September 12

Goldfish, Goldfish, Everywhere

Although by now we’re all sort of feeling like “don’t let the door hit you on the way out, you miserably hot & humid Japanese summer,” some of the various celebrations of goldfish are lingering on in a most delightful way until the end of September. Here they are!



This summer is the 10th anniversary of Art Aquarium, so they took that as an excuse to bring back a bunch of the favorite aquariums from past years, with new varieties of goldfish inside. I didn’t really mind ogling them again, though, you know?


As usual, there was a constant light & laser show, changing the look of each aquarium faster than you can snap the shutter


This one was new this year (and became the model for the 10th Anniversary souvenir – a mini version that sits on your desk and changes color while tiny plastic goldfish are buffeted around inside. At ¥5000 a pop, hmm. Maybe not.)


New this year were goldfish bowls sitting on buffet-table-sized aquariums, all made with a traditional Edo cut-glass technique


But even though most of the oohs and aahs come from the room with the schmantzy light show, I think my favorite aquariums were these jewel-like lozenges that constantly brimmed and overflowed with sparkly-clear water, showcasing rare varieties of goldfish


Naturally, there’s a cafe at the exit. I loved these goldfishy cappucinos…


…although desserts with theme sweeties in the jello part struck me as unexpectedly unappetizing. I’m sure they didn’t actually TASTE like fish, but…

This year’s exhibit was a bit less thrilling than the last time I went, but it was still fantastic, and I bet most of my jadedness was because I wasn’t experiencing it for the first time. If you’re in Tokyo and you’ve never been, GO. And remember that after 7:00 p.m. they have live DJ music and sell alcohol at the bar, so it can also be a rather spiffy “date” event.

July 8 – September 25

11:00 – 23:30

Admission: Adults ¥1000/Children ¥600


GOLDFISH WONDERLAND at the Skytree Sumiagawa Aquarium


The entry to the exhibit features schools of lit up goldfish-shaped paper lanterns and (surprise, surprise) aquariums filled with various varieties of goldfish


The ones where you could look down on the teeming masses were the best


This one forked over an unexpected (and no doubt unintended) pleasure – the fish would all race to where people were standing, hoping to be fed, and you could make them follow you if you trailed a finger along the tank

I think this event is most enjoyable for parents with small kids, because they offer free craft activities (kids can make their own little goldfish lantern) and many of the aquariums are low enough for kids to enjoy without being lifted up. The exhibit design is a bit ho-hum for adults spoiled by the likes of Art Aquarium, and I thought the ticket price was hella expensive for adults. (Included in the price is access to the rest of the Sumidagawa Aquarium, of course, but it’s kind of small and I think it’s the least interesting one in Tokyo, so still didn’t justify the pricey entry.)

July 1 – September 30

9:00 – 21:00

Admission: Adults ¥2050/High school & college students ¥1500/Primary school students ¥1000/Children ¥600


FIREWORKS AQUARIUM at Shinagawa Aqua Park


Let’s be honest: this event is barely about the goldfish. There are a few tanks filled with interesting varieties of kingyo and decorated in a quite seasonal manner with furin wind chimes – another classic “summer” motif in Japan – but this aquarium is all about entertainment, so they don’t waste time pretending that the goldfish are the main attraction.


Because just like Snow Aquarium, this one is all about the bar.

Awesome bar is awesome. Watch this. You will not be sorry.

Yes, you can sip your libation while watching your parasol burst with fireworks overhead or examining the tropical fish swimming around under your beer in the table tank below


The entry fee also allows you to enjoy the rest of the aquarium, including the always-entertaining jellyfish room, which is currently decked out with a fireworks-like light show


Two different dolphin shows are included too. This one is the regular summer show, and…


…this one is the fireworks-themed projection mapping extravaganza

The same projection mapping artists who delivered the endlessly entertaining Flowers by Naked and Snow Aquarium are back this summer with Fireworks Aquarium, and I’m happy to report that it does not disappoint.

July 7 – September 30

9:00 – 20:00

Admission: Adults ¥2200/Students ¥1200/Children ¥700


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