Located in Ikebukuro, the Sunshine Aquarium is something interesting to see. I wouldn’t say it is a must see, but it is something worth seeing while in Tokyo. Previously I believed that all aquariums and zoos were the same because they usually have the same types animals from around the world. I was wrong about this and found that though there are many similar animals exhibits, there are also other unique animals that other aquariums and zoos do not have. Sunshine Aquarium is one of those that, though small, has some unique animals I have not previously seen in other aquariums.
Need to know info.
Sunshine Aquarium has been recently remodeled in the summer of 2011. The aquarium features an aquarium tank, reptile exhibit, marine garden, and performance shows. Here are some information to know before you go.
- Adult (16+) 1800 Yen or about $18
- Child (7-15) 900 Yen or about $9
- Child (4-6) 600 Yen or about $6
- Senior (65+) 1500 Yen or about $15
Hours of operation
- 10:00-20:00 (April 1 – October 31)
- 10:00-18:0 (November 1 – March 31)
- Sunshine Aquarium is open everyday
- If you are coming from Ikebukuro Station, take the East exit and follow the hoards of people going up sunshine 60-dori street. There are a lot of shops along the way and is a great place to hang out at night.
- Keep walking about 10 minutes and you will see the Sunshine City building on your right.
- Enter and head to the information counter. They will give you a map of Sunshine City and tell you to go up the escalator and through the glass doors.
- Keep going straight pass the next information counter till you hit the 2nd information counter.
- There you take a left to the elevators which should have signs pointing to the Sunshine Aquarium.
- Take those elevators to the rooftop and the ticket counter is to your right as you exit.
Sunshine Aquarium review
Sunshine Aquarium though smaller than other aquariums, has a great layout allowing them to fit many different exhibits on 2 floors and an outside marine garden. When you enter the first floor of the aquarium you are greeted by creatures from the coral reef. One of my favorite marine life on display was the garden eels and sea angels. There is also a sea otter exhibit, but it was a little late and he was already half asleep when we went.
The water show
After the reef animals, it opens up to the aquarium seating area to watch the water show. The water show is on every hour from 10:30 – 17:30, with the last show at 18:15. It is about 10 minutes long with an announcer speaking in Japanese. There is also a diver that communicates with an underwater microphone as they swim around the tank feeding the sting rays, fish and sharks. There is also a huge moray eel in the tank, I would say it was about 4 ft long but you can be the judge of that in the picture below.
I hate Jelly Fish, but they are nice to look at
After the water show you continue through the jelly fish exhibit. There you can walk under them and there are a few different species in glass tubes swimming around. Though jelly fish are great to look at behind a wall of glass, I really hate them. Growing up in Hawaii, you are bound to encounter jelly fish, particularly portuguese man o’ war. Let me just say that I got stung a lot. Sometimes even when I wore a full wet suit I would get stung on my neck, wrist, or ankles. It’s like they are attracted to me and know how to get me. Needless to say I hate jelly fish.
After the jelly fish is a medium size sunfish or mola mola. It was about 4 ft tall, but not nearly as big as it can be, so I would consider it medium sized. It’s amazing to see that something that starts out as 2.5 mm long, can grow to be 3.2 meters long and weight up to 5100 lbs.
I love cuttlefish
Next came the squid and cuttlefish, which was another part of the aquarium that I liked. I think the cuttlefish look pretty cute and I think you would agree with me from the picture below.
Reptiles and more
After admiring the cuttlefish, you go upstairs to some fresh water fish from the amazon and a bunch of reptiles. There are a bunch of toads, frogs and couple of lizards here, nothing too interesting or uncommon. There was also an exhibit of the mangrove forest, featuring a small display of mud skippers, snails and hermit crabs.
Next was the great barrier reef exhibit which was full of colorful fish and different types of coral. It was a great display of how a salt water aquarium should look like.
As always there is a gift shop at the end of the tour, where you can buy a bunch of souvenirs and snacks. In the gift shop, there is a viewing area for the marine garden to watch the sea lions and seals doing their thing. Though we got there later in the night and the marine garden shows were closed. The animals were all asleep except for the seals, who were still playing around in the tank when we went down. To get to the exit you must pass through the marine garden, which hosts the sea lion, seals penguins, and pelican exhibits.
Again the Sunshine Aquarium is not a must see attraction, but is worth your while, if you are in the area. Personally I think the price of 1800 Yen is a little steep, but then again I paid over $50 to catch a 1 hr train just to see a zoo in Asahikawa. You would think that Sunshine Aquarium would be a place packed with children and families, but it was more so filled with couples on dates. Besides the aquarium there are a bunch of things to do while in Sunshine City and a night life right outside in Ikebukuro. Tripadvisor ranks Sunshine Aquarium 3 out of 22 things to do in the Toshima area. Check out what others have to say about the Sunshine Aquarium.
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