Meeting Japan: Santa Maria Cruise x Kaiyukan

By Elie - 5:30 AM

Days since my last post:7

Following the expiry of our 3-day Kansai Thru Pass, we finally broke into the Osaka Amazing Pass that granted us unlimited rides on all of Osaka's subways and city passes, as well as entries to numerous attractions for free or at discounted prices. All these information are available online, but I had my personal tour guide, Tania from Sugoi Days who might as well had called Japan her hometown by now.


Our first stop in Osaka was the Santa Maria Cruise that would take off from the Port of Osaka, right by the Osaka Kaiyukan. The 50-minute cruise ride would take us by the Osaka Bay where the sea breeze aplenty and the views felt different because we were after all away from land. 

The Santa Maria ship, modeled after the original but twice the size!

Hello big boy!

Was this Santa Maria? 

We were lucky to board the earlier cruise as it was less packed and the weather was really kind to us that. Not ridiculously hot nor was it awkwardly cold, the cruise took off exactly at noon and we just had a laid back experience with it. 

Waving goodbye. Can you see the throngs of people below?

Probably for decoration purposes only.

We also passed by the Pacific Venus cruise ship.

An alternative to the Santa Maria Cruise was the Santa Maria Twilight Cruise that unfortunately only runs on weekends between end of April to October, and it leaves the port at sunset. Rumour has it that they also have cosplayers who come up as pirates to add on to the entertainment to the cruising experience, but we obviously had none of that. 

Here's to our first unofficial cruise together. 

The cruise normally costs about ¥1,600 per person for a ride, but our Osaka Amazing Pass granted us the ride for free. Score! 

Santa Maria Cruise 
Open 11 AM to 5 PM daily between end April to October 
¥1,600 per adult, ¥700 per child
Free with Osaka Amazing Pass


After the cruise was over, we headed onwards to the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, an attraction that my other half had wanted to go to. Entrance tickets were usually ¥2,200 per person, but I caught a deal at the tourist information counter at the Kansai International Airport to snag them for just ¥2,000 a piece. That's ¥400 saved for 2 people...which translates to about 3 onigiris (rice balls) that we could have from the convenience store! Steal!

First a picture at the entrance. 

If you ever had to see what a majestic sea lion looks like, here is a majestic sea lion.

Ferrets zooming past, otter getting food.

Feed time! 

And more penguins!

What I didn't expect however, was that I would have had more fun than he did at the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, because it was the first time I came in close encounter with all these animals! It was crazy, because the place was so well kept and you could see that every animal was well cared for. Among animals we saw were ferrets, otters, king penguins, seals, stingrays, sharks...and several other things I don't even remember anymore.

 Us and fishes behind.

The emo photographer.

It was an educational experience to boot, because we also saw fishes we never thought existed like the ugly mola-mola and random animals that we had no idea about. Like this:

Hi, what in the world are you? 

As an overall, I'd say the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan was a great visit, and is definitely ¥2,000 well spent. We did buy a pack of Nanoblocks each as souvenirs, because how else can you remember you were there right? One of the specialties I'd say was also a petting area they had by the end where you could touch live stingrays and harmless sharks. I can now say stingrays feel stiff and weird. I'll stick to fluffy dogs, thank you very much. 
Staffs to care for you.

Stingrays: Better on my plate than in the water. 

It takes about 2 to 3 hours to fully enjoy the Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, unless you're the type that just whizzes past everything without batting an eye. The place is extremely clean, there is no fishy stench whatsoever, and also air-conditioned. Do wear a jacket if you'll be there. 

Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan
Open from 10 AM - 8 PM daily 
¥2,300 per adult 
¥2,000 for seniors above age 60
¥1,200 for kids aged between 7 to 15
¥600 for kids aged between 4 to 6
FREE for kids below age 3

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