ART AQUARIUM 2017: A combination of art and goldfishes!

Already back in 2007 artist Hidetomo Kimura started his unique art aquarium project. In 2011 the ART AQUARIUM was held at Nihonbashi as a summer event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the famous bridge. The event was very popular, is now repeated every year and even moves through the country with several events. This year art aquarium is already in the 11th year with the Eco Edo Nihonbashi Art Aquarium and we take a look inside!
What is the Art Aquarium about?
The concept of Art Aquarium combines art, crafts, design and entertainment with something really special: goldfishes! In Japanese they are called kingyo (金魚) and are already popular in Japan for a long time. Here you find them in unique aquariums with special light settings, bringing you in a new world. You are able to see unusual tanks and a lot of different kind of goldfishes. It is definitely magic and worth visiting. I went to the exhibition twice in 2014 in Fukuoka and Osaka and was totally impressed.

Highlights of the Art Aquarium 2017

At the Nihonbashi exhibition this year the theme is Old Edo: The Refreshing Cool of Goldfish. This is styled after the Ryugu-jo, the underwater palace of the dragon king out of the legendary Japanese tale “Urashima Taro”. The construction of the palace is definitely the highlight of the exhibition with all the details around. 
All in all, you find about 8,000 fishes and other sea creatures at the exhibition. Some tanks are shaped as Japanese styled lanterns and you can see the goldfishes swimming inside what is really impressive. But there are even more great exhibits you can enjoy, just like the following:
  • Super Oiran: A combination of 17 aquariums which are surrounding a huge fishbowl dived in red color to symbolize the red light district of Edo. 
  • Four Seasons in the Ryugu Palace: See the passages of time with the protection at the back of this exhibit together with the longfin goldfishes flying there.
  • Tamaterium: A treasure chest from the above-mentioned tale in a luxury design using 24 karat gold combining our world and the world beyond the waves.
  • Tokogake Goldfish Ornament: When goldfishes become art and swim across a sumi-e painting on the wall. Also see ornaments decorated in wabi-sabi aesthetic. 
  • Kutani Goldfish Show: At this area you find several porcelain bowls of Kutani style with colorful painted goldfish designs. Inside you can see the fishes swimming from above.
  • Kirikorium: With this traditional cut glass technology of the Edo period collaborating with modern Japanese craftworks the goldfishes become a special mysterious and elegant look. 
There are many tanks and details to explore inside the Art Aquarium exhibition. Take your time and enjoy all of them. 

Night Aquarium

At night, after 7pm, the Art Aquarium turns into a night lounge venue – including a complete change of the light and sound in the exhibition. You can enjoy cocktails and other drinks. On weekends top DJ are bringing the right music to you, too, and sometimes special events are held, just like a Geiko & Maiko Night, a Samurai Night, a Otohime/Oiran Night and more. Note, that for such events special tickets should be purchased beforehand. Take a look on the official website for all the information.
The Art Aquarium at Nihonbashi is taking place from July 7th to September 24th this year. The regular ticket costs 1,000 yen for people aged 13 and older. Children pay 600 yen, under the age of 3 years they are free of charge.
If you miss the event in Tokyo, don’t worry, the next upcoming event called ART AQUARIUM CASTLE will be at Nijo Castle in Kyoto from 25th October to 11th December 2017.

Claudia Mitsu