There is an aquarium built on the rooftop of the Sunshine City building in Ikebukuro, Tokyo. The Sunshine Aquarium is a place most Japanese people would know but is a mystery to foreigners. The elevator ride to the ticket counter is decorated with the sea. When you look up, it is as if you are underwater gazing at the sun.
After getting the admission ticket, I made my way to the indoor portion of the aquarium. The blasts of air conditioning hit my skin and soon enough various sized tanks came into view. There was a cylindrical tank with a school of silver fish swimming around. As I watched the small aquatic creatures, suddenly, out of nowhere there was a giant red fish swimming among them. The contrasting colors was a welcomed surprise in the dimly lit room.
Turning a corner, a large tank greeted my eyes and there I saw sting rays. Seeing them moving about the aquarium I waited for the opportunity to snap a picture of their mouth. From pictures, I had seen on twitter and Instagram I wanted one that looked like they were smiling. Instead I ended up with a photo that looked like Baymax’s face with Joker’s smile. The wait was worth it.
As I headed to the next area there was a line going into a tunnel. I wondered what people were taking pictures of and when it came closer to my turn I saw translucent jelly fish. Some were illuminated while the other jelly fish blended with the dark areas of this tunnel tank. It was mesmerizing.
Going up to the second floor was an interesting trip. There was a projection on the walls with a school of fish circling around the center where a turtle was swimming. Once I arrived to the second floor it was blinding. All the lights were on as the focus on this floor were on amphibious creatures like frogs, lizards, and turtles. They did have a few aquariums, which is where I found Dory.
Descending down the steps I made my way to the outdoor area where there were sea lions, penguins, and pelicans. I had just missed the sea lion show, but I was more excited to see the penguins. The tank the penguins were swimming in was unique. While the penguins swam around it looked like they were flying in the sky. Kind of puts the whole “penguins can’t fly” into a new perspective. When the exploration came to an end, this aquarium proved to be a trip well spent.