I really really need to get back on track with blogging!
Anyway, starting last Friday was the “silver week” holidays here in Japan, so Jun and I went with his family for their yearly trip down to Kanazawa. The main purpose is to eat delicious French food (to come in another post), but we also did a little bit of sightseeing. The first day, we went to the Notojima Aquarium.
The aquarium is home to 40,000 animals of approximately 500 different species found in the sea waters near Noto Peninsula. While the aquarium was a decent size, I have been to much larger ones in Okinawa and back in the States – yay for the Monterey Bay Aquarium! While I think that 1,800 yen was a little outrageous to ask for this particular aquarium, it was still worth the trip out there.
The main attraction (and also recently opened) was the Whale Shark Zone. Here, visitors can enjoy watching large sized fish species, such as the whale shark, swimming in the largest water tank along the Sea of Japan. I felt kind of bad for the whale shark having to swim around in circles in a tank that had nothing resembling its natural habitat, but it was pretty adorable.
Probably my favorite area was the “A Paradise of Dolphins” zone. In this area you can walk through one of the largest underwater tunnels in Japan and have dolphins, penguins, and lots of fish swim overhead. I felt like a little kid and starting humming “Under the Sea” and “Part of Your World” as I walked – a few kids probably thought I was nuts.
There was also a dolphin and seal (technically, it is a sea lion) show that was really cute. The theme was that the animals were going on a school field trip and had to get ready. There was one California Sea Lion (I cheered for him), five Pacific White-Sided dolphins (Jun thought they were weird looking), and one Bottle-nosed Dolphin who did all sorts of adorable tricks, gags, and amazing jumps.
There were several other areas, including touch tanks, but there was nothing out of the ordinary – besides there being no one to observe the kids manhandling all the poor sea creatures…I saw several star fish that had been broken in half and almost witness a little boy doing it first hand before the teacher in me came out and made him stop.
There was also an event where three of the penguins are taken out of their areas and allowed to walk around the aquarium. You can get within touching distance of them, but not recommended that you try and touch them because they bite. A little girl almost had her finger taken off by one of the penguins because they thought it was a fish.
While the atmosphere of the aquarium was clearly aimed towards kids, it was still fun and worth the drive out – if nothing else for the gorgeous view.