In the city of Ise, Mie Prefecture not far from the Meoto Iwa, the famed “wedded rocks” is a popular sea park, restaurant and shopping destination, the Futami Sea Paradise.
Editor's note: This article is about Futami Sea Paradise, which rebranded to Ise Sea Paradise in 2016.
The aquarium is nationally famous for having specially trained Southern Elephant Seals that make comical gestures as part of their live shows. When the trainers turn their backs, the large seals put one finger, or flipper in this case to their bulging black eye, and poke their tongues out in a Japanese expression of defiance. This always gets the crowds roar of approval. You’ll probably witness many of the aquariums delighted child guests responding likewise from the stands with shouts of “Akkan-Bei” or “Silly coot!”. One of the Elephant Seals, Maru Chan, has appeared on national television numerous times and in TV commercials over the years with this one simple trick. Other exciting and humorous performance shows feature the various marine mammals, such as sea lions and walruses throwing kisses, catching hoops, doing handstands and generally being cute. Futami’s dolphin shows are also popular attractions.
One of the more enjoyable aspects of Futami Sea Paradise is the opportunity to interact with the animals. At various times throughout the day, visitors can pet the walrus and sea lions and have their photographs taken together too. At the dolphin enclosure, children and adults alike can enjoy playing catch-ball with the intelligent creatures, and are welcome to pat them as they slowly swim by.
The various shows and attractions depend greatly on the conditions of the “stars” and the caring Futami Sea Paradise staff have been known to suddenly cancel scheduled shows if they consider the animals to be tired or unwell.
The Futami Sea Paradise is home to a wide variety of aquatic life. Ocean based, tropical and freshwater creatures including the ever popular sea otters, many types of turtle and entertaining penguins are all on display. The park is renown for being one of the very few aquariums world wide to feature the endangered freshwater sawfish. You’ll see pufferfish, catfish, sharks and you might even find Nemo too!
Naturally there is are restaurants and snack shops offering all kinds of local produce, and extensive shopping facilities covering three floors, complete with all manner of souvenirs. One of the more popular being a Southern Elephant Seal doll in the entertaining “rude gesture” pose. The Sea Paradise is a great place for children and adults alike. Put it on your list of “places to SEA” when you visit paradise like Mie Prefecture!