A quintessentially bizarre and beautiful Tokyo experience, the Art Aquarium's first permanent museum is now open in Nihonbashi electrifying an ancient, living artform with over-the-top staging and impressive lighting. The stunning goldfish exhibition features goldfish swimming in glass vessels of all shapes and sizes, lit with moving projections and multicoloured lights
Up until now this exhibition has been a strictly seasonal event, but since August 2020, it is now a permanent exhibition in Nihonbashi with its own museum. Over 30,000 goldfish will be displayed, ranging from inky black to nearly transparent, speckled to solid, and tiny to footlong monsters. This exhibition will be a good chance for veteran Art Aquarium fans to get a new experience as the museum will change its displays each season. Goldfish will be swimming in sculpture-like tanks that fill the exhibition space of 2,321 square meters and are separated into different sections from the towering cylinders of the ‘Forest of Kingyo’ to the spherical fountains of ‘Oiran Way’, a room inspired by the courtesan district of the Edo period and more.
Modern Japan has managed to expertly walk the line between adhering to their history with great reverence and consistently advancing the world of information and technology.In the 17th century, the practice of keeping and breeding goldfish (kingyo) was spread to Japan, where it quickly became incredibly popular. Going beyond just breeding it in a tank, an artist Hidetomo Kimura, has taken it to a whole new level by turning it into a new form of art and a great treat for the eyes and ears that can not be experienced elsewhere.
The Art Aquarium’s attempts to make kingyo hip are perhaps somewhat ill-conceived and hamfisted, but they’re also probably not necessary. Some get things right, presenting the fish in as simple a setting as possible. The beauty of the goldfish is undeniable.
There is a museum cafe (Suigi-an) and a lounge (Kagyo-ryoran) on the second floor offering authentic sweets, gourmets and beverages in collaboration with many popular restaurants. There is a Noh stage adjacent to the lounge and guests can watch the traditional performances while immersing themselves in the world of Art Aquarium.
At the end of the exhibition, there is a gift shop with original goldfish motif merchandises that are only available at this museum. Among the many items, goldfish motif chocolate made by a popular chocolatier, Palet D’Or in Aoyama is a must take home gift.
Address: Nihonbashihoncho 1-3, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Tickets are available at ¥2,300 (¥2,000 for admission after 6pm); children 12 years old and under will be admitted for free.
Open Hours: 10:00 to 22:00
※Last admissions: 21:30pm
2 minute walk from Mitsukoshimae Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Hanzomon Line)
7 minute walk from Nihombashi Station (Tokyo Metro Ginza Line / Tozai Line / Toei Asakusa Line)