Snow Aquarium

Because what do snow and tropical fish have in common? They both make killer themes for a bar!

Yes, this aquarium has a bar (because Japan). Usually it’s called the Coral Bar, but until mid-April, the same artists who brought you Flowers By Naked have worked their projection mapping magic on Shinagawa’s Aqua Park, and transformed the place into a winter wonderland. With, uh, tropical fish.

The bar room becomes an animated whirl of snowflakes, which you will be very sorry you didn't see if you're too busy to watch the 20-second video JUST SAYIN.

The bar room becomes an animated whirl of snowflakes, which you will be very sorry you didn’t see if you’re too busy to watch the 20-second video JUST SAYIN.

The rest of the Coral Bar looks like this. The drinks tables are all tropical aquariums, so you never have to drink alone.

The rest of the Coral Bar looks like this. The tables are all tropical aquariums filled with friendly fishlets, so you never have to drink alone.

The carousel has been tarted up with blue and white lights.

The carousel has been tarted up with blue and white lights.

And this gallery is a lovely but slightly confusing mashup of fish/flowers/snow, but since Aqua Park is all about entertainment, we don't even care.

And this gallery is a lovely but slightly confusing mashup of fish/flowers/snow, but since Aqua Park is all about entertainment, we don’t even care.

Taking a page from the fabulous Art Aquarium's playbook, the jellyfish are displayed like jewels in and ever-changing snow and star themed light show of a room

Taking a page from the fabulous Art Aquarium‘s playbook, the jellyfish are displayed like jewels in an ever-changing snow-themed light show of a room

No color was spared

No color was spared

Can't. Stop. Watching.

Can’t. Stop. Watching.

Beyond the Snow Aquarium part are the usual tanks of fish, the Tunnel O’ Fishy Luv, and of course, the dolphin show (in case you were about to complain about the rather steep ¥2200 entrance fee.)

And secretly, my favorite part (after the bar) was this highly un-educational display of touchscreen fish tanks, that were utterly entertaining, even for adults. Real fish swim around behind, of course, but if you touch the front of the tank, a CGI school of fish dash in from all directions and school around as you move your finger over the glass.

And secretly, my favorite part of the whole shebang (after the bar) was this highly un-educational display of touchscreen fish tanks. Real fish swim around behind, of course, but if you touch the front of the tank, hundreds of CGI minnows dart in from all directions and school around as you move your finger over the glass. These are always on display and have nothing to do with Snow Aquarium, but they’re a primo consolation prize if you miss the projection mapping thing.

Snow Aquarium runs until April 10, 2016 (to be replaced by a cherry blossom themed projection mapping show afterwards, I hear. Because cherry blossoms and fish go together like, well, snow and fish.) Admission is ¥2200 for adults, ¥1200 for kids, ¥700 for kids 4-7, free for kids under 4. (If you’re planning to go more than once, the year-long pass for this place is actually a pretty decent deal at ¥4200.) Open every day from 10:00 – 22:00, and there are dolphin shows at 11:30/13:00/2:30/4:00, plus an Aurora-themed night performance from 6:00-8:00. If you’re in Tokyo and would like to go, a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.

Read a novel set in Tokyo

When Detective Kenji Nakamura’s phone rings with the news that his mother’s death wasn’t an accident, his life begins to unravel…read more