(Note 2019: formerly known as Epson Aquapark, it has changed its name to Maxell Aquapark – http://www.aqua-park.jp/aqua/en/index.html)
It was an ordinary aquarium in Shinagawa, Tokyo.
Last July, the site was reopened after a renovation with new attractions and facilities. Immediately it became a new and trendy recreational spot in the district.
Located in the Prince Hotel Shinagawa across the JR Shinagawa station, a major train station of the Kanto Shinkansen (High-speed train), Epson Aqua Park is not huge but it is divided into 10 different zones showcasing over 350 species. Visitors could go through the zones following the route on the floor plan. On the ground floor: (1) Park Entrance, (2) Magical Ground, (3) Coral Café Bar (It is a bar), and (4) Jellyfish Ramble. On the second floor: (5) Little Paradise, (6) Wonder Tube, (7) Life Aquarium, (8) Aqua Jungle, (9) Wild Street, (10) Friendly Square, and (11) the Stadium.
The aquarium may be compact but surprisingly the variety is impressive – I have seen not only goldfish, lizards, and turtles but also rare species like sea lions, penguins, sharks, stingrays, otters, and seals… (Although on the other hand, I hoped the animals could have more space to move around…)
The Highlight of the aqua park would definitely be Jellyfish Ramble and The performance at the Stadium.
In Jellyfish Ramble, different kinds of jellyfish were displayed in cyclical tanks, lit by cyber LED light, and accompanied by mysterious audio effects. The walls and ceiling are installed with mirrors so that the room looked bigger and fantastical. 😛
There were two dolphin shows each day in the evening at the Stadium, which is about 20 minutes. Beware though there could be quite a lot of people waiting for the show so grab a seat earlier if you need to sit down for the performance. The show was not long but tastefully done with professionally designed lighting and music. The pool had a circular water screen that served as a great backdrop when the dolphins were leaping out from the water…