Japan / Photography

Day 9 (part 4): Notojima Aquarium

Sophie and I played jankenpon (rock-paper-scissors) in the bus in between our lunch break and the aquarium. The bus ride was long but we were entertained by the scenery  (both outside and inside the bus (half of the bus was fast asleep from too much drinking/eating/walking)).

I was so excited to get to the aquarium! I’ve always loved marine wildlife (having lived on a tropical island will do that to you) and I was anxious to learn about the native animals of Japan.

The first tank we saw when we walked in was the ‘star’ of the aquarium: a Whale-shark! This guy was so impressive, the pictures I have sadly don’t do him any justice. He was huge! Such a ‘gentle giant’ though, he was passively swimming in his tank along side a diver (who was cleaning the bottom of the aquarium).



We walked around a little bit before going to see a dolphin show at the outdoor aquarium. I took a billion pictures of the dolphins and sea lions, but I’ll spare you some time with only a few of those:

After the show, we walked around the outdoor area and stumbled upon a penguin trainer who had one of her baby/young penguin out of his tank and walking around among the visitors. He was so cute, he gathered a large crowd of admirers (including me of course). Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to touch him (for fear of contaminating him with human pathogens).

At this point, one of our guides told me that they had a jellyfish exhibit somewhere inside the aquarium and suggested I check it out. He didn’t have to tell me twice, I love jellyfish so it was only a given that I should go ogle at them.

However, I kind of got sidetracked by other exhibits on my way over there and snapped some pretty cool pictures of all kinds of aquatic creatures.


Pretty (but deadly) lionfish


Starfish sticking to the glass of its tank


HUGE Japanese spider crab.

I got so distracted by all the other exhibits that I completely killed off my battery and, by the time I got to the jellyfish, my camera was dead 😥 Ok granted, I had been using it all day during our activities, and had taken a few 100s of photos …


Observing the “window cleaner”

My friends still had their cameras intact so luckily, I still have pictures of my coveted jellyfish to hold on to.


Awesome jellyfish! (c) Sophie Deschênes

I found a weird looking tank where you could put your hand through a hole in the glass. Upon closer inspection, it happened to be a tank of flesh-eating fish (the tiny ones that they use in spas to clean off the dead skin from clients). So being the adventurous person that I am (oooh!) I stuck my hand in the tank. A swarm of little fish came to eat off of my fingers and palm … and it was the weirdest feeling ever.


Oddly amusing and strange experience

Finally, we went to another outdoor area where you could touch/pick up animals from a small pool. I’m not squeamish about fish at all and, being the bravest of the group (oooh!), I picked up starfish and urchins so that my friends could pet them!


Reaching in….


… and fishing things out!


My friend holding the starfish I fished out for her

I had a great time at the aquarium (probably more than the rest of my companions). I love fish so much, I could have stayed there all day. However, it was time to leave for our hotel (technically a ryokan) and call it a day! Everyone was tired from the journey … we didn’t have a single minute of respite! Time to have a nice relaxing bath at the onsen and unwind.

The ryokan experience promises to be a good one!


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