Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is located in Tempozan Harbor Village which is close by Osaka Bay. It is one of the world’s largest aquariums, and certainly the most impressive aquarium in Japan. Because the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan is so big, you should give yourself at least two hours to walk through the many marine habitats that house charismatic animals like manta rays, otters, penguins and sharks!
The aquarium is organized into 15 zones which represent different environments around the Pacific Rim and houses 30,000 animals representing 620 different species. The 15 zones are arranged in a descending spiral that starts with the “Japan Forest” area and descends down to the “Pacific Ocean” level where you can view a huge 9 meter deep, and 34 meter long fish tank which is home to a variety of species including the world’s largest fish, the whale shark.
In general the aquarium does a very good job in recreating environments in which the animals can feel comfortable and this makes for a very educational experience for visitors of all ages.
The Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan’s opening hours vary by season. The Aquarium is generally open from 10:00 to 20:00, opening earlier on some days during busy travel season.
Adults (aged 16+): 2,300 yen
Senior citizens (aged 60+): 2,000 yen
Children (aged 7 – 15): 1,200 yen
Pre-school children (aged 4 – 6): 600 yen
Children (aged 3 or younger): Free
Audio guides are available in English, Chinese, Thai, and Korean for a rental fee of 500 yen.
Tempozan Harbor Village
Close by Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan are a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment facilities. Tempozan Marketplace is a shopping mall with a variety of souvenir shops, dining facilities and a Legoland Playground.
Naniwa Kuishinbo Yokocho is a food hall designed to resemble Osaka streets in the 1960s. It houses 20 different eateries serving Osaka favorites such as takoyaki octopus dumplings, ikayaki grilled squid with soy sauce, and kushikatsu skewered kebabs of meat, fish, and vegetables. There is also a cruise ship called the Santa Maria which is modelled on the ship that Christopher Columbus used to discover the Americas. Twice the size of the original boat, this one gives 45 minute rides around Osaka Bay. Hourly daytime cruises start at 11.00 and cost 1,600 yen for adults, and 800 yen for children. The night-time cruise starts at 19.00 and must be reserved. This “Twilight Cruise” lasts for 60 minutes and costs 2,100 yen for adults and 1,050 yen for children.
The Tempozan Ferris Wheel
No trip to Tempozan Harbor Village would be complete without a ride on the enormous Tempozan Ferris Wheel, which at 112.5 meters high and 100 meters across, is one of the world’s biggest Ferris wheels. A ride on the wheel gives super dramatic views over Osaka bay. The wheel is also illuminated each night in colors which signify the next day’s weather forecast, red means the next day will be sunny, green means it will be cloudy and blue means it is going to rain! The wheel is open from 10.00 – 22.00 and last entry is at 21.30. Tickets for the Tempozan Ferris Wheel are 800 yen.
Captain Line Ferry Service
You can easily spend a whole morning or afternoon at Tempozan Harbor Village. For a complete family day out it is possible to combine a trip here with a trip to Universal Studios Japan (USJ). USJ is actually just ten minutes away on the Captain Line Ferry service.
One-way tickets are priced as follows:
Adults (aged 13+): 700 yen
Children (aged 7 – 12): 400 yen
Pre-school children (aged 4 – 6): 300 yen
For further details check the official Captain Line website.
If you spend a whole day at both Tempozan Harbor Village and USJ you may want to maximize your time by staying at a nearby hotel. For a list of recommended hotels near USJ see our article Universal Studios Japan.
Close by Tempozan Harbor Village is the Hotel Seagull Tempozan Osaka. This hotel has twin rooms, double rooms, triple rooms, and suites suitable for families, and a family friendly casual restaurant on the 2nd floor. All guest rooms have views over Osaka Bay and are supplied with flat-screen TVs, humidifiers, refrigerators, and electric kettles. All guest rooms also have free Wi-Fi. The hotel is a 4 minute walk from the aquarium, and 10 minutes from Osakako Station.
Access to Osaka Aquarium
Tempozan Harbor Village is in the Minato Ward of Osaka close by Osaka Bay. You can access this amusement complex by train or by bus.
From Osaka Station take Osaka City Bus #88 and get off at the Tempozan bus stop. The rides takes approximately 45 minutes.
From Namba Station take Osaka City Bus #60. This will get you to the Tempozan stop in 40 minutes. Both of these buses have a flat rate fare of 210 yen.
There are also limousine buses that take you directly from Kansai International Airport to Tempozan Harbor Village in just 60 minutes for a fee of 1,550 yen for adults and 780 yen for children.
Tempozan Harbor Village is served by Osakako Station on the Chuo Subway Line.
From Osaka Station you can take the Osaka Loop Line to Bentencho Station and then transfer to the Chuo Subway Line. The total fare will be 400 yen and it will take you just 17 minutes.
From Namba Subway Station take the Midosuji Line to Hommachi Station and then transfer to the Chuo Subway Line. The total fare will be 280 yen for a 20 minute ride.
Discount Combination Travel Tickets
Various one-day “Osaka Kaiyu” tickets are available which will cover both entry to the aquarium and at least part of your journey costs there. Which ticket you buy and how much it costs will depend on your starting point and which rail line you use.
The Osaka City Osaka Kaiyu Ticket is the standard ticket option. This ticket includes entry to the aquarium, unlimited bus, subway, and tram-line journeys within Osaka City, and discounts at 30 tourist sites and facilities in Osaka.
The standard fare for this ticket is 2,550 yen for adults and 1,300 yen for children. If you intend to travel on a private railway line on the same day as your visit to the aquarium you can buy a different version of the Osaka Kaiyu ticket. This will costs a little bit more but will give you unlimited train rides on that railway. There are different versions of the Osaka Kaiyu ticket for the Kintetsu, Keihan, Nankai, Hankyu, and Hanshin railways.
Because there is no JR version of the Osaka Kaiyu ticket, if you are traveling on JR railways into Osaka, you should buy the standard Osaka City version of the Osaka Kaiyu ticket and use municipal transport to visit the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan.
Article and original photos by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.