Nifrel is a futuristic new attraction that’s part aquarium, part zoo and part science museum. It’s a little pricey, but it would be a great way to occupy the kids for a few hours, especially on a rainy day.
Nifrel - image © Florentyna Leow
One of Osaka’s main attractions is the aquarium in Osaka Bay, but fewer people know about its futuristic counterpart up in Suita just outside of the city. Nifrel is part of the Expo City shopping and entertainment complex, and it’s a great place to include if you’re already visiting Banpaku Memorial Park.
What sets Nifrel apart from your bog-standard aquarium is that it isn’t just about aquatic life, but also includes land mammals like crocodiles, birds, tigers, and monkeys. It also groups the animals by theme rather than, say, provenance or particular ecosystems. For instance, the first zone is all about colour, featuring brightly-coloured shrimp, anemones, and fish. Another zone showcases animals with interesting abilities, like tunnel-digging fish or those that camouflage themselves.
Think of Nifrel as part aquarium, part zoo, and part science museum, with a healthy dose of interactiveness - perfect for people who like variety and stimulation. Given our increasing disconnect with the natural world, Nifrel is probably a good place to bring the kids to help bridge that gap, especially if going to the ocean regularly isn’t an option. Just be warned that the place can get really crowded with Japanese school groups.
Expocity, 2-1 Senri-Banpakukoen, Suita-shi, 565-0826
〒565-0826 吹田市千里万博公園2-1 エキスポシティ内
10am-8pm (last entry 7pm)
Junior high and elementary school students: 1000
3 years old and over: 600
Monorail: 2-minute walk from Bampaku-kinen-koen Station on the Osaka Monorail Main and Saito Lines.
Official Website (English)
Where Are These Places Located?See these places on the Inside Osaka Google map:
- Open the Osaka map
- You will see the list of places on the left hand side. (Click the 3-line icon in the top left corner if not). Scroll down or use the map search (the magnifying glass icon) to find the place you want.
- Click the name of the place in the list. Its location pin will be highlighted on the map.
- Map pins are color coded - BLUE: Hotels / Ryokan / Guesthouses | VIOLET: Ryokan | PINK: Places to Eat | GREEN: Shops | YELLOW: Things to See and Do
- If you're using the map on your phone, open the map and then search for the name of the place. The map will then zoom in on its location.
Osaka Vacation Checklist
- For all the essentials in a brief overview, see my First Time In Osaka guide
- Check Osaka accommodation availability and pricing on Booking.com – usually you can reserve a room with no upfront payment. Pay when you check out. Free cancellations too
- Need tips on where to stay? See my one page guide Where To Stay In Osaka
- You can buy a Japan SIM card online from Klook for collection on arrival at Osaka's Kansai International Airport. Or rent an unlimited data pocket wifi router
- View my comprehensive Packing List For Japan
- Compare flight prices and timings to find the best Japan flight deals
- If you're visiting more than one city, save a ton of money with the Japan Rail Pass – here's why it's worth it
- Get a prepaid Icoca card to make travelling around Osaka easy – here's how
- Find out why travel insurance for Japan is essential – World Nomads is well-regarded