Japan being an island, the country has close ties to the oceans and seas. And this connection is lived on through its fascinating aquariums (or 水族館, Suizokukan). If you’re planning a trip to Japan, be sure to visit some of Japan’s aquatic facilities to get up and close with its marine animals.

Below, I list the 9 best aquariums in Japan that you simply can’t miss!

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium | View on Klook

Heralded as the best and biggest aquarium in Japan and even in the world, Churami easily tops our list of must-visit Japan aquariums. It opened in 1979, and has been visited by 3 million people every year! While the aquarium boasts 75 tanks across 4 floors, its main attraction is its massive Kuroshio Tank housing numerous whale sharks. The aquarium also features hands-on exhibits of starfish and seashells, the world’s largest living coral exhibit, feedings, and animal shows.

Hakkeijima Sea Paradise | View on Klook

A leisure land surrounded by nature, this aquatic amusement park-on-an-island celebrates all manner of sea life. From walruses and polar bears to whale sharks and dolphins, you’ll have plenty to admire. The sea paradise also has restaurants, exhibitions, events, and activities—perfect for a family day out.

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan | View on Klook

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan building

This aquarium is considered the second most spectacular in Japan after Okinawa’s Churaumi Aquarium, and is also one of the biggest aquariums in Japan – the official website even claims that “Osaka’s KAIYUKAN is the world’s largest aquarium”.

It houses over 470 species on eight different floors. All of these spiral a central tank, in which a whale shark swims. Here, you can explore diverse ecosystems, from the Ring of Fire to the icy Arctic, and marvel at penguins and jellyfish.

If you’re visiting Osaka with your family (and you should! Osaka is one of the best cities for traveling with kids), don’t miss the Tempozan Giant Ferris Wheel located just next to the aquarium to enjoy one of the best views of the city. Tickets for the Ferris wheel can be purchased on-site (900 yen).

Sumida Aquarium | View on Klook

Sumida Aquarium may not be the biggest in Tokyo, but it’s one of the best spots to watch fur seals and penguins live in their comfort.

The aquarium provides a humungous indoor tank for these animals, with over 350 tons of water in an open exhibit space. It is also home to 450 sea creatures of 50 different species—including stingrays and grey nurse sharks. Another one of its famous features is the aquarium’s interactive displays; looking through the Aqua Scope viewports stimulates a stunning underwater view.

Located on the 4th and 5th floor of Tokyo Skytree, it is easily accessible and can be combined with a visit to the tower’s 350m high observatory. Two penguins in one stone. Combo tickets can also be booked in advance on Klook.

Aquamarine Fukushima | View on TripAdvisor

If you’re seeking a memorable family weekend trip, Aquamarine Fukushima is where to head. After its reconstruction in 2011, it has welcomed visitors to its diverse display of marine life. The aquarium is home to over 800 species of marine creatures. It also provides fun experiences for the whole family, including fishing, feeding, and backyard tours.

You can purchase your tickets online but only on Asoview and JTB, but these two websites are in Japanese. You can also simply purchase your tickets on-site in person and avoid the headache of booking on a Japanese website. Admission costs 1,850 yen per adult and 900 yen for kids.

Enoshima Aquarium | View on Klook

Enoshima has been raising jellyfish for over 50 years, and it shows! The Enoshima Aquarium’s Jellyfish Fantasy Hall is like stepping into a living painting. Giant tanks are filled with glowing jellyfish—their mesmerizing movements swirling around you like underwater ballet. It’s relaxing and breathtaking at the same time. Additionally, the aquarium sits by the Sagami Bay, and places great focus on the local sea life nearby.

Tokyo Sea Life Park | View on TripAdvisor

This sea life park is hands-down the best aquarium in Tokyo—a landmark venue for all aquatic lovers. And it’s not just an aquarium; there are also other zoo animals visitors can befriend. The Oceanarium is home to a variety of fish, while the Tropical Forest features rainforest species (such as monkeys, gorillas, and frogs). Another exhibit is the Touch Pool, where you can touch some of the aquarium’s animals, such as starfish and sea urchins.

Tickets can be purchased on-site, and the admission cost is pretty low at 700 yen for adults, while kids under 12 can enter for free.

Port of Nagoya Public Aquarium | View on Klook

This destination is considered one the biggest aquariums in Japan (and it is the largest public aquarium), comprising two separate buildings. The North Building focuses on marine mammals like dolphins, orcas, and beluga whales, while the South Building houses the massive outdoor tank showcasing diverse marine life, a stunning coral reef exhibit, and a glimpse into the deep sea.

Kamogawa Sea World | View on Klook

Located in Chiba near Tokyo, this sprawling marine adventure park blends interactive experiences with educational exhibits. Here, visitors get to learn the importance of wildlife and environmental conservation through interaction with marine creatures. There are a variety of themed zones, including the Eco Aquarium, Tropical Island, and Rocky World. You will also get to see, feel, listen, and touch the marine animals.

As the aquarium is located between 2h30 to 3 hours by train from Tokyo, visiting it can be part of a 2-day trip in Chiba. I’d recommend spending the night in the park’s hotel Kamogawa Sea World Hotel as it boasts tatami rooms, sea views, and play spaces for kids. It makes for a relaxing getaway from Tokyo.

Final Words

Once you’ve chosen your preferred aquarium(s), be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time, and take your time to enjoy the exhibits (don’t rush!). With so many things to do and see in Japan, you might be tempted to pack your schedule as much as possible, but I find the best way to enjoy yourself is to relax, take your time, and go at your own pace. And even more so with aquariums!


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