A special event, “The bay where you can meet whales,” took place on July 22 at a beach in Taiji Town, Wakayama Prefecture, about 77 km (48 miles) from Osaka in western Japan. Taiji is historically known as a whaling town.
Two Risso's dolphins, about 3 meters long, were released into the sea so the swimmers could observe them up close. The keeper of the Taiji Whale Museum guided them in a canoe, and whole families cheered when they saw the animal heads pop up from the water. The event will be held regularly until August 16.
Dolphins Raised by the Museum
Two of the mammals, which were bred at the museum. will be moved by the museum to an enclosure by the beach for this period. The enclosure doors will be open and the dolphins transferred from the enclosure to the cove twice a day at 11:00 am and at 1:00 pm.
Each event will last for about 15 minutes, according to the museum. A net has been erected so the whales are unable to go out to the open sea.
Masa Yamato (10), a fifth grade elementary student from Sakai City, was visiting with his family, and was perfectly delighted. "They were so huge and so cool! I’ve seen whales in the museum before. But it’s the first time for me to see them in the sea," he exclaimed.
The show could be canceled depending on the weather or the physical condition of the whales.
For inquiries, please call the Taiji Whale Museum at +81 735 (59) 2400.
(Read the report in Japanese at this link.)
Learn more about Japanese culture, relationship with whales, and whaling at the dedicated site, Whaling Today.
Author: The Sankei Shimbun