The only aquarium in Yamagata prefecture was on the verge of bankruptcy in the late 1990s due to a sharp decline in visitors. But it made a strong comeback by focusing on creatures treated lightly at its rival facilities – jellyfish.
Kamo Aquarium has the world’s largest collection of jellyfish on display. It regularly shows over 50 kinds of jellyfish. In 2012, Guinness World Records recognized that the aquarium has the greatest number of jellyfish species in its exhibit.
The aquarium opened in 1930. It carried out a major remodeling in June 2014 by constructing a new building to more than double its exhibition space. In the year after the renovation, the number of visitors swelled to a record high of 835,796. That compares with just around 90,000 in the year through March 1998, when the aquarium was on the brink of closure.
One of the key features at the aquarium is a large jellyfish tank with a diameter of 5 meters. About 2,000 moon jellyfish swim gracefully in the tank called “Kurage Planet.” “Kurage” is the Japanese word for jellyfish. There is also an underground exhibition space called “Kuranetarium”. It is a coined word that comes from “kurage” and “planetarium”.
Kamo Aquarium not only displays jellyfish but also serves it as food. Among the popular menus at its restaurant are a set of rice and jellyfish dishes, jellyfish ramen and jellyfish ice cream.
In addition to jellyfish, the aquarium exhibits sea and freshwater fish that live in the adjacent waters. It also holds sea lion performances daily to entertain the guests.
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