Craig took Friday off and we went to Kyoto to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. We'd heard a new aquarium had opened and was boasting about being the best in Japan. For those of you with some sense of Japanese geography, this may be surprising because Kyoto is inland and no where near the ocean. We learned, however, that it sits in a large river basin and the aquarium tried to take advantage of that unique water environment. Between the two of us, we've been to 4 different aquariums in Japan. Unfortunately, I would rank Kyoto at the bottom. Craig puts Churaumi in Okinawa at the top. I haven't been there so I put Osaka at the top followed by Suma and, lastly, Kyoto.
We took our time getting into Kyoto, had lunch and then headed to the aquarium. We were worried because it was looking like we'd only have three hours to see the place. We finished in plenty of time.
Kyoto had your standard big tank with lots of fishes swimming about, a jelly fish exhibit, some small tanks with little fish, a very, very short dolphin show, penguins, seals, and some river life. Most notably, they had giant salamanders, Chinese, Japanese, and a hybrid. These guys were literally the size of a cat but were mud colored salamanders. We never saw them move, they'd contort themselves so they'd be under rocks, sand, whatever they could get below, but stretch their necks up so their nostrils were just above the water.
One thing I do at aquariums is wonder what the animals on display would taste like. I am not alone because we heard “oishisou” “looks delicious” at a lot of tanks. At the last exhibit, what Craig figured would be the “guilt you with an environmental message” section, we saw something much more honest – instructions on cleaning fish and food models of our properly prepared fishy friends.
The highlight of the trip turned out to be our celebratory dessert. When we were looking for a restaurant in the train station we passed a bakery with gorgeous tarts covered in fresh fruit. We decided we had to stop by on our way home. In the US I always felt like bakery stuff looked better than it tasted, but I can confirm that these were as tasty as they appeared to be.