are so lovely. And if you want to, you can get your pictures taken with cute models of fur seals, dolphins, and penguins.
In this area visitors can see many cute Cape Penguins. They are the small mascots of this aquarium. These penguins are friendly and make you happy.
In this zone, you can see many kinds of fish swimming in a big pool, such as colorful fish, turtles, rays, etc. This pool recreates the seas of Japan. It has tide pools, caves, and a continental shelf and sand banks. Small fish form groups and swim together. On the other hand, there are large fish swimming alone. It’s quite interesting to see.
The Ocean zone is divided into 4 sections: Coral Seas, Fun Learning at the Beach, World of Invertebrates, and the Sea of Kyoto.
The Coral Seas section represents a dazzling world of evocative treasure boxes. You can enjoy viewing a variety of fish of different shapes and brilliant colors.
Fun Learning at the Beach represents aquatic life such as starfish, bullhead sharks, and so on. In this section you can also have fun touching starfish.
In the World of Invertebrates section, you can enjoy seeing invertebrate animals, such as jellyfish, octopus, and squid. You will also see crustaceans like shrimp, crab, and so on.
In the Sea of Kyoto section, you can enjoy seeing fish that are used in traditional Kyoto dishes. The daggertooth pike is one example. It is called hamo in Japanese. Hamo is used in various kinds of dishes, for example, shabu shabu (hot-pot), sashimi, and tempura.
Here is the place to have fun seeing a cute dolphin show. The dolphins are curious, smart, and friendly. You can see dolphins jumping, turning, and shaking hands with visitors. You may be surprised at their physical ability and natural behavior. Make sure you enjoy the show!
The Event Hall is located below the stands of the Dolphin Stadium. Here, you can take part in a workshop involving a craft-making activity. You can also learn about “life” and “environment” through this activity. For example, you will use items related to sea or scrap wood, then they will change to wonderful things. However, these activities cost money, depending on the content, so make sure to check the price before participating.
Beauty of Nature Zone
In this zone, there are many species of extremely rare wildlife in Kyoto, such as loach called Dojyo in Japanese, a unique Japanese turtle. These days, species of extremely rare wildlife are very difficult to see in daily life. This zone introduces rare species and tells Kyoto’s history and culture which related to rare species of life on display. So you will know about Kyoto and rare species together.
Countryside of Kyoto Zone
This zone reconstructs the traditional Japanese countryside in a small park. It’s quite interesting. You may find little birds and insects here. It’s a peaceful place, so you may forget that you are in the center of a big city like Kyoto.
If you want to buy some souvenirs, there is a good gift shop in the aqaurium. There are many original goods in the shop, such as cute stuffed animals,, straps, magnets, stationery goods, confectionery, etc. And almost of these goods are related to Kyoto as well, so actually you can’t buy these in some other places.
There are three cafes in the aquarium: the Sea Animal Café, Dolphin Stadium Café, and Sanshisuimei Café. In the Sanshisuimei Café, there are some unique dishes using Kyoto vegetables or Kyoto pickles. In the Sea Animal Café, you can buy Aquarium Bread (Suizoku Pan), which are cute and famous in this aquarium.
Individuals: Adults \2000, High school students \1500, Junior high school and Elementary school students \1000, and Children \600.
If you want annual passport you pay double individual price. Then you can come whenever you want for an entire year.
Groups: (With 20 or more members) Adults\1800, High school students \1350, Junior high school and Elementary school students \900, and Children (aged 3 and over) \540.
School Groups: Adults and high school students ￥1200Junior high school students \720, Elementary school students \500, and Preschoolers \360.
Open 365 days a year
Operating Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 17:00 p.m.
How to get there
The aquarium is located in Umekoji Park, just a 15 min. walk west from Kyoto Station’s central exit.
If you take Hankyu railway, get off at Omiya station and then take bus No. the 18, 18 special or 71 or 206 or 207 to Nanajo Omiya/KYOTO AQUARIUM.