Hiroshima is famous for having access to both the mountains and the ocean and as a result, has bountiful produce to eat as you enjoy the scenery.
Miyajima Aquarium is a prime example.
Just last week I visited and found myself face-to-face with beautiful underwater scenes. As for the food, let’s just say although you can buy food there, it was more along the lines of people around me exclaiming, “Oh delicious!” every time they looked at one of the exhibits. I must admit it was slightly unnerving but I did find myself smiling and agreeing with them.
Miyajima Aquarium’s big selling point is that it’s the only aquarium with a focus on the Seto Inland Sea and as it’s right on the doorstep, the creatures truly are in their natural habitat.
It’s a good place to visit if you have children as they’ll easily be entertained and the larger tanks have seating areas where parents can relax and watch the animals at play too. The huge stingrays are a popular attraction and the jellyfish further along are fascinating to watch, especially with the coloured lights that are used in the tanks. Of course, if you’ve been to Miyajima numerous times, the aquarium is also something a little different from the norm.
The biggest drawback is that it’s a tad pricey at 1400 yen for adults, 700 yen for elementary and high school students, 400 yen for young children and under fours for free. At these prices a trip to the aquarium doesn’t come cheap. The beginning is also a little slow and if you don’t read Japanese (particularly kanji), there isn’t a lot you will understand. Saying that though, there also isn’t a lot of information in Japanese either, so people tend to make their way through the place fairly quickly.
Perhaps the most exciting thing for children (and big kids, aka adults) is the touch tank at the end. Unfortunately, it too isn’t good with instructions in English, so my advice is to just approach the tank and wait for one of the staff to notice.
For interactive entertainment the aquarium holds sea lion shows three times a day at 10.30am, 1 and 3.30pm and there is also the opportunity for penguin and sea otter feeding. Seal performances are also available. Check the website for more information and for exact times.
Miyajima Aquarium is located to the right of Itsukushima Shrine and is well sign-posted. It’s open every single day of the year from 9am-5pm, with the last entry at 4pm. It has both a Japanese and English website so it’s best to check online first if you plan to go on a public or national holiday as hours may vary slightly.
When you’ve finished making your way around the aquarium, stop by the gift shop for some fun souvenirs to take home as a reminder of your time there. I guarantee you won’t leave empty-handed!
10-3, Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima Japan 739-0534 (map link)