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NIFREL In Osaka - A Museum With Animals Roaming Around

NIFREL In Osaka - A Museum With Animals Roaming Around

NIFREL In Osaka - A Museum With Animals Roaming Around

Translated by Shinji Takaramura

Written by Keisuke Yamada

Osaka 2017.02.10 Bookmark

NIFREL, located inside Osaka's Expocity, is a unique type of zoo where some of the animals roam in the building, and the visitors can see them up close.

Translated by Shinji Takaramura

Written by Keisuke Yamada

What do you imagine when you hear the word ”zoo”?

A general image may be of a place with a large number of cages, and human beings watching the animals locked inside.

Inside Expocity, located near the Bampaku-kinen-koen Station in Osaka, there is a unique facility that will overturn the stereotypical image of a zoo.

NIFREL is a new type of a museum, where visitors can feel as if they have wandered into the world of animals. NIFREL has become popular due to that uniqueness, and it is designed to let the visitors observe how the animals live.

Read also:

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Experience the Pacific Rim at the Osaka Aquarium KAIYUKAN

What is NIFREL?

NIFREL is an "interactive aquazoo", produced by Kaiyukan, a popular aquarium in Osaka.

This facility, based on the concept of enriching the visitors' sensorial experience, is a mix of an aquarium, zoo and museum, with an artistic touch added to their exhibitions. So mammals and birds are raised along with the fish and animals living in the waterside regions. Also, there is no fence between the cages of the animals, which makes the visitors feel like they have wandered into the wild.

A Look at the Exhibitions

NIFREL is divided into seven zones: "Colors", "Abilities", "Shapes", "Waterside", "Behavior", "Biodiversity", and "Wonder Moments", where the visitors can also enjoy art.

The first zone is named "Abilities".

In this zone, visitors can witness up close, how the marine animals survive by "spouting water," "hiding in the sand", and "changing their body colors to blend into the surroundings."

This is the four-eyed fish, living in tropical zones such as the Amazon. They swim wobbly on the surface, looking for their prey on both above and under the water.

A tawny nurse shark swims in this tank. They rest in the daytime inside a cave and hunt actively in the nighttime for animals hiding in holes. The tawny nurse shark also eats octopuses by sucking them in.

This is the entrance to the "Shapes" zone. The enigmatic figures of animals are illuminated by the dots of light, which seems to go on endlessly. Visitors can appreciate the artistic shapes of animals in this dimly lit zone.

Spotted garden eels and longhorn cowfish can also be observed in this zone.

A Zone of Art

This is the Wonder Moments zone, created by the artist Takahiro Matsuo. Visitors might forget that they are inside an aquarium, and feel like they are in outer space, looking at the Earth.

The colors change with time, so all the visitors, from adults to children, can have fun in this zone.

Observing the Animals

In the "Waterside" zone, visitors can feel the impact of the various animals living in the waterside regions. Wild animals such as white tigers, hippopotamuses and crocodiles, along with the chameleons, are in this zone.

There is a cafe next to this zone, so visitors can view the wild animals while taking a break. The photograph above was taken from the cafe.

The Most Popular Zone: Close to the Live Animals

"Behavior" is the most popular zone. The animals are divided from the visitors only by a stream running through the zone. They sometimes cross over to the human side, enabling the visitors to see them up close.

In Conclusion

NIFREL is truly a one-of-a-kind museum. Birds fly over the visitors' heads, and some animals may even try to bite. But this is a great chance to see rare animals. On the day of our visit, many families were present, and all the children seemed to be excited to be here.

If you come to Osaka, this is a must-visit spot.


Address: Osaka, Suita, Senri-banpakukoen 2-1
Business Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fixed Holidays: There are no fixed holidays.
(Please note that the zoo closes irregularly once a year.)
Nearest Station: Osaka Monorail Bampaku-kinen-koen Station
Access: Two minutes walk from Bampaku-kinen-koen Station.
Admission: 1,900 yen (Adults)/1,000 yen (Children)/600 yen (Infants)
Telephone: +81-570-022060
Website: NIFREL

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

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