Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Himeji Aquarium

On Friday my wife and I decided to head over to the Himeji Municipal Aquarium located in the heart of Himeji City just down from the ever famous Himeji Castle. We were debating going to the beach but we decided on going to the aquarium because we both had to work later in the evening. I am so glad we did because it was interesting, fun and cheap.

We left rather late in the morning, I believe it was 10:45 or so, and go to the parking area nearest the aquarium at 11:15. We parked, which was unbelieveably cheap, at 200yen per day. But little did I know that the aquarium rests on top of a small mountain. So once we parked we had to climb for about 10 minutes up to the aquarium. It was good to get some exercise in while we were entertaining ourselves.

More about the Aquarium location:
Tegarayama Central Park

This is an Oasis-like park which is situated close to the central area of Himeji. Covering an area of approximately 116 acres the park makes use of natural features such as two hills, north and south, which are connected by a bridge. From the observation platform there are panoramic views of the Inland Sea, Seiban Hills and downtown Himeji.

Within the park there are a wide-range of facilities; these include an amusement park, an aquarium, a conservatory, a swimming pool, an athletics stadium, a science museum and a library.

At the top of the Northern hill there is a War Memorial in commemoration of all those who died during air raids throughout Japan.

So we pay our fee to enter the Himeji Aquarium. I was thinking it'd be at least 1500 yen each, but it turned out to only be 200yen each. It was unbelieveably cheap, that said the aquarium is rather small, and most of the fish are from Japan. There were about 10 outdoor exhibits, a touching pool for kids, 4 or 5 indoor exhibitions, and so on. There was even an area that taught you how to setup your own aquarium, maintain it, and enjoy nature in your home.

One of the more interesting exhibits was the giant salamander's they had. It must have been 20-30 centimeters long, and looked like a mix between a lizard and a human baby. The salamander hardly moved, looked stuffed, but was very much alive. Despite the fact, it was very exciting to see that creature.

There were countless other animals on display like penguins, manta rays, sea turtles, frogs, sea snakes, eels, giant carp, catfish, jellyfish, very strange looking turtles and so on. It was a very nice time to spend for very little money. If you are ever in the Himeji area and are looking for something else to do other than seeing Himeji Castle, why not stop by the Himeji Municipal Aquarium and feast your eyes on some of nature's wonders.

The funniest thing that happened was seeing two crabs going at it like a couple of lovesick teenyboppers. It cracked me up. Crab sex is not something you get to see on a daily basis, and seeing it nearly brought tears of laughter to me.

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