Recently I had a very brief stopover in Tokyo before returning home to Shikoku. Despite not having slept for over 24 hours, I wanted to make the most of my evening in the big city. So I decided to take a trip to the Art Aquarium, a cool art exhibition in Tokyo I had read about.
Art Aquarium; what’s it all about?
This exhibition is now in its tenth year, and is held every summer from July to September in Tokyo and Osaka. This years’ theme is kingyo culture. “Kingyo” is the Japanese word for goldfish. This culture refers to the Edo period of Japanese history between 1603 to 1868. During this time Japan was closed off to the outside world. It became popular for people to enjoy watching goldfish in their towns. Today in Japan, goldfish still appear at many festivals all over the country, often in fun goldfish scooping games.
Located on the fourth floor of the Nihonbashi Mitsui Hall in Tokyo, the exhibition is around five minutes’ walk from Shin-Nihonbashi Station (on the Sobu Rapid line). General tickets cost 1000 yen per adult and 600 yen for children. Occasionally special events are held in the evening which require purchase of a separate ticket, so its better to check the website in advance of your visit. Special events include evenings with live DJs or Japanese cultural displays such as samurai nights and geisha performances.
The exhibition is open all day from 11am, but if you go after 7pm you can enjoy cocktails at the bar too. Also on sale at the bar is Dassai sake. This is a very famous Japanese sake that was once presented as a gift to Barack Obama by the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe!
Can I take pictures?
Taking photographs at the aquarium is encouraged but pictures must be taken without using the flash. Tripods, selfie sticks and filming video footage are also frowned upon.
Upon entering the exhibition the low lighting and aquatic displays create a calming atmosphere to enjoy viewing the fish. This year there are over 8000 goldfish in total, compared to 5000 in 2015. One of the highlights of the exhibition is the “Super Oiran”, the world’s biggest goldfish bowl, containing over 3000 fish altogether.
I can highly recommend a visit to the art aquarium if you are visiting Tokyo soon. This years’ aquarium is open until the 25th September. If not, be sure to catch it next summer!
Further details can be found on the official website here.
Have you been to see an art exhibition in Tokyo? Let me know your favourites in the comments below!
Here are just a few snaps that I took, I hope you enjoy them!