Location: Tokyo, Japan
Highlights: Natural Aquascape tanks, Penguins
Photos: Sept 2015
Children Friendly (7): I wouldn’t describe this aquarium as geared towards children. Children would still enjoy it I’m sure but it doesn’t have the interpretive areas and fun cartoon graphics of other aquariums and zoos. Many exhibits are on a child’s level and the penguins especially would entertain them. Some tanks many children would be tempted to touch or put their hands in (which I happened to witness on my trip).
Animal Diversity (3): Being an aquarium it naturally has less variety than other zoos. It does have penguins and fur seals which does add some larger animal diversity. Japanese species are well represented.
Animal Viewing (9): Animal viewing was quite good, many of the tanks had viewing from all sides which was great. The penguins and fur seals had a walkway above which allowed viewing. Some exhibits were quite low which is great for kids but older guests would have trouble viewing.
Animals Happiness (8): The tanks seemed quite clean and well maintained with natural environments. I would like to see a larger exhibit for the fur seals with some more enrichment. I also removed a mark as some exhibits have a lack of cover for the fish (ex. the tanks with viewing from all sides).
Photography (6): The photography in aquariums can be quite tricky sometimes with the lighting and I found this one especially so. The overhead lighting was quite dark which did make the exhibits pop, but when you got to the penguins and seals and the lower level it was too dark. Also with their main area of tanks that allow viewing from all sides it could be quite difficult to get shots without other guests in the background.
Layout/Map (8): A one way route through the aquarium was fairly well laid out especially considering the location. The multi-level worked well for the larger main exhibits but I feel some exhibits could be easily missed on the lower level. Good signage inside showed directions which was appreciated.
Hours (10): Great hours! Open every day of the year and great hours everyday, 9am-9pm. Works well for tourists and frequent visitors alike.
Price (5): Fairly steep pricing, especially considering the prices of zoos in Japan tend to be quite cheap. This is one of the top tourist areas in Tokyo with Skytree in the same complex, BUT for the size of the aquarium I feel it was too expensive. Discounts are available for students and children. Memberships were a decent deal being double the single entry price.
Food (7): Even with the aquariums small size and huge selection of restaurants nearby they do have one inside which surprised me. They offered a decent variety of food and desserts but if a full meal for a family is required you might want to check out somewhere else. The gift shop also had quite a bit of snack options.
Website (9): The website is quite well done, giving visitors a good idea of what the aquarium will be like. Simple layout and easy to navigate are a huge plus. The only thing it is missing is information about events or seasonal changes.
Gift Shop (10): The gift shop was quite large and had great diversity in types of souvenirs and species showcased. They had great educational products, souvenirs for children, small and large gifts. The aquarium has a very simple, classy logo and it works well for merchandise. Adults and children alike will be able to find something they want to take home.
Quiet Areas (9): Although it is small the aquarium did do a decent job with providing benches and seating to take a break. Rooms are available for nursing moms away from crowds, as well as multiple changing tables throughout the aquarium. Due to its location there are definitely going to be times where it will feel overcrowded I’m sure.
Safety/Cleanliness (8): The aquarium was very clean, both for guests as well as the animals. Entirely indoors, it is well kept and modern. In terms of safety some tanks have open tops which can be dangerous for small children or overly curious guests. There are also stairs in the aquarium which could be troublesome for elderly guests.
Extras (6): There were not many extras noticeable throughout the aquarium in terms of interpretive stations, talks, or demonstrations. No events are listed online either. They do have an area which is said to host workshops but there was not one taking place when I visited. There are a couple behind the scenes areas showing the growth of jellyfish and other species which was quite interesting.
Overall (7.5): Overall I did enjoy this aquarium quite a bit. It was the classiest aquarium (or zoo) I’ve been to and it was an enjoyable way to spend an evening. It wouldn’t be my first suggestion for families but it would be great for a date!