Splatoon Madness in Japan Part 3 – Suizokukaan at the Kyoto Aquariam

The final stop in the ‘Splatoon madness’ journey is in Nintendo’s home town, at Kyoto Aquarium. A semi-educational Splatoon-themed event called ‘Suizokukaan’ ran for summer, with a focus on squid and jellyfish exhibits.

The aquarium was outfitted with Splatoon branding throughout.

And featured special Splatoon art as temporary signs for each relevant section.

The educational info compared what’s seen in the game with the actual marine life.

I’m not seeing the resemblance…

And what would a tourist trap be without copious volumes of exclusive merchandise! Murch would be proud.

The aquarium itself is pretty standard stuff, but quite modern with some nice exhibits.

The last metroid is in captivity

There are some cute Japanese touches too.

The main event is a Splatoon themed water fight for kids, in the seal pool between hourly shows. Kids get themselves a Splattershot…

And shoot water at a squid target.

It’s a competition for who can hit the highest level, green vs pink.

While parents/grandparents/people waiting for the seal show look on in various states of amusement/boredom.

The best part is the music. Tracks from the first game play while the race is on.

And right at the end they drop a waterfall on all the participants to the tune of ‘Now or Never’ – Squid Squad version.

All a very silly diversion but fun for the kids. And just shows the depth of the cultural relevance of the brand in Japan.


My pilgrimage to Nintendo’s headquarters in Kyoto

I’ve been a Nintendo fan for 30 years, and I was in Kyoto for the first time. Well I had to go to Nintendo, didn’t I?

First stop was very hard to find, and Google (at least in English) was very little help. I wanted to see the oldest surviving (1930s-1960s) Nintendo building, buried in the backstreets of a now largely residential area of Kyoto.


After some research (largely machine translating Japanese walking tour maps), I worked out it was somewhere near here, which was around 15 minutes walk from the apartment we were staying in.


So we set off the next morning. After a lot of wandering in the freezing cold winter air, we found it!


 While nicely designed with lots of detailed flourishes, it’s an otherwise relatively nondescript building. Except for two plaques:


The sign references Japanese playing cards ‘Karuta’ (かるた) and western playing cards ‘Trump’ (トランプ – Toranpu)


This was their playing card factory and distribution centre before they became a larger toy company, and it has stayed in company hands.


 I took a peek inside as well, it is clearly well maintained and clean, but seemingly closed (it was a Friday). So many


It appears to have been maintained perfectly from the 1930s until today.

The next stop would be much easier to find. It was about 40 minutes walk away through residential and industrial areas, though we stopped in at a couple of Kyoto’s famous temples along the way.

KyotoNintendo2_0012 KyotoNintendo2_0015


Until it appeared…






Two blocks away there is the other monolith, the new development building.




Not too much to see, you’re not allowed in either building. But they do have a nice big sign at the development centre.KyotoNintendo_0067