Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is home to a large 5.5m male whale shark. It is known as one of the largest aquariums in the world with a total volume of 11,000 tons. It is one of the main attractions of Osaka harbour area.
So, bearing all that in mind... I had high expectations of this attraction. Largest in the world.... plus I hear "whale shark" and immediately ... my mind goes - majestic & hugeeee (cos of the word whale lol). I was prepared to be mesmerised and also whenever I visit any aquarium in the world, I compare it to our (Singapore's) SEA Aquarium.
Sorry to say, it was underwhelming :(
The aquarium is not huge. Found their main tank kinda small to be honest ... (to me just looking at it, of course I didn't go and measure how many cubic litres or what) it looked quite a bit smaller than SEA Aquarium's main tank... and then squeeze a poor whale shark in that small-ish tank. Maybe it looks so small because its a vertical tank, so it's narrow. Compared to SEA Aquarium's main tank which is not as deep, but then very broad and vast.
As for the whale shark... it was my first time seeing a live one. So that was a special experience. It's a lot smaller than I expected... like just a slightly larger looking shark. Not whale like proportions. And the way it would glide past us in its tank, it did look very peaceful.
Oh, by the way, after this trip, back in Singapore, we went back to SEA Aquarium (because Adamson was diving in its main tank), and yeah now I feel like our main tank is missing something huge and impressive. Now I find it a bit boring, cos just the usual Manta rays and GTs and some giant groupers etc. We need something new in there, guys.
Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is worth a visit if you're in Osaka and it's perfect for a wet weather day, everything is enclosed. If you have kids who love looking at marine creatures, then it's definitely a must go... our kids loved it. Prices were reasonable, at around 20 bucks an adult, 10 bucks a child, and like 5 bucks or so for kids under 6.
The Great Barrier Reef tank was closed for upgrading while we were there, so maybe once it's opened again, the whole aquarium experience would be more impressive with more to see and take in.
A very short walking distance to the aquarium is a large mall with many restaurants, shops, a two story arcade and Legoland Japan is there too.