"OoOku" composition (Photo: Elena Lisina)

The 2019 Art Aquarium Exhibition in Tokyo

Fantastic artistic aquariums and goldfish

Elena Lisina   - 2 min read

The Art Aquarium exhibition is held every summer with this year's event open until September 23. My impression after visiting is that is is definitely one of those 'must see events' in Tokyo!

The only objects lit in the dark exhibition hall are the aquariums with their thousands of beautiful live goldfish. The transparent aquariums with their colours changing to the soft music are the art. It really is a delightfully charming sight. The theme of this summer’s exhibition is Edo, the old name of Tokyo during the Edo Period and Coolness of Kingyo (goldfish in Japanese). During the Edo period watching kingyo was an important part of the common people's culture.

The aquariums, or I should say ‘art objects’ created by artists, have titles such as ‘OoOku’, ‘Oiran’, ‘Super Oiran’, ‘Lotusrium’. Watching water streams, bubbles and floating fish is mesmerising. I imagined myself swimming in cool water like the fish and felt cool indeed. Some of the aquariums have intricate surfaces that distorted the images created by the fish. In another hall there were different installations, and one of the most impressive is the kimono shaped aquarium highlighted with a light show running through it. It’s impossible not to be amazed and charmed by all that fantasy!

Along with the exhibition being open every day from 11:00 am to 10:30 pm you'll find a ‘Night Aquarium’ that starts every evening from 7:00 pm with well-known DJs as well as ‘Special Events’ that include the performances by Kyoto geiko (experienced geisha) and maiko (younger geisha). I wish I had been able to watch one of those performances as I'm sure they would be fantastic, but alas, my itinerary was already filled!

Check the website for more information. Please note that taking photos or videos is allowed, but no flash.

Getting there

The exhibition is right by Mitsukoshimae Station, Exit A6 subway Ginza Line.

More info

Find out more about Art Aquarium Museum.

Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I am interested in Japanese art, crafts, history and Shinto religion. Photography is my hobby, and there are many amazing places to capture in Japan.