Talk about a change of scenery. For the last couple of days Ryan and I had been taking in a lot of Kyoto’s well known ancient attractions, in other words, castles, temples and shrines, but now having both seen more than enough in this category, we decided to take a break and check out a few different attractions in this culturally rich city.
So naturally we started with an… aquarium.
Opened in March 2012 in Umekoji Park, about one kilometer west of Kyoto Station, Kyoto Aquarium is a small (compact) two-story facility that is divided into nine zones with various themes, and exhibiting a variety of aquatic animals.
Smaller than Japan’s other more famous aquariums, Kyoto Aquarium is a little unique in the fact that Kyoto itself is an inland city and nowhere near the sea!
However, surrounded by mountains on three sides, Kyoto has historically always been water rich, thanks to the abundance of rivers that flow into it, and as such, it then makes sense that Kyoto Aquarium places much emphasis on river aquatic life – in fact, it even has a rather unique outdoor river zone to explore!
There were lots of preschool groups on school outings visiting the aquarium on the day, which meant that the atmosphere was quite excitable (noisy, but in a good way) – which is probably why Ryan and I then so thoroughly enjoyed the quick but entertaining dolphin and penguin show at the aquarium’s neat little dolphin stadium.
(Confirmed, you can never not enjoy watching dolphins at play!)
Also, I hugged a rather large salamander.
In the end, it was a nice change of pace and an enjoyable enough visit – though it did remind me once again just how much the Two Oceans Aquarium back home in Cape Town really does need a dolphin pool! Sharks aren’t nearly as entertaining…