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Welcome to my blog!

If you are in for an adventure paired with lengthy, quirky, brutal honest thoughts then you are in the right place.

My name is Arisa and was a cosplayer for 12 years in Malaysia before settling down in Kyoto, Japan. Exploring Japan full time has been a long time dream of mine, so let's explore it together!
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Kyoto Aquarium | 京都水族館

Did you guys know it took me like 3 months of living in Japan before I realized that my current rented house is located next to Kyoto Aquarium lol, shows how unobservant I am when I’m walking. So blur sia.. previously I always wondered why there are so many tourists and kids passing by my area daily and it can get really noisy when they throw a tantrum literally outside my door lol. It was then the danna asked whether I’ve visited the aquarium before, despite my numerous visits to Kyoto somehow “visiting aquarium” was never on my “To Do” list and the last time I’ve visited on overseas (or bridge next door) was in Singapore and that was like 17 years ago? Pfft lol.. and the one in Malaysia was during a primary school trip.

My impressions of aquariums were like zoos, what can be interesting about all these animals I’ve read about in the Encyclopedia as a 6 year old (not every 6 year old’s choice of storybooks lol, yes I was that weird nerd kid), they are just animals held in captive for people to see. That actually got me thinking whether is it actually ethical for animals to be kept in such situations, well if I were to see it from a learning point of view seeing live animals and interacting with them definitely encourages a child’s mind to explore since at that stage not many are like the minority who likes to read (lil penguin please take this reading trait from me lol) and this can be considered a good family bonding activity together.

I’m alright with animals in captivity as long they are given the right kind of enclosure that doesn’t restrict their daily habitual activities or cause them any stress. There are so many zoos around the world neglecting animal welfare that it’s really painful to read about. I’m no animal activist because I see both sides of the coin, an animal born in captivity can’t survive in the wild as their whole life they have not seen beyond the zoo’s walls and by putting them “out there”, it’s like condemning them to their deaths. Some might beg to differ, so I’m gonna stop before I create an unnecessary heated debate on this blog entry lol. I’m lazy to argue with people because I’m all about “agree to disagree” as I’ve better things to use my energy on rather waste it on a stranger’s opinions. Don’t like what you read? Close and move on people!

As I was saying, one day the danna told me we should visit the aquarium since he has never been there as well that’s really a joke because he’s like a local and has been living here for about 3 decades! And the best part his parents who are in their late 60s has never once visited the aquarium as well because they have no interest in it haha. Well since it’s walking distance from my current place might as well just pay a visit (also for entry! geddit?? Sorry for being lame lol) right?

Also Kyoto is nowhere near the sea by the way it’s more of a crater, unlike Osaka and the nearest you’ll ever get to see the sea in Kyoto would probably be 2 hours drive up to Amanohashidate (click to read more) lol, so why have an aquarium in Kyoto right? Well, Kyoto has abundant of water resources running all over and when there’s water there is life in it, this is an aquarium that’s not limited JUST to sea creatures, there are many other aquatic lives out there that we don’t know about. Guess that is what makes Kyoto Aquarium a unique experience for visitors.

These HUMONGOUS salamanders live in the rivers of Kyoto, makes you think twice before taking a dip in kamogawa now eh? They are considered "living fossils" and are actually quite agile (only when it comes to food) despite its size. Don't let that lazy jenga positing fool you guys lol. 

Most people would usually skip Kyoto Aquarium and head for Osaka’s aquarium instead as it’s considered one of the biggest within Kansai region but for families with small children who probably would be bored with temple visits this would be a good place to stop by and it’s not too far from Kyoto station, also next to the aquarium there is a railway museum you can kill two birds with one stone and spend a whole day in this area! Yes, Kyoto isn’t just about old buildings and temples lol there are other family friendly locations which I’ll slowly list out on my blog because my future is soon all about trying to keep my kid (and myself) entertained.

You'll pass this area on the way to the railway museum, they serve really yummy milk soft serve here and donuts shaped like train handles! 

100% Kyoto sourced milk, super yummy but under summer's heat it didn't survive longer than 10 secs before it started to melt lol.

I’ve yet to visit the railway museum myself because I spent almost the whole day at the aquarium itself (we went around lunch time), but I’ll save this next visit when lil penguin gets here!
It's not too far, just walk straight, right pass Kyoto aquarium for about 500 meters (ish).

Not sure if you guys have noticed that as you go all around Kyoto there are actually iron figures of things/ animals that represents Kyoto like this cute penguin family facing the entrance of Kyoto station waving at people.

Outside Kyoto station!

You can get a map showing all these iron figures (if it’s your mission to take photographs with every single one of them lol) at the tram information counter located right outside of Kyoto Aquarium.

This is the information counter lol, it's inside a tram

Saw someone left their cute dog waiting next to the statue 

I recalled my visit to Aquaria KLCC (in Malaysia) more than a decade ago, there wasn’t much to see and I didn’t find it that impressive that’s one of the reasons why I never returned again after that also to avoid the constant crowd of school children visiting. I’ve never been to Osaka’s aquarium so I can’t make any comparisons here but for my opinion I do like Kyoto’s aquarium because it isn’t as crowded to the point you feel suffocated from being squished left and right. It’s quite spacious and the animals shows are really entertaining even for adults, what made me the happiest was getting to see tons of penguins walking around looking so derp lol. Prior to this, penguins have never been an animal of interest of mine just cats but now I’m obsessed with them!

Well marketed snacks, penguin onigiri! This snack kiosk is located next to the Seal’s tank near the aquarium’s entrance, and not sure if it’s just me who thinks that Japan’s themepark/ attraction places in general all serves really decent tasting food, not just for décor purposes. Because usually pretty looking foods don’t taste as good as it looks from my experience in other countries. It’s just “insta-worthy” lol. Who else agrees with this?

This floating fat seal gave me a fright for suddenly floating up this glass tube lol, i literally jumped when it surfaced out of no where.

Super smart seal who only listens when there is food bribe lol.
No food, no talk hoomans!

Very clean environment and you can see that the animals here are well cared for, super fat and minding their own business when they are not performing. It’s not just all boring walkthroughs, there are shows lined up throughout the day like the seals will perform a couple of tricks, swim with their trainers and wave at the crowd. Rather a cheeky bunch too, or if you are interested in watching the penguins’ feeding session (I missed this because was too busy being amused with the fat floating seal lol), and they save the best show for the last which is the Dolphin show! 

My Favorite Section

Naturally looking forward to this part of the exhibition lol, adult penguins aren't so cute but penguin chicks are just so adorable and fluffy! 
From the seal tank, there are actually penguin foot prints on the ground for you to follow, it will lead you directly to the penguins lol, really love how they made everything so interactive that even adults like myself find it amusing and cute. 

Different penguin species painted on the wall, didn't know there were that many!
One of those information you won't google for fun lol, i probably only know a handful of them (common ones).

The real penguins aren't amused with the fake ones lol

The danna trying to interact with the penguins, seems to be working haha!

Always wondered what kind of species is Koupen-chan, the closet we found was this chick

There's a schedule for their feeding sessions which we unfortunately missed :(

What do you call a group on penguins?

"A colony, a rookery or a Waddle" - applies to only on land
A group of penguins floating in the ocean is called a raft.

Okay, i'm mind blown because i never knew what they were called lol. 
Thanks to Google now we know!

Main Hall

A lucky shot with the stingray!

 The main tank

Jellyfish exhibition

They look more like cells in your body lol

Dolphin Show

My camera ran out of battery at the penguin exhibition so i had to rely on my phone camera :(
One of the "best" shots i managed to capture during the performance 

The seats for this segment gets filled really quickly, so best to head there like 30 mins before the show starts to secure a seat and if you would like a “close” view yet avoid being drenched at the same time, I would advise to avoid the first three front rows lol. From fourth row onwards the risk of getting splashed by the dolphin is pretty minimal, probably small bits here and there but if you are in for the splash then by all means get an umbrella/ raincoat/ change of clothes ready.

Tip: Sit on the 4th-5th row for a good view and minimal splashing!

It’s really a mind blowing performance by these intelligent creatures, it’s like they understood every single thing their trainers were saying, makes me as a human feel so incompetent because an animal understands Japanese more fluently than me lol. Would most definitely visit the aquarium again just for the dolphin show!

Do be careful while walking near the tank because these cheeky dolphins will intentionally come out and splash at you.

Coloring activities for children, limited to 500 visitors a day.

Got some Takoyaki from the Cafeteria to eat during the Dolphin show

The dolphin arena is located near the cafeteria, visitors can rest and grab a quick bite here do some small souvenir shopping before the Dolphin show. Prior to the cafeteria would be an activity section for the children, there are coloring/ arts & craft activities they can participate in and bring back. Also a great area to take photos with exotic sea creatures, and just when I assumed ALL aquariums were the same, over here is where I learned of these huge ass creatures living in the rivers of Kyoto- A giant salamander lol and I’m not exaggerating about the size. They are almost the size of an adult human with beady eyes and piling on top of each other lazing around makes you feel all squeamish inside. Gross.

But the magic of Japan is they always managed to make the most disgusting looking things on earth look cute lol, seriously it’s a skill and not everyone can do it; reminded me of the anime about a cockroach girl, like seriously cockroach + Lolita sized girl crossed together?

Giant Salamander plushies decorating the walls, so soft and cuddly looking that you can’t help bringing one home lol. Even in the cafeteria you can dine together with them, they are large enough to occupy some seats, so hope you don’t mind sharing tables with salamander-chan. 

All the penguin stuff lol

Spot the imposter!

Saw this penguin table while exiting the aquarium, unfortunately it isn't for sale or else i would have brought one home lol

Gotta warn you guys about the souvenir shop towards the exit of the aquarium, think I easily spent like 7,000 yen+ on cute stuff, too hard to resist. It’s really a dangerous zone, everything seems to call you like the keychains, towels with common names on it, t-shirts, figurines, character snacks and various types of plushies and this is the only areas that’s constantly packed to the brim as it’s just a small room filled with goods. I can assure you that you’ll definitely come out of Kyoto aquarium with a new favourite aquatic creature friend lol or maybe it’s just me who has no control when it comes to cute stuff haha!

Entrance fee :
  • adults 2050 yen (abit steep) 
  • College & high school students 1550 yen 
  • Elementary school 1000 yen 
  • Children below 3 years old 600 yen 

If you are planning to visit the aquarium at least 2-3 times in a year, it’s more worth it to purchase their annual passport which costs 4,100 yen only! I might probably need to get this next year lol.

Yours Truly,

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