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Nagoya - Day 2

4/14/2012

Took the metro to Nagoya Aquarium. Killer whales, dolphins, and a Beluga whale in huge tanks greet the visitors on entry. Later visitors can watch them perform, either underwater or above water from the North building. After a few minutes walk to the South building, we viewed tanks featuring marine life around Japan (thousands of sardines), and the deep sea gallery. On display are weird creatures adapted to a sunless environment adjacent to volcanic vents, all well-preserved in formaldehyde, or divers used submersibles to provide photographic evidence of these strange creatures. More tanks featured tropical marine life from the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, giant sea turtles (green sea turtle, loggerhead and hawksbill), an Australian fresh water fish, a turtle with a uniquely evolved pig nose, snake neck turtles, and a very entertaining penguin encounter with aquarium employees hand feeding more than 120 penguins including Emperor penguins,  Gentoo penguins, Chinstrap penguins and Adelie penguins. The Aquarium has gained a worldwide reputation for its success in breeding three of these penguin species (excluding Emperor penguins). Humans, not penguin parents, raised the penguins, so they must be hand-fed.

Stopped for a brief lunch of udon noodles seeped in red miso sauce and after lunch we look a bus to the Noritake gardens and museum. At the craft center we watched artisans create classic bone china pattern designs; the process consists of air brushing, sand blasting, hand painting or applying decals and finally firing. On the 3rd and 4th floors are museum presentations of some of the most famous Noritake patterns, many taken from such historical and cultural motifs as Chinese, Japanese, European floral, art nouveau and art-deco. Well-heeled customers can purchase the most expensive patterns from the museum shop on the first floor.

We arrived at Nagoya Castle too late to actually tour the castle, but we could actually see the castle’s top 3 stories due north from our hotel in Nagoya. Keith photographed the well-lit castle from our hotel room. Tsumie said the outer moat and walls are completely surrounded by contemporary city streets, office buildings and department stores, so many castle structures barely survive. The original castle dates from 1612 and Nagoya completed the current reconstruction in 1959. The castle is particularly noted for its male and female gold plated dolphins, seated on the roof and guarding the city.

Noritake Museum

Noritake Gardens

Nagoya Castle from Hotel

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Penguin Desk

Hog Nose Turtle

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