Sea Paradise Aquarium

Hakkeijima is a three storey aquarium that houses over 100,000 different species of animal. We wouldn't have time to see them all however. The main aquarium is viewed on a huge spiral walkway that takes you around all 3 floors, it covers quite a distance.

So imagine my disgust on having left the Polar Bear section to notice him swimming in the water when I was on the storey above. By the time I'd got back down to the ground floor he'd not only ceased swimming but had retreated into his cave or whatever he lives in out the back. Still I got a good reflection shot of him before he dove in.

This is a big Walrus, next to the polar bear that I did catch swimming. He was surprisingly mobile for something so fat!

In the background of this this tank you can make out the water tube which is a lengthy escalator that takes you up the middle of this tank. There are loads of species of fish in this tank and the tunnel gives you a stunning immersive sensation but without the wetness or the risk of being attacked by a shark.

This creature is the only creature in the Aquarium to have an English name. It's Ray!

Some fish, yesterday. I took this one because the fish's redness made them stick out really badly.

One of the fish comes to the wall of the tunnel for a close up look at us, I guess we must have been an attraction to them as much as they are to us. The little fish looks a bit scared though!
Don't worry, I'm not going to eat you!

You wouldn't want to get to much closer to this shark or it would be it eating us!

I have no idea where the aquarium found these fish, but they look like fossils and could easily belong in a museum than here.

The puffer fish have their own tank to protect them from the other fish, to protect the other fish from them (their spines can be lethal) but most likely to protect them from the locals who consider puffer fish to be a delicacy. He gets too close to my camera!

These fish aren't even fish shaped. They're just weird.

Some interesting sea-horse trivia Are sea horses really fish? Yes they are, because they have gills. They just don't look like fish because they have plates rather than scales.

I'd touched on vending machines selling practically anything in one of the first posts and alluded to a lobster vending machine. This one must be counting his blessings for ending up in an aquarium.

This is the chambered nautilus, which belongs to the cephalopod genus that also contains octopus and squid. This is the creature that inspired Jules Verne to come up with the name for his submarine.

These are some sort of trilobite crab things. Apparently the aquarium no longer allows Star Trek fans into its building anymore following a theft of these creatures, stolen to make klingon face masks.

This rather huge crab decided to do a dance for us. There's a restaurant in Washington DC called "The Dancing Crab" where they'll steam the crab for you. Personally I think if you want your crab to dance would it not be better to cook them on a hot plate?

These fluorescent jellyfish were pretty cool and glowed with an amazing irradescence. They were quite hypnotising and we could have quite happily stood and watched them for a while, but we had to see what else was around.

I was trying to think up some witty aquarium related pun for this shot but not wanting to make anemone out of you reading this report I thought better of it.

I could have thought of a "betta fish" (look it up) pun for this picture but I'd decided against it. The Japanese Fighting Fish is a solitary beast even within other fighting fish and if not ready to breed the male will often attempt kill the female. If Jerry Springer ever did a show for fish, these would make great guests, but admittedly the dialogue wouldn't be up to much.

This isn't the best turtle attraction in the world as it lacks the interactivity and "wow, how did they do that" factor that "Turtle Talk" at Disney's Epcot has. However this does have the edge in that at least here the turtles are real. This turtle had swum into the corner and not being able to swim in reverse got stuck. Actually, I made that last bit up.

At an American aquarium, staff were noticing a spate of sharks dying in one of the tanks. When they kept an eye on what was going on they spotted that an octopus sharing the tank was killing them all by ensnaring them with its tentacles, flipping them onto their backs and holding them upside down until they suffocated. So if you're ever attacked by a shark try doing the same thing. Admittedly this will be easier to do if you're Dr Octopus from the Spiderman comic.

This picture was taken from the top of the main Aquarium show area, which we found ourselves at having made our way to the top of the spiral walkway.

There was a show going on, which we'd gate crashed. Here the trainer was greeting the seal, not by shaking its fin but by bowing, which isn't really that impressive when thats what seals do all the time anyway.

It's quite an impressive arena but nothing on the scale of the Seaworld parks. I think we got there at a bad time as the main show hadn't got going and it was just the seals at the front that were entertaining the people with their nodding skills.

By far the biggest attraction at the park, in popularity, not size (I think the Polar Bear and Walrus have the edge physically) are the whales. These are the black ones (like, durrrr) and were prone to swimming upside down. From within the aquarium you can see into the top of the tanks but you can see them through some pretty grotty portholes outside the aquarium without having to pay to enter.

The white whales are much more popular though and are the park mascot. They feature on some of the rides elsewhere in the park (the logo, not the whale. That'd be cruel). Beluga is russian for "white one". A seperate enclosure has been built outside the aquarium that houses these and some other whales. After figuring out where to pay to get the ticket to enter myself and Tariq made our way in.

The enclosure is in 2 parts with the first half housing a beautifully clear tunnel with full views of massive tanks containing these dolphiny type animals.

There was plenty of great photo opportunities here. This came out really nice and is now the wallpaper on the PC at home. The perfectionist in me says "I was a split second late" as there's a slight overlap but the slacker in me just says "It's cool, now stop worrying and have some pizza".

The second half of the enclosure houses the Beluga whales and this time instead of the animals circling you, you get to circle them as they're in a huge circular tank in the centre of the room. Apparently the whales are trained to do tricks so if they see someone bouncing up and down, they'll do the same thing. I thought the whale lunging for the kid's hand was a one-in-a-lifetime shot but apparently they're trained to do this too! It's still one of my favourite pictures from the trip though.

Heading back out through the tunnel room and another opportunity to take some more picture of the dolphin things. I have no idea what these animals are.

The aquarium is actually really impressive but as with the zoo earlier I would have liked to have more time. I don't begrudge the time I spent in there though as the complex is very impressive. We had to hurry back to the coach as it was time to visit the final park of the trip.


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