Coming in contact with dynamism of life with water together.
Text : Yukari Okouchi / Photo : Akari Kuramoto
On the west side of Kyoto station, it is becoming a trendy spot around Umekoji Park in recent years. A lot of trees were planted in the town and an aquarium and a railway museum attract people from outside. One of them, Kyoto Aquarium was opened as the first inland large-scale aquarium in 2012 in Japan. This is their fifth year and they were renovated extensively and reborn to exhibit a new attractiveness of Kyoto more.
After you go through the entrance, you will encounter creatures of Kamogawa River and Yuragawa River in ‘Kyono-kawa’ area. Japanese giant salamander, a special natural treasure, will capture your eyes above all things. When you see Japanese giant salamander lively right in front of you, you will be amazed by its existence because it fascinates you humorously on the corner of its aquarium through its appearance ‘a living fossil’ that hasn’t changed since the ancient time.
In the renewed area of ‘Kyono-umi’, on the 2nd floor, it shows Kyoto more to the visitors through the sea. About 50 different kinds, 6,000 sea lives are going around in the gigantic aquarium which carries about 500 tons of artificial sea water. It is very dynamic to see a pack of shiny Japanese sardines and pitted stingrays swimming around leisurely as if we cut off a world of ocean into a piece. You will wonder if you were in the ocean because you can take a look at all those sea lives very closely. You can also see Japanese tilefish, called Guji that usually shows up on a dining table of Kyoto people and Hamo (conger pike) as well.
One of their features is a lively dolphin performance called ‘IrukaliveKiitene (A sound of dolphin’s live performance)’. A dolphin trainer and a dolphin performer named ‘rakuu’ work very well together and they excite the audiences by involving them into the show. Behind the dolphins jumping with spray of water, you can see a seasonal background such as spring fresh green and autumn tint. Sometimes, you will see Shinkansen (bullet train) going back and forth. In addition of ‘Dolphin and Splash!!’ limited program in summer season till the end of September, it will bring more visitors and gets more excited.
You will get healed by cute dolphins and penguins there, and moreover you can get to know more about riparian life in Kyoto. On the other hand, these exhibitions will tell us several kinds of environmental issues. Changes in the natural environments, increases of endangered species, and I heard that Japanese giant salamander in Kamogawa River is in danger because of hybridization with foreign species.
One of the aquarium works is to protect these creatures and you can feel a chain of various lives through different kinds of exhibitions here. Not only kyoto has its Sanshisuimei scenic beauty, but also it creates irreplaceable lives here. Visiting the aquarium in Kyoto is the meaningful touring route surprisingly.
ADDRESS : 35-1 Kankiji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto City (Inside of Umekoji Park)
PHONE : +81(0)75-354-3130 (10:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m.)
HOURS : 10:00 a.m. ~ 6:00 p.m. (changes depending on the season. Entrance reception will close 1hr before the closing time)
July 16th ~18th, July 23rd ~ Aug 12th, Aug 16th ~31st : till 8:00 p.m. Aug 13th ~ 15th : 8:30 a.m. ~ 9:00 p.m.
CHARGE : Adult ; 2,050 yen. High school & University students ; 1,550 yen. Junior and elementary school students ; 1,000 yen. More than 3 years old ; 600 yen.
WEBSITE : http://www.kyoto-aquarium.com/