For an intimate look at aquatic life surrounding Tokyo’s two tropical island chains (Izu Islands and Ogasawara Islands) a trip to Sumida Aquarium is a must. Stylish and trendy, it’s located on the 5th and 6th floors of Tokyo Skytree Town in the Asakusa area and has a more contemporary vibe than other aquariums in Tokyo.
For starters, visitors will get drawn into the jellyfish kaleidoscope tunnel. Oddly soothing and satisfying is the way their translucent bodies are illuminated by blacklight. But don’t stay too long, you haven’t seen the main tank, yet. It features sea creatures which surround the more than 200 islands and sub islands that make up both the Izu and Ogasawara chains located as far as 1,000 KM away from mainland Tokyo.
Among must-see exhibits in Sumida Aquarium are the fur seal tunnel and the penguin pool. With a volume of 350 tons, the penguin pool is Japan’s largest indoor open tank and is designed so that visitors can as close as possible to the tuxedoed wobblers.
In summer, the aquarium’s Edorium area becomes “Tokyo Goldfish Wonderland,” a living art exhibit celebrating the role of goldfish in Japanese summer festivals. Nearly 1,000 goldfish from 20 different species are on display in tanks of various shapes and sizes.
Check out the Penguin Cafe and have some salty vanilla ice cream made with salt harvested near the Ogasawara Islands or a parfait topped with an adorable penguin shaped cookie. Better yet, sip on a cocktail that glows thanks to an ice cube with an LED light.
On your way out, stop by the gift shop for trendy gifts and souvenirs. Along with standard fare like plush animals and tote bags adorned with the aquarium’s minimalist logo, the gift shop also sells quirky items like Japanese sweets in the shape of a penguin, sea turtles and other sea creatures.
Know before you go
A quick reference guide in PDF format is available in English, Chinese, and Korean and can be found on the aquarium’s homepage.
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