Meet the dugong, the creature that inspired the legend of mermaids!
An aquarium that allows you to wander at will, with no set route
Large even by international standards, with visitors covering about 1.5 km as they look through the various rooms, this is one of Japan's leading aquariums and is home to 30,000 aquatic organisms of about 1,200 different species. It is divided into zones based on 12 unique themes, such as the Marine Mammal Kingdom, where you will find sea lions, including the Steller sea lion; Ancient Sea, which exhibits living fossils such as the Tachypleus tridentatus (a species of horseshoe crab) and the nautilus; and Sea of Ise-Shima and around Japan, which features a collection of fish and mammals that live in Japanese coastal waters.
Toba Aquarium is the only aquarium where you can see cute dugongs in Japan (as of the end of March, 2013). It is known as the only aquarium in Japan which has been home to dugong, an endangered species that is difficult to rear in captivity, for more than 30 years. At the same time, it has also achieved raising an African manatee, and a sirenian mammal, and allows you to compare the two rare species. In addition, it rears many other aquatic creatures on the Red List, including the finless porpoise, sea otters, and the Queensland lungfish. The aquarium also operates "Henna-Ikimono Kenkyujo" (Strange Creatures Laboratory), which exhibits a large collection of rare species such as giant isopods, one of the largest crustaceans living in the deep-sea. It was widely reported that a giant isopod fasted for long period.
The aquarium shop sells a range of exclusively-designed figures and soft toys, as well as dozens of types of shell, while the Marine Gallery exhibits a collection of shells that includes some rare specimens. Pamphlets in Chinese, Korean and English are available at the entrance. You can encounter a range of unique creatures from the rivers and oceans like you have never experienced before.
Address: 3-3-6 Toba, Toba City, Mie
Hours open to visitors: 09:00-17:00 (08:30 - 17:30 from July 20 - August 31)
(last admission 1 hour before closing time)
Admission Fee: 2,400 yen (adults), 1,200 yen (children), 600 yen (children aged 3 or under)
Closed: Open every day
Directions: 10 minutes on foot from Toba Station (1 hour 40 minutes from Nagoya) on the JR Sangu Line and the Kintetsu Toba and Shima lines. (Car) 15 minutes from the Ise interchange on the Ise Expressway or Ise Futami Toba Toll Road (car park available)