I went to this aquarium today for the first time even though I go to Sunshine City ever week (and I've been here a year). What was I waiting for?! It was a really fun time. It's not a very big aquarium but it has a good variety of fish and sea life ~ AND a good variety of random land animals like monkeys, macaws, armadillo, anteater and something that looks like a mix between a deer and a rabbit. REALLY! Also, the sea lion show was really cute and funny! They even have one that can do simple math ~ how? this, too, ended with a random appearance by a lemur... which I didn't understand. It was a nice addition to a fun day in Ikebukuro!
*If you go soon you'll be able to see a really cute exhibit that is up for the new Ghibli Studios movie (that Ponyo movie... if you've been in Tokyo for more than a day right now you've probably heard that cute little song somewhere). They have different fish from the movie on display in tanks that also look like scenes from the movie! SOOO cute! and half the kids in there were singing the cute theme song too hahaha!
Sunshine International Aquarium is a pistol to find, but once you get there, you're in for a really good show. The main draw of the aquarium is the sea lion show, but there are plenty of other interesting creatures. The day before I visited the aquarium, I read an article in the Washington Post about the endangered Eastern Snake Neck Turtle; lo and behold, the Sunshine International Aquarium has one. In addition to having interesting fish and animals, the displays are really unusual. For instance, one tank features the fish and environs of Tokyo harbor, one has turtles, fish and squirrels native to China, and there is one tank which is shaped like a jewel. Interestingly, the aquarium also has non-aquatic animals as well. They have monkeys, foxes, parrots and various others. There is also an adorable flock of penguins. A penguin and a monkey participate in the aforementioned sea lion show. Because the sea lions have been taught Japanese manners, it's a really interesting display. Notably, they've been taught to bow. This is definitely a great place to take your children to spend a pleasant afternoon. Some of the attendants speak English, there's an English pamphlet, and the bigger exhibits are marked in English. There's a really cool underwater demonstration in one of the tanks, but it is only available in Japanese. It is somewhat expensive, 1700 yen for adults and 800 yen for children ages 4 though 15. Children under 4 are admitted free of charge.
A word on getting there:
While the aquarium is part of the Sunshine City complex, it's actually at the top of the World Import Mart. Once you get to Sunshine City, you can get directions. There's an information desk down stairs, and the attendant there can give you directions to the aquarium in English.
Fish, fish, more fish, a few reptiles and frogs and an army of penguins is what you will see at the international aquarium at sunshine city. Located on the rooftop of one of the smaller buildings of the complex, sunshine's aquarium is one of the most accessible aquariums inside Toyko.
The stars are two massive manta rays, a huge eel-like fish called utsubo, another huge fish from the Mediterranean called Manboo and two trained sea lions that perform every two hours. Aside from the bigger attractions (which tend to be the bigger fish), the aquarium is full of little surprises. We spent at least ten minutes watching one fish that buries its body in the sand and only "sprouts" a few centimeters out when there is no danger in sight. Another fun spot is the frog exhibit where one tank is filled with plastic frogs and a couple of real ones and you need to figure out which one is which (much harder than you'd think!).
There are tanks featuring marine life from virtually all waters of the world. Several tanks showcase the diversity of Japan's coast, while others tour around Australia, the Caribbean, fresh water fish from the Amazon, Thailand and Africa, deep water fish and jellyfish. The biggest tank, which holds the manta rays and utsubo, has a feeding show every couple of hours; a diver goes in and handfeeds some of the fish. Especially interesting is to see the manta ray devour in one gulp a baby octopus. Back on the terrace, the aquarium features a penguin pond, some monkeys, a small zoo and pelicans.
Almost all the explanations have been translated into English, and the Aquarium is definitely a family-oriented space. This is a good spot for family excursions, groups of friends, groups with children or dates.