Tsuruoka City,

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Kamo Aquarium, the history of this mesmerizing aquarium

Kamo Aquarium 加茂水族館, down south the central city, facing the Sea of Japan, exhibits around 60 species of jellyfish. It is the biggest aquarium specialized in jellyfish in the world, but it hasn't always been the case. The aquarium has been existing since 1930 now, and has underwent several reconstructions. At its origins, it was a generalist aquarium, that nothing predisposed to become later the biggest "jellyfish" aquarium in the world. "Nothing", not really. Someone actually played a key role in it.

Why did the aquarium specialize in jellyfish?

Okuizumi Kazuya, the funnily eccentric director of Kamo Aquarium

Okuizumi Kazuya (the current director of the aquarium) was a young student who worked part time at Kamo to make some pocket money. One day, while he was cleaning the anemone tank, he discovered small particles floating in the water that weren't there the day before. Intrigued, he decided to investigate on those little particles and discovered it was jellyfish babies hatched from eggs that were stuck to the anemones.

He decided to take care of them and see how they would grow. He fed them with baby shrimps, watched them thoroughly to see their behavior, tried several water temperatures for their comfort... One could say he fell in love with his jellyfish babies. It was a success. The jellyfish grew steadily. He then decided to put them in a display tank to see the visitors' reaction. He was surprised to see visitors were literally fascinated by the beauty of those creatures.

Okuizumi is also a music lover, and often holds concerts in front of the 5m diameter tank

Kamo Aquarium was facing some huge economical difficulties at the time. While everybody thought the aquarium was lost and that it should close down, Okuizumi and Mr. Shimomura decided to try to "save" the place by specializing in jellyfish in 2008. Rapidly, the place gained fame for its beauty and the quality of its infrastructures. On September 10th 2016, the Emperor of Japan and the Empress visited Kamo Aquarium and the event was spread all over Japan. Now, Kamo Aquarium is listed in the top 5 aquarium in Northern Japan on Tripadvisor, and people from all around the country gather to discover all the shapes and colors of those beautiful creatures.

Curiosity and passion make wonders, don't they?

DEGAM Tsuruoka Tourism Bureau (General Incorporated Association)

Address: 3-1 Suehiromachi, MARICA East Building, 2nd floor, Tsuruoka, Yamagata 997-0015, JAPAN

TEL: (+81) 0235-26-1218

E-mail: tsuruoka@degam.jp

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