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For the first time in the world! Enoshima Aquarium and projection mapping - "Night Aquarium"

Shikako
Updated Sep 23, 2015

Enoshima Aquarium in Kanagawa prefecture is holding a special event called “Night Aquarium” between July 20 and November 30, 2014, commemorating its 10th anniversary. For the first time in the world the trendy audio-visual performance technology “projection mapping” collaborates with an aquarium! That is to say, collaborates with the living creatures in the aquarium. Just hearing about this makes you excited, right? Let me introduce the details and most interesting bits.

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The moment you enter into the radiant blue night aquarium

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There are 6 places inside where you can see projection mapping. First one surprises you right at the entrance! “Welcome Mapping” takes the visitors to the world of night aquarium. Inside you find a night view that cannot be seen at daytime. The lights and illuminations are thematically arranged around the “Deep Sea” image for this special night aquarium. Even visitors who have been there before can feel as if they are entering for the first time.

The next one is the “Waves of Life” in the Sagami Bay zone of the aquarium. A flow of water appears as if it is coming straight from the tank and laps at your feet. Just watching the coming and going waves is fascinating, but to add more to the effect, there is a sensor installed which detects your steps over the wave, causing the water to flicker as if it is bouncing under your feet. It is beautiful to watch this effect also on other people’s steps.

Welcome Mapping projection time: continuous. About 2 minutes each. Waves of Life projection time: any time. Glowing waves are rising and withdrawing.

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A mysterious sight that takes your breath away

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The next sight is the “Deep Sea World Oasis” which is projected in front of the big water tank in the Sagami Bay zone. The projection mapping is all over the tank. Or at least that is what you are led to think. The trick is the following: a little before the projection mapping time comes, a semi-transparent screen is hung down in front of the water tank. The screen covers only the upper half of the tank, while the bottom half is left exposed as it is. The projection mapping occurs only on the upper half. The main point here is that the screen is semi-transparent and the water tank behind it is still visible. Behind the projection mapping the fish continue to swim quietly. In other words, a projection mapping combining both images and the actual water tank! I’d never seen such a thing before. Of course, the fish swim in different directions every time. Therefore, if you watch the show two or three times, it feels like a completely new spectacle. The recommended viewing spot is in the front area of the square at the big water tank. From the back some of the images projected at the top of the screen are not visible. No doubt it gets really crowded, but definitely try to go to the front!

“Deep Sea World Oasis”, projection time: at .10, .30 and .50 minute of every hour. About 5 minutes each show.

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Relaxing collaboration with slowly swaying jellyfish

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The next one is in the very popular “Jellyfish Fantasy Hall” zone, where you can see the magical from birth shapes of the jellyfish. Here you can see a collaboration projection mapping named “Jellyfish Sky”. The show introduces the jellyfish swimming in the three water tanks in front of you. The projection has a stunning sense of reality and is outstandingly impressive. The seats are limited, but you can enjoy the show from the sofa near the front pillar. In addition, there is the projection mapping “Deep Sea 2000 Adventure” in the popular “Deep Sea 2000” sector, as well as another one in the corridor, where big water tanks are being projected on the walls, creating the feeling that sea life surrounds you while you walk in the “Sea Life Game” show. These are arranged by the recently popular creative group “Naked” which rose to fame with the projection mappings over Tokyo Station’s building and Tokyo National Museum. The official supporter is the popular celebrity Sakana-kun.

Jellyfish Sky projection time: at .00, .20 and .40 minute of every hour. About 10 minutes per show. Deep Sea 2000 Adventure projection time: continuous. About 4 minutes per show. Sea Life Game projection time: continuous.

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Watching night life

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In the night aquarium you can see not only projection mapping, but also creatures that are not to be seen in the daytime, in various parts of the facility. The penguins on the picture look to be standing, but in fact they are… sleeping! In the wild, penguins come out of the sea to sleep on the ground at night time, and in that period their bodies are crouching and standing… In Enoshima Aquarium you can see some little penguins lying on their bellies, but even those who look to be standing are actually sleeping. A sight only seen in the night aquarium. Also, another thing that is visible outside of the night aquarium hours too - the penguins look especially tufty at this time of the year… It appears to be exactly that time every year when they change their fur. Furthermore, there are many other creatures such as seals and corals whose special night shapes you cannot see in the daytime! All of them are introduced in the exhibition panels, so both adults and children can walk around freely and find them.

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Enjoying a season-limited menu

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There is a special seasonal menu prepared during the Night Aquarium period in the pretty Ocean Cafe which overlooks Enoshima on the terrace just outside the facility! Why not enjoy the view of Enoshima from the terrace while drinking cocktails and non-alcohol cocktails whose beautiful colors resemble the sea? When it gets dark, the light-up at Enoshima’s Sea Candle tower creates a romantic atmosphere. You can have a rest here and if ready for more… let’s go and see the projection mappings one more time, ok? OK!

Cocktail: 500 JPY Non-alcohol cocktail: 400 JPY The cafe operates from 5pm.

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Definitely make use of this opportunity

So, how was it? The summer is a season when you want to go to an aquarium, and when you add projection mapping to it… Many people will become immensely curious. Close to Enoshima Aquarium is Enoshima island with its plenty of touristic spots, or you can take the Enoden train and go to Kamakura where there is so much to see. Enjoy other nearby places together with the Night Aquarium!

Enoshima Aquarium special event “Night Aquarium” Period: July 20, 2014 - November 30, 2014, 5pm-8pm evening time only *On August 1, September 20, September 27, September 28 the event does not take place. Fee: Adults 2100 JPY, high-school students 1500 JPY, junior and elementary school students 1000 JPY, infants (over 3-year-old) 600 JPY. Entrance fee for the Aquarium necessary.

This article was originally published on Sep 23, 2015

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