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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Tokyo Sea Life Park

葛西臨海水族館

Tokyo Sea Life Park (Kasai Rinkai Suizokukan) is a massive aquarium in the south east of Tokyo notable for its doughnut shaped main tank featuring blue fin tuna that encircles the whole main complex. It is family-orientated, which is reflected in its very reasonable entry fees.

Tokyo Sea Life Park presents a huge variety of global sealife in natural settings. However the superstars of the show are tuna – blue fin tuna – which for most people probably conjure up nothing more dramatic than tin cans on supermarket shelves. But far from it. These fish are majestic, silver, perfectly streamlined machines on a mission.

They swim with powerful, effortless sways of the tail, each completely self-contained, uncurious about any other, but in an eerie unison, round and round – and fast! The blue fin tuna is a big fish with lines that evolution has honed to efficient perfection. They are impossible to simply glance at in passing. (You will be hooked.)

Besides the giant doughnut tank, the rest of the aquarium comprises scores of different shapes and sizes of tanks from “living room size” for tiny seahorses and other marine minutiae up to tanks big and comfortable enough for sharks.

Sea life is represented from all over the globe: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, and the polar oceans – as well as fish that migrate across and between oceans, like tuna, hammerheads and rays.

There are also exhibits based on microenvironment, such as the deep sea, the shore line (feel free to touch), kelp forests, around Tokyo, and fresh water. Even water birds are represented (including puffins).

Having said that the blue fin tuna are the stars of the show, they get serious competition from the penguins in their outside pool, especially at feeding time.

Has gift shop and restaurant.

Nearby is a bird sanctuary (10 mins walk away), a large open grassy park with a beach alongside the Sumida River and a pier for the tour boats that ply it, a small Japanese garden, and a huge ferris wheel.

Open 9.30am. to 5.00pm (tickets available until 4.00pm) Closed Wednesday (closed Thursday if Wednesday a public holiday).

700 yen for ages 16-64, 350 yen for age 65+, 250 for ages 13-15, free for age 14 and under.

Closed December 29 through January 1.

Free admission for the disabled, and one assistant per disabled person.
Free admission May 4 (Green Day), October 1 (Tokyo Citizens' Day), and October 10 (the aquarium’s anniversary).

Access
Address: Tokyo Sea Life Park, 6-2-3, Rinkai-cho, Edogawa-ku, Tokyo 134-8587, Japan
Phone: 03-3869-5152

by Train
1. 5 mins walk from JR Kasai Rinkai Koen Station on the Keiyo Line, about 15 mins from JR Tokyo station.
2. Subway Tozai line. Get off at Kasai station or Nishi-Kasai station, and take a bus to Kasai Rinkai Koen Station.

by Boat
1. The Tokyo Mizube Line (tel. no. 03-5608-8869), which plies the Arakawa and Sumida Rivers 2. Marine Bus (tel. no. 03-3457-7830) from Hinode Pier.

by Car
Wangan Expressway, exit at the Kasai ramp, follow the signs.

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