Otaru Aquarium special display "Treasures of Hokkaido". Imparting the wonder of Kaminokoike Pond
The 2021 Otaru Aquarium special display will last from March 20 to November 23. The title is Treasures of Hokkaido: Rediscover the nature around you”. The theme of this display is mainly targeted at urban area residents, who generally make up the majority of Otaru Aquarium visitors. By having visitors observe living organisms that actually live nearby and are unique to Hokkaido, but not well known, this display is a chance to teach people that Hokkaido has its fair share of resilient and beautiful creatures, the Treasures of Hokkaido.
The main attraction is a water tank made to resemble the “Kaminokoike Pond” (Child of God Pond) that was formed by spring water from Lake Mashu in Eastern Hokkaido. To get a better idea of how to design the tank, aquarium staff went to inspect the pond. It is about a six hour one-way trip from Otaru. Delving so deep into the mountains, car navigation did not even work, the group finally came upon Kaminokoike Pond.
The day of the journey was blessed with wonderful weather, and the highly translucent pond water shone cobalt blue in the sunlight. The only sounds were the flowing water and chirping birds. It was a breathtakingly magical scene. What’s more, this pond is home to the Dolly Varden trout, a species of salmonid that is called “the mountain stream jewel” and in Japan, is only found in Hokkaido. The magical pond unlike any other and the beautiful Dolly Varden trout that live there was an awe-inspiring sight.
It is impossible to perfectly recreate the Kaminokoike Pond in the aquarium, but the staff members worked to instill the display with as much as they could of the sense of wonder that they themselves felt that day.
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