Goldfish, or “kingyo” in Japanese, are very colorful fish, which have been a part of Japanese people’s lives for a long, long time. Known for their cute looks and colorful body, goldfish have been selectively bred by human for hundreds of years to achieve this.“Goldfish have been an important part of Japanese culture since the 17th century, and the love for goldfish has spread since to the rest of the world as they are relatively easy to take care of. See these beautiful goldfish in all their glory on display in colorful lighting, backdropped against mesmerizing sound, and even paired with certain smells in every possible shape of fish tank in the arty, mysterious, and dreamy world of “Art Aquarium” in Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall, Tokyo.
Goldfish, light, sound, camera, action!
Art Aquarium first came to Nihonbashi back in 2011, making this year the 5th year that this incredible goldfish art has been exhibited. This year’s theme is “Edo”. Edo is an era which took place right before the modernization of Japan, where samurai still walked around the city of Edo (today’s Tokyo) with katana swords. Art Aquarium is evolving each year, so those who have visited in previous years will still be surprised and entertained each time at all of the different themes and new goldfish exhibits. For first-timers, having the entire space filled with colorful goldfish will surely take you to a new world where you have never been before.
Dress up in your yukata and let’s go on a date!
The reason that Art Aquarium has been held in Nihonbashi every summer for the last five years is because Japanese people often associate goldfish with summer, and particularly festivals, or “matsuri”. You can see goldfish in almost all summer festivals here in Japan, and catching goldfish is a fun festival game. With the summer memories of goldfish catching, and the freshness that water brings, Art Aquarium has become one of the most popular places to visit during summer for couples. Of course, this exhibit is open to anybody, but it definitely is a great dating spot. You can also choose to wear yukata, summer style kimono, to make the event even more special. If you wear yukata to the exhibit, you will get special discounts at nearby restaurants and retail stores.
Everything is goldfish!
At Art Aquarium, you can experience Japanese style omotenashi, or service, meaning that everything is neatly considered and paid attention to. The exhibit space itself is not gigantic, but it is easy to forget time as soon as you step into the world of Art Aquarium. If you get tired and just need to take a little break before you head back to the real world, you can have a coffee or a tea and also order a dessert. Even the jellies here represent goldfish, floating on clear blue water!
Get your souvenirs ready!
On top of a little café space, there is of course a space for a retail shop where every possible goldfish item can be found. You can find anything goldfish for yourself or for your loved ones. From a keychain, fan, or towel, to a goldfish stuffed animal, many of these items are definitely memorable and could make a great souvenir for your friends and family who are dying to hear all about your adventure in Japan.
Art Aquarium is expanding!
Although Art Aquarium is still a young event that began in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, thanks to its beautiful and graceful goldfish art it is expanding! In 2015, Art Aquarium will also be held in Hiroshima, Okinawa, and Italy! Unfortunately, Art Aquarium in Tokyo has also already closed for this year on September 23rd and Art Aquarium in Hiroshima has already closed its doors too on September 6th. However, if you are dying to experience this incredible art and Okinawa is a part of your travel plan, Art Aquarium Okinawa will be held from September 18th to November 15th. Art Aquarium is landing in Okinawa for the first time this year so you could be the first to witness this incredible goldfish art there.
Get lost in the world of goldfish
In spite of its short history, Art Aquarium has received much attention from the media and the public because of its out-of-this-world beauty. Every year they have a different theme displaying various kinds of goldfish, so expect it to become a yearly habit once you take your first step into this mysterious world. You can also check out some special events with fun entertainment in the form of singers, dancers, and other performers with DJs, as well as alcohol, after certain hours. Costing only 1,000 JPY (8 USD) for adults and 600 JPY (5 USD) for children, it is possible to get tickets on the day of your visit, but if you do not have the patience to wait in line, you might like to get advance tickets online or at Seven Eleven convenience stores.
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